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Nobody has to tell you how difficult it has become to find the “right people” to employ. Barring a recession, it doesn’t look like the situation will get any better soon.
Some of you may already be “on top of your game” when it comes to employee recruitment; others less so. In any event, consider this a refresher on hiring new talent for your organization.
Some of the sources you’ll find in this column have proven to be productive bets. Some sources might not work as well as others for a given position, depending on the employment level (entry-level, experienced, semi-skilled workers, etc.), so you need to be open and flexible in your approach.
If your primary recruiting strategy is “posting and praying,” then you are basically fishing from a freshwater pond vs. the ocean.
There’s a sea of top performers who are content in their current roles and rarely surfing the job boards. So if you think you’re going to catch these passive candidates through a job advertisement, you’re probably setting yourself up for some disappointment.
To keep up with hiring demands in this tightened labor market, you’ll need to expand your candidate sourcing tactics beyond job postings to discover and land the strongest, most qualified individuals.
Here are seven candidate sourcing channels we recommend that can improve your ability to attract and recruit top talent:
1. Tap into industry associations. Specific industry/verticals and vocation-related associations can be a goldmine for recruiting talented people. You may already be a member of one — or more. Consider sponsoring their local chapter meetings or events, or sending key members of your organization to a national conference to scout talent.
Many associations have online directories to help facilitate networking among members, providing another channel for you to explore. This type of networking can help build awareness of your company while expanding your personal network. You never know when a new connection could be looking for a unique career opportunity!
2. Develop an employee referral program. Candidate referrals are often a top source for hires in most companies. Employee referral programs are a proven way to improve the quality and quantity of your applicant flow.
Your HR department or whomever in your organization is your primary recruiter partner should drive the referral program. Providing incentives such as cash or a vacation package can help drive better results as well.
3. Create partnerships with the right colleges/universities. Partner with colleges and universities offering the type of degree programs that align best with your job requirements, company values and culture.
Establish rapport with potential new hires by having members of your team attend university job fairs. Develop relationships beyond the staff working in the university’s career center, including with professors who teach specific courses, as they will know who the top students are in each class.
Be sure to post your open positions on the college job boards as well and outline the benefits of working for your organization. Once you start hiring candidates from your targeted universities, have these employees go back to their alma mater to help recruit more candidates, as needed.
In addition, have your recruiter and employees proactively connect with students at your target universities early on, rather than waiting until they’re close to graduation.
Nurture these relationships, so when students start thinking about employers to target, your company is at or toward the very top of their wish list. These are proven tactics smart employers use to recruit students year after year into their organizations.
4. Mine your internal database. When you post your job openings, not every applicant is the right fit for that opening at the time. Those who don’t make the cut could be great candidates for future opportunities. So it should be a regular order of business to retain the applicant’s credentials.
Proactively data mine your resume database and segment candidates into a list or perhaps tag them by a “position keyword(s)” for future reference. If you have an applicant tracking system that can automate the process, even better!
5. Use paid recruiting tools. Consider paying for additional tools, such as LinkedIn Recruiter, to help expand your network for sourcing talent. This tool isn’t exactly cheap, but it provides access to all LinkedIn members, comes with a ton of candidate search filters that enable you to quickly identify candidates who align with your job criteria, and allows for direct messaging via InMail to help connect with the passive candidate market.
Consider using other tools with rich databases of contacts such as Zoominfo.com and Data.com, for example.
6. Post on specialized niche job boards vs. generalist boards. Job boards typically rank low on most companies’ list of sources for attracting talent. With that said, we still encourage you to post your positions. Sometimes you can get lucky, plus you’re building your resume database with candidates who you may be able to hire in the future — for another position.
More specifically, we recommend that you post on niche job boards catering to the type of position you are hoping to fill. For instance, if you’re recruiting for supply chain professionals, try supplychainjobs.com or jobsinlogistics.com versus the generalist job boards where your job listing can drown in a giant ocean of other jobs. Specific job boards that focus on what you are looking for drive more relevant applicants who have experience or interest in your particular focus area.
7. Engage with a recruiter. If you’re a small or mid-sized company that doesn’t have the hiring volume to support hiring a full-time recruiter, or if you’re struggling to fill a key position and its causing pain in your business, consider engaging a professional recruiter.
Be sure to conduct research, both through your network and online, to identify the right recruiting firm, as not all recruiters are equal. Many specialize by industry, function, job level and geographic area, while other firms recruit across disciplines and most major industries.
I hope this is helpful. Be as smart as you can about seeking out the right sources of talented applicants. Good luck in your search!