5 Ways to Improve Your Recruiting Process in 2017

There has never been a more competitive time for hiring. With the increasingly flexible job market, talent can apply for positions not just in their hometown, but remotely all over the globe. That means recruiting competition is no longer limited to local companies, and recruiters can expect a much higher volume of applicants for every open position.

Make 2017 the year you crush the competition and get the best talent into your open roles with these tips for improving your recruiting process.

1. Deck out your careers page

There’s a reason you don’t hang a “We’re Hiring” sign in your window anymore. Today’s candidates are conducting their job hunts online, not on the streets. Is your careers page an inviting storefront? The majority of job seekers research online before applying. Make applying irresistible by using your careers page to talk about your company culture, highlight current employees, and discuss environment and benefits.

You should also consider a multimedia approach—including video on your careers page will help prospective employees gain a more realistic picture of your day-to-day. And don’t forget mobile. More than half of people aged 18-29 and almost 40% of people aged 30–49 have used a smartphone to search for a job. Your careers page needs to be engaging and user-friendly on any device. Here are some career page examples we've covered in the past.

2. Champion core values and culture

If you’re leaving branding solely up to your marketing team, you’re doing it wrong. Your consumer-facing brand and your candidate-facing brand are two sides of the same coin and each require dedicated attention. In 2014, more than 15,000 college students and recent graduates were surveyed about where they wanted to work. The companies that topped the list skewed heavily towards tech brands with strong employer reputations and lacked household names that produce popular consumer-facing products.

More than ever, prospective employees are interested in the why of working somewhere over the what. Almost 80% of respondents on the same survey listed “people and culture fit” as important to them in an employer.

Your HR team is the builder and champion of your candidate-facing brand—establishing and enforcing core values, embracing and celebrating individuals, encouraging growth, and improving communication. By focusing on retention among current employees, you’ll grow an excellent reputation with your prospective employees.

3. Think beyond perks

The trend of tempting prospective employees with “perks” like foosball tables, kegerators, and catered meals has become so rampant in recent years that careers pages are starting to read like resort brochures. Perks are certainly a fun way to catch someone’s eye, but the employees you want for your team are interested in more than free booze.

Consider adding perks that show you truly care about your employees as people, such as flexible hours for better personal/professional alignment, affinity groups to ramp up your commitment to diversity, maternity and paternity leave, and professional development opportunities. Another good one? Annual support for student loan debt. Two-thirds of 2016 college graduates have student loan debt—an average of $35,000 each. If you’re competing for talent in entry- to mid-level positions, a little extra cash to help with loans will go a lot further than arcade games.

4. Use a hiring scorecard

Bias has been at the forefront of some of the biggest political and social conversations in 2016. The hiring process is not immune from serious bias (related to race, gender, and religion) or incidental bias (interviewer having a bad or good day).

In 2017, shove bias off the table by using a hiring scorecard. A scorecard lets you quantify a candidate's qualifications by using standard metrics to measure strengths in the categories most important to a particular role. This will help you focus on what candidates do well, instead of their weaknesses, and will ensure that no matter who is conducting the interview, the process is fair. The metrics gathered on a scorecard also allow you to reflect six months or a year in on how your most successful and least successful employees scored, and use those reflections to optimize your scorecard for the future. If you don't know where to begin, Harvard Business Review has in-depth guidance on creating a scorecard (and there's an interactive template you can use here, too). In many cases, you can use your recruiting software to set up an standardized workflow for screening and evaluating candidates.

5. Stay in touch

Each open position in corporate America garners an average of 250 applications. One of those applications is going to come out on top, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about the other 249. In fact, putting those candidates to use for your future hiring needs could significantly reduce the estimated $4,000 cost of filling an open position. Capitalizing on non-hired applicants begins with an excellent candidate experience—smooth communications, warm interactions, transparent status tracking— and ends with how you turn them down. For applicants who made it to an interview, get personal with rejections. Call them, highlight what they did well, suggest areas of growth, and ask to stay in touch. Don’t go radio-silent on applicants who didn’t make it past résumé submission. Use an autoresponder to ask candidates who aren’t qualified or apply too late to keep your company in mind in the future.

For all rejected candidates, suggest specific ways to stay connected, and follow through. Ask them to connect on social media, then keep your pages updated with content that highlights what’s great about working for your company. Sign them up for an email newsletter, and share culture-related content as well as recent openings. When the process is done right, you can turn rejected candidates into your most promising future hires and most ardent supporters.

We’ve all been there—sitting by the phone, waiting for it to ring as we hope to hear our top applicant call to say he or she will accept our offer. In 2017, you can take some of that uncertainty off the table and replace it with confidence. Just follow these tips and see the “I accepts!” roll in. Good luck!

Set yourself up for recruiting success in 2017 by knowing what to measure—and how to measure it! Download a copy of the 5 Recruiting Key Performance Indicators eBook to keep yourself on track. 

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Karri Bishop Thumb

Karri Bishop is a marketing communications specialist at TechnologyAdvice, a B2B marketing firm that connects buyers and sellers of business technology. Karri manages social media strategy and covers various topics in the industry.

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