November 7, 2017

To Win at Holiday Recruiting, Provide a Better Candidate Experience


This holiday season, Amazon will hire more than 120,000 temporary workers. Target is eyeing 100,000, UPS wants 95,000, and Macy’s needs 80,000. The staffing industry counts on this hiring surge every year. The question is, how will you win that business? Why will candidates choose to work with you rather than your competitors?

Recruiters win or lose holiday business based on the quality of the experience they provide to candidates. As a recruiter turned technology executive, I look at this challenge from two perspectives. On the desk, I built relationships with candidates and earned their trust. In my current role behind the scenes, I see how top staffing firms differentiate themselves from competitors by using technology.

This holiday season, make it so ridiculously easy for candidates to get hired and get paid that they will refuse to work with any other recruiter. Here’s how:

Think Like a Candidate, Act Like a Tech Company

Smartphones and on-demand tech have conditioned Americans to expect simple, fast experiences everywhere. Candidates want from recruiters the same kind of treatment they get from Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook.

Imagine what it’s like for your candidates to job hunt from their smartphones. If you’re applying for ten seasonal jobs, you’d love if you only had to fill out your personal information once, right? Tapping your whole employment history into a 3″ x 5″ screen for every role would be like re-signing up for Netflix each time you want to watch a movie. If this is the process your candidates go through, they’ll start looking for a different recruiter.

Aim for self-service. Candidates should be able to register with your firm online once, select jobs, and upload documents by themselves (sparing you tons of manual data entry). If your candidates need to fill out more than one primary application or wait for you to copy it into five other software platforms, your competitors have the edge.

Stop Wasting Time on Scheduling

If you still schedule temporary workers using whiteboards, sticky notes, and spreadsheets, you’re at a disadvantage. Don’t get me wrong: Those tools can work, but you’ll spend hours every week gathering worker availability, scrambling for substitutes, and editing the spreadsheet. If you have to complete a jigsaw puzzle with pieces that change shape daily, you can’t spend time building trust and rapport with candidates.

SnowflakeRemember, seasonal workers don’t take holiday jobs for fun – they have a kid entering college, a mortgage to pay, or perhaps a medical bill weighing on the family. They need to know that you care and are searching for the highest-paying, most convenient roles for them. That trust in you is central to the experience.

There are tools that automate scheduling. Choose one so that you can reallocate time to building relationships.

Pay the Fastest

Once the holiday work begins, one factor will separate you from competitors: How quickly you pay.

Paper timesheets create hell on earth for workers, recruiters, and clients. Both the temp and the recruiter spend an inordinate amount of time chasing down timesheets before payroll is processed. If a manager doesn’t approve a timesheet before the deadline, the worker might not get paid. It’s stressful.

Timesheets create workflows with chokepoints. Digitizing this process can minimize the number of missed payroll deadlines. Ease makes all the difference. A worker should be able to upload their timesheet to a web portal. Even better if the upload triggers an automatic alert for manager approval.

Human nature is to delay mundane and laborious activities. Try to make timesheet approval the thing managers do to postpone longer, less appealing tasks.

Experience Starts With Empathy

For many, holiday jobs are second or third jobs. Temporary candidates seek your help and work around the clock because they need to.

Show empathy by making the experience easy. Be known as the recruiting firm that places people quickly without piles of paperwork. Be known as the recruiting firm that schedules digitally and checks in weekly to share new opportunities and consult with candidate. Be known as the recruiting firm that pays quicker than any competitor. If you do those things, you will provide the best holiday hiring experience.

Brandon Metcalf is president and founder of Talent Rover.

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During a decade of working in staffing, Brandon Metcalf held a variety of leadership positions with a focus on using technology to drive competitive advantage. He was inspired to build Talent Rover to fill the void for a truly integrated technology solution built for staffing and recruiting. Recently named the ninth fastest growing software company in America, Talent Rover continues to modernize the industry with its sales to invoice vision. Follow Brandon at @brandon_metcalf.