The US government announced a 3.8% unemployment rate on Friday, June 1, the lowest unemployment rate since 1969.[i] It is virtually full employment. As a result, to attract new hires, you need to recruit passive job candidates who already have a job or new entrants such as graduates from technical programs or colleges.
There are currently 6.7 million job openings in the US, another record, while only 6.3 million Americans are looking for jobs. There are now more job openings in the US than unemployed.[ii]
It is time to switch from normal recruiting strategies to full employment recruiting strategies. Posting your jobs on your career sites and job boards won’t cut it. Recruiting now is about being first to those new to the workforce and offering those who are employed with something better, building relationships, and acting with speed.
Here are seven tips to improve the speed of your recruiting and to build positive relationships with candidates:
- Pay attention to process. According to Deloitte, more than 45% of the candidates never hear back from the companies to which they’ve applied, and a startling 83% of candidates rate their job search experience as poor. It is time to get your internal recruiting processes in order so that those who apply for your jobs and get interviewed have a great experience. Every job candidate is a valuable employment prospect. If you do not act quickly, you will lose the candidate to your competition.
Have clear daily processes and standards for reviewing resumes, initiating phone screens, inviting candidates for an on-site interview, and generating job offers. Make sure you are keeping job candidates up to date on their status through the recruiting process. Among your recruiters and hiring managers, make sure everyone knows their part and does it in timely fashion. Have your interview questions for each role prepared and allow only trained managers to interview job candidates. Make sure when the candidates are on site that you give them a tour of the facility, show them whatever you have that is new and leading in the marketplace, and allow them to interact with workers. You want them leaving impressed. And, if you are impressed with them, give them a conditional offer at the end of the day, or within 24 hours.
- Use metrics. You can’t have streamlined processes without metrics to make sure your processes are working. Many recruiting departments track time to fill or average days open for requisitions, and costs per hire. But these metrics are only a start especially if you have high volume recruiting. Also, monitor the days it takes to screen applications, the response rate to inquiries, time to generate offers, candidate drop-out rates throughout the process, and six-month and first-year retention rates. In addition, you should track applications and hires by sources such as the job boards you use, referrals, LinkedIn, social media sites, and your career site. Don’t just admire your metrics. Use them to manage your process. What gets measured gets done.
- Make sure you have enough employee referrals. If you are referral rate is not 33% of your hires in retail or 50% in manufacturing, then something is wrong. Is it a bad culture? Or is the problem that you’re not encouraging employees to make referrals or you don’t have an easy process for doing so? Consider doubling your current referral bonus, and make sure the process for making a referral is easy and easily understood. Referrals with bonuses are often the cheapest and most reliable hiring strategy.
- Use technology. Recruiting technology has changed dramatically in the past two years. I am not talking about social media recruiting on Facebook or Instagram. That has become standard. I am talking about augmenting your legacy Applicant Tracking System (which is often clunky and requires an hour to complete an application—ugh!) Instead, I’m suggesting you consider technology such as TextRecruit. TextRecruit allows you to contact a prospective job candidate with a text and invitation to submit a resume and schedule a phone screen. TextRecruit is powered by IBM Watson and claims a 37% response rate within 12 minutes of the text. You can use various scheduling technologies such as Calendly to make the scheduling process easier.
For more sophisticated screening consider using chatbots such as Botmatic which has made the creation of recruiting chatbots as easy as writing a memo—and a lot faster. Botmatic can screen candidate answers to your questions in the chatbot conversation.
There is also video interviewing technology which has been around for ten years but is getting much more sophisticated. Wepow technology, for example, allows you to have live or pre-recorded interviews to move the process along. According to Wepow CEO and Co-founder Imo Udom, one of Wepow’s first customers was Adidas. Imo told me in a recent interview that Adidas had to conduct interviews in December of 2011, a hectic month. They set up with us a pre-recorded interview of five questions on Thursday and sent it to 150 job applicants. By Monday, Adidas had a staggering 147 responses, or 99%, of the targeted candidates, complete their interview.” Now Adidas has expanded its pre-recorded video interviewing for much of its campus recruiting and uses Wepow for numerous job openings across the globe!
- Consider Artificial Intelligence for recruiting. Don’t count on post and pray during full employment. If you are like many recruiters, you are finding that the number of applicants per job posting is sharply decreasing. It is time to drop your strategy of using job boards and LinkedIn to lure tough-to-find, highly skilled candidates to apply for your openings. Instead, find and directly contact the job candidates. Today, there are new and reliable Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies that have been in development for more than three years before their commercial release. They are easy to use. After developing a detailed job description, these platforms (that have online, global databases of more than 300 million candidates) will find and highlight the qualifications and employment histories of job candidates—and even rate the candidates who best match your job requirements.
These AI technologies are not old fashioned lists. They are current on-line real-time inquiries that comb tens of current job boards, social media, and LinkedIn to find your ideal candidates, and provide you with contact information. With demonstrations I have provided using ThisWay Global’s AI technology, clients have found candidates in seconds that they could not find on big- name job boards and LinkedIn. With AI, your strategy goes from post and pray to proactively and quickly contacting candidates and beginning a dialogue with them. It also enables you to build a strategic talent pool with the candidates who not now ready to make a career move.
AI can also be used to target new entrants in the workforce such as college graduates from your preferred universities and military personnel beginning their civilian careers. It also can be used proactively to improve diversity recruiting. It is very flattering when a company calls the candidate as opposed to waiting for the candidate to make the first move.
David Bernstein, head of Strategic Partnerships and Products at ThisWay Global says that many of their clients find value in the analytics of their platform. “Companies who take a strategic approach to recruiting are not only using AI to rapidly identify qualified talent, but are also taking advantage of the actionable insights derived from all of the data. The analytics reveal the competitive dynamics of the labor market they’re recruiting in. To create your strategy, it’s critical to understand how many people are available for your position, how many employers are vying for those people, what they’re paying, and how long it takes to recruit them. In this tight employment market, you have to know going in what you’re up against and what it will take to secure the talent you need.”
Artificial Intelligence can be economical too. Because of the volume of qualified candidates AI identifies for many jobs, you can spend your money on AI and less money on ineffective job boards.
- Show off your employer brand. Does your career site talk about your company’s value and purpose? The cool work your employees do? Better yet, are there testimonials and podcasts from your employees talking about their meaningful work, their careers and why they like working for you? Do you discuss the medical, 401k, paid leave, and wellness programs you offer? Do you summarize the coaching, mentoring, training and career development you provide? Many employer career sites I see discuss the employer’s products and services but never take these steps to explain the value of working for the company from the employee’s point of view and the employer’s brand. In an economy of full employment that decision is a big mistake. Job candidates have choices. If you want them to choose you, then you need to explicitly tell them the impressive attributes of your company in a compelling way.
- Improve your Glassdoor rating. Many employers discount Glassdoor as a place that only the “gripers” go to register complaints. If that is the case, why do companies have Glassdoor ratings above 4.0? Nearly 80% of job applicants go to websites like Glassdoor to review the ratings and the employee reviews of the company’s culture, interview process, and even the CEO. What they say about your company is important — too important to discount as the expression of “gripers.”
How do you improve Glassdoor ratings? Here are a couple of suggestions. When employees give a compliment to manager or to human resources , thank them, ask them more about it, and then ask them to tell others about it on Glassdoor. Also, ask them to make a hiring referral to their friends. When employees make a hiring referral, thank them and ask them to tell the world on Glassdoor what they like about working at your company.
If your company has a problem with oppressive or bullying management or a toxic work culture, you will need to begin by addressing those issues. Start now. Employees today have choices.
US companies and recruiters are facing full employment. It is time to shift strategies to build relationships with passive job candidates, to engage with new entrants in the labor force and to act with speed. It is time to shift tactics to recruit in a time we haven’t seen in years.
Victor Assad is the CEO of Victor Assad Strategic Human Resources Consulting and is a Managing Partner of InnovationOne. He consults and provides “hands-on” support for global talent strategies, developing innovative cultures, agile leaders and teams, and other strategic initiatives. Contact Victor Assad at VA@VictorHRConsultant.com. Visit http://www.victorhrconsultant.com for his valuable free reports.
[i] Eric Morath and Sarah Chany (June 1, 2018, 8:56 PM ET), “Unemployment Rate Falls to 18-Year Low; Solid Hiring in May,” The Wall Street Journal. Found at https://www.wsj.com/articles/unemployment-rate-falls-to-18-year-low-solid-hiring-in-may-1527856298.
[ii] Eric Morath (June 5, 2018, 3:28 PM ET)) “American Job Openings Now Outnumber the Jobless,” The Wall Street Journal. Found at https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-jobs-outnumber-the-jobless-1528212776.