Finding the right candidate to fill an open role is an opportunity to bring new ideas and energy to your company. It can also be a drain on time and resources if you don’t go about it the right way.
Your goal is to communicate the job requirements accurately and get candidates excited about joining your business. If you’re struggling to attract the right talent to your company, try some of these strategies to improve the quality of your talent pool and recruit better candidates.
Learn more on How to Build a Hiring Committee That Attracts Top Talent
Use a reliable recruiter service
One of the best ways to streamline your hiring process is to use a recruiting service like Hunt Club. There are several advantages to this strategy, the most important being that you don’t have to spend as much time qualifying candidates.
Hunt Club draws from a pool of over five million passive candidates who come vetted and vouched for by a team of over 10,000 subject matter experts.
Using its proprietary technology to narrow down the pool of talent to 80-100 candidates, Hunt Club’s team of talent strategists screen the 25-40 of the most qualified candidates and presents you with five to seven of the most promising hires.
This way, you know that every resume that comes across your desk belongs to a qualified applicant who is a good fit for the role.
Secondly, an external recruiting service can help you target passive candidates, or those who are not actively seeking out work. Some of the best candidates aren’t looking for jobs because they’re happily employed– but they may be ready to interview if a better opportunity comes along.
Including passive candidates in your hiring process can help you reach a broader range of qualified candidates. Plus, they’re less likely to be engaged in negotiations with other employers and can give you their full attention during the hiring process.
Finally, an external recruiting service is especially useful when you’re hiring for multiple roles at once. With a service like Hunt Club’s Pipeline, you can set up a consistent recruitment process to hire dozens or hundreds of candidates over the course of several months.
Not only does this make it easy to scale your team on a tight timeframe, but you’ll have a process in place to recruit and hire for similar roles any time you have a vacancy.
Treat your candidates like customers
It’s important to treat your candidates well and give them a positive candidate experience -- even if you don’t end up hiring them. Why does this matter?
For one, it makes it more likely that they’ll have good things to say about your company to other prospective candidates. No one wants to go through an onerous hiring process with a team that doesn’t respect their existing commitments and work schedules.
By treating your candidates like customers, they’ll walk away with a positive assessment of your company and are more likely to refer other candidates.
Especially if you’re recruiting passive candidates, remember that they may already have a day job, and your hiring process should make each interaction as easy and efficient for them as possible.
They may not have time to put together a resume or application. Even simple things, like poor UX design on your application form, can turn qualified clients away.
As Samuel Harper asks at UX Collective, “Why is it that companies spend so much time focusing on building a fantastic user experience in their product facing side, and yet they put seemingly no effort into the most vital pipeline for where they recruit new talent?”
Avoid requiring your applicants to create a user account or manually input their resume into a clunky database.
You wouldn’t make a customer jump through hoops in order to buy a product, or take a week to send them a receipt for their purchase. The same goes for candidates. Many companies still have a drawn-out hiring process and still expect to attract top talent. The process is changing and you need to move quick if you’re really interested in a candidate
Transparency is key. Keep your candidates informed every step of the way, from the moment you receive their application to your very last interview.
Remember, in a robust job market, you’ll be competing with other employers to persuade candidates that they should work for you over similar job opportunities.
Perfect your job description
For a while, it seemed as though you couldn’t browse an online job board without finding a company looking for a “rockstar” or “ninja” to join their company. If you happen to “live and breathe data,” that’s a plus too.
Recently, there’s been some pushback against these kinds of off-beat job descriptions. For one, unconventional job titles are less likely to show up in job searches. If you want candidates to be able to find your job posting, they need to know what to look for.
Not only that, but your job description should make it clear what their responsibilities will be and where the role fits into the company structure. Otherwise, candidates won’t know whether the salary is reasonable and what their options are for promotions.
This doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. The Buffer customer support team has a Chief Happiness Officer and other “happiness”-related roles. But their job descriptions make it clear what’s expected of candidates who apply for the position.
Avoid asking for unreasonable amounts of experience for entry- or mid-level positions, or expecting new hires to work nights and weekends without compensation. Choose terms that reflect a healthy respect for work/life balance.
Finally, you might be reducing your pool of qualified applicants if you use gendered job descriptions that discourage female applicants. Even unintentionally masculine terms can give off a “brogrammer” vibe and lead to 42% fewer applicants.
If your company is trying to develop a more diverse workforce, then using gender-neutral terms is an easy way to make your job descriptions welcoming and inclusive.
Seemingly simple changes, like using the word “community” instead of “team,” can make a big difference in whether or not certain candidates choose to apply for a position.
Allow for employee referrals
One of the best ways to spread the word about an open position is to have your current employees do it. Not only can it be cheaper and more efficient than paying for a job ad, but it can ensure that anyone you hire will be a good fit for the company.
Odds are, your employees went to college or university with people who have a similar degree or qualifications. Or, they may know qualified candidates from their social circle or alumni and professional networks.
Encourage referrals by setting up an employee referral program that provides them with a bonus, extra vacation days, or some other incentive for successful hires.
Make it easy to refer candidates by hosting a recruitment happy hour when prospective candidates can drop by the office for a casual introduction.
However, while you should allow for employee referrals, don’t depend on them entirely. Hiring only from existing networks can lead to an insular workforce, as well as charges of “corporate nepotism” and sexism.
A well-run employee referral program can account for 50% of hires, with a significantly shorter onboarding process than for hires from job boards.
Go to job fairs
Another way to recruit new employees is to get out and meet them in person at a job fair or another networking event. Job fairs are usually industry-specific, so you can focus on attending events that your preferred candidates are likely to come to.
Invest some time and money into creating a booth that truly represents your workplace culture. Have business cards, brochures, and a recruitment video available, and attract candidates to your table by running a contest and offering food or swag.
Decide whether or not you’ll be accepting paper resumes at the job fair. If not, consider having a tablet handy to collect digital resumes, and let candidates know where they can complete the job application online.
Remember: meeting candidates in person is a great opportunity to pre-screen and save yourself the trouble of interviewing candidates who aren’t a good fit.
Even if you aren’t accepting resumes, consider asking some basic questions to find out whether they meet your minimum qualifications for the role. Take notes so your hiring team will remember who’s who later.
Also, you don’t have to stick to traditional job fairs. Get creative by hosting your own job fair, or by attending or sponsoring an industry-specific Meetup or networking event.
If all else fails, go in-house
External recruiting isn’t your only option when it comes to finding the right person to hire. Sometimes, the most qualified candidates are in-house. Whether you haven’t found any suitable candidates yet, or you want to save money by considering in-house candidates first, hiring internally can be an efficient shortcut to a lengthy recruitment process.
Start by posting any open positions on your internal email list or message board. Take the time to interview any candidates who apply.
Even if they aren’t the right fit, it could be a chance to offer them a promotion or a lateral career move, which could open up entry-level roles that are easier to fill externally.
Sometimes the roles you need filled are too in-depth to bring a new hire up-to-speed in a timely manner. When all else fails, there’s no harm in hiring someone from within your company and saving the recruitment process for a later date.
Treat your existing employees well
Finally, one of the most important things to keep in mind during the recruitment process is to make sure you treat your current employees well.
After all, maintaining your existing workforce is more cost-effective than having frequent turnover and having to constantly hire new employees.
But not only that: happy employees are more likely to leave a good impression on any candidates who come into the workplace for an interview, and they won’t leave nasty reviews of your company on sites like Glassdoor.
New hires can tell when there’s something wrong with a company’s culture, and word will spread if you don’t treat your employees well. Avoid speaking badly of existing or former employees in front of new hires, even if they’re coming in to replace someone who wasn’t meeting your standards.
If you treat your employees well, you’ll build a reputation as being a good company to work for, and you won’t have any trouble recruiting new candidates.
Why do brands like G2, Cars.com and ShipBob trust Hunt Club to make the right hires?