The latest statistics show the US unemployment rate sits at a remarkable 3.8 percent. While that’s terrific news for the economy, low unemployment rates can make it exceedingly difficult to find candidates for open positions. Simply filling a seat can become a nearly impossible task — not to mention filling it with the type of talented, loyal, ambitious, and career-minded professionals you’d ideally prefer.
That said, the low unemployment rate is far from the only factor changing the landscape of recruiting before our eyes. The whole makeup of the workplace is changing in sometimes unexpected ways; recruiting new employees in this evolving universe requires a willingness to adapt right along with your surroundings.
Here are some ways you can reposition your organization and get more attention to your job posts and company in order to drive a steady stream of top-quality candidates to your door:
1. Go Where the Candidates Are
Back in the day, HR professionals would run classified ads in the local newspaper or in a trade publication when looking to hire. Those days are long gone, but the days of placing ads on mass-market websites such as CareerBuilder or Monster are quickly passing us by as well.
All candidates, regardless of discipline or skill level, used to gravitate to the same location(s) to look for open positions. Over time, however, job seekers have grown disenchanted with the behemoth online job boards. Now, candidates are turning to smaller niche boards to find new roles — and recruiters must meet them where they are.
The big job boards began falling out of favor several years ago due to their high prices and the many unqualified candidates they tended to generate. This left a hole in the market that was promptly filled by niche boards aimed at more targeted demographics and organized around things like geographic regions, membership associations, specialized professions, trades, job types, or types of contracts.
While these boards don’t yield the high numbers of candidates that the mass market boards once did, they do tend to drive more qualified applicants to your postings. This is due to the simple fact that the job seekers frequenting these boards have self-selected to be there.
One piece of advice: Don’t use the same exact job posting on multiple niche sites. These sites cater to specialized audiences, and your posts need to be customized according to each site’s niche in order to resonate with the unique interests of the audience. It takes little effort to tweak your posts for each site, and that minimal investment will pay dividends in the form of more qualified applicants. Follow up by proactively engaging with the candidates who apply, and you’ll be well on the way to hiring success.
2. Get Social
Social media is another rich resource to mine for candidates. This platform has grown as a job marketplace at the same pace that it has grown as a marketplace for everything else —which is to say exponentially. In fact, 43 percent of respondents to LinkedIn’s “2016 Global Recruiting Trends” survey reported social professional networks were their top sources of quality hires. These networks are terrific platforms for recruiting passive candidates who wouldn’t otherwise join your talent pipeline.
On social media, it’s key to show off your company’s culture and use your employees to boost your company’s recruiting credibility with prospective hires. Hashtags are also an important tool for spreading your company’s message to the right audiences.
Because there are so many people on social media, it’s important to identify your targets before mounting any kind of recruitment campaign. Zero in on your ideal candidate. What do they want in a role and in an employer? Figure out how to package that up and showcase it on your social feeds. Don’t just trumpet your company’s mission statement or empty aphorisms that connect with no one.
Social media is an active recruitment method, not a passive one. Many companies just substitute a LinkedIn ad for a Monster ad. This is not social media recruiting. Social media recruiting is a lot of work. You need to identify appropriate candidates and actively reach out to them, which requires effort and persistence.
3. Make the Numbers Work in Your Favor
A report from Nielsen shows that, combined, millennials and Gen. Z-ers make up 48 percent of the population. It follows that these two generations comprise the largest segment of the job-seeking populace, so it is imperative that you keep them in mind when recruiting. To craft a targeted approach that appeals to these young workers, keep these tips in mind:
- Utilize social media. Reach out to younger candidates where they are. Don’t expect them to come to you.
- Share your intangibles. Things like flexible work policies and a commitment to diversity are important to these candidates. Be sure to highlight these things in your job posts and other recruiting content.
- Use video. When possible, spruce up your text with video and other multimedia elements.
Unlike catching worms, earliness is not exactly the key to netting new employees. Rather, cleverness, tenacity, a willingness to do things differently, and good, old-fashioned elbow grease are more likely to win the day. Commit to change and you can turn a hiring drought into a deluge of candidates.