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Five Things to Do Before You Hire A Recruiter

Jun 2018

Marcie Glenn

Today’s hiring market is more complex than ever. To reach the right candidates for your open positions, are you thinking like a recruiter from the beginning of your candidate search? The market now demands that everyone in the business owns the role of a recruiter, not just HR.

Why is that? Even just five years ago, it was easier to shoot off a job posting and simply wait for candidates to come to you as a result of your brand, available talent, or other perks you’re known to offer. But now, there’s a convergence zone in the labor market that’s disrupting behavior and breaking the old rules of play.

Shifting demographics, changing technology, a cultural shift towards greater transparency, then add low unemployment and you have a war for talent. This means you must do more legwork to understand today’s candidates, reach them where they are with the best candidate experience possible, and let them know right away what your company has to offer. And it’s best to do all of this from day one.

Here’s a snapshot of the current hiring market:

  • Unemployment is low, 3.9%
  • March 2018 marked the 90th month of consecutive job growth
  • Sales, operations, and engineering roles are among the hardest to fill
  • Skilled jobs have grown two times faster than unskilled
  • The workforce is more diverse than it ever has been
  • Millennials and women now make up the largest portion of the workforce
  • People 55 and older now make up 25% of the workforce

As they say, if you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails. With that in mind, here are five steps you should tackle on your own before investing in a recruiter.

Step 1: What you show is what you get

Know the difference between a job description and a job posting. The first is internal, while the second is external and should engage your audience right off the bat. This is where the marketing starts.

In the first paragraph, your job posting should address:

  • How the role is exciting or interesting.
  • What meaningful impact the role has.
  • Why someone would want to work for your organization.

Also, be sure to remove company-specific language that could be confusing or off-putting to external candidates. For example, use “street language” instead of internal jargon for the job title and standardize business units. Give candidates the opportunity to imagine themselves doing the work.

Step 2: Compare notes with your team

Today, 80 percent of the information candidates use to make decisions comes from outside career sites, and 90 percent of professionals are open to hearing about an opening. That’s why it’s important to prompt relevant team members to share the job posting with their networks and ask if they know anyone who might be a good fit.

For example, if you’re hiring for a Senior Accountant, talk with the accounting team. Give the team members an overview of the open position, talk through what you’re looking for, and show them your job posting—are they engaged and thus a candidate? That way, when they discuss the job opening with others, they’ll be on message and a consistent, relevant, and authentic conversation begins.

We often overlook this critical step because we assume that because the team knows of the opening, they’re talking about it. But just like you, they’re busy and don’t necessarily think like a recruiter. Yet an employee’s own network is ten times more powerful than any one company brand.

Ultimately, you want your external posting, not your job description, to be relevant to the right audience, consistent with the story of your organization and what it’s like to work there, and be authentic. And remember, we’re not broadcasting a job description, we’re marketing an opportunity.

Step 3: Scan your company career site

Find out how your story comes across to candidates from the beginning of the online application process. Can the applicant easily find the job posting? If not, how can you make it more searchable? Will the career site continue to engage the candidate through the application process, or does the messaging get lost? If the web site messaging doesn’t align, look for departmental or organizational links that you can include in the job posting to help create further engagement beyond the career section.

Step 4: Guilty by association, find the right group

In today’s market, professional networking is easier to do than not. As soon as you log in to LinkedIn, you get access to valuable industry trends and activity updates within your network. Take advantage of the various LinkedIn channels to get the word out about your opening, reaching out to your HR or marketing team for help if you need to.

I challenge you to do the following:

  1. Share the opening on your own activity page on LinkedIn.
  2. Share the opening with two to three LinkedIn industry groups, which at a minimum should include your alma mater (remember this is about networking!) and a group that is specific to your local geography or industry or area of expertise.
  3. Ensure the role is mentioned on your LinkedIn company page, leverage what’s already out there.

Before we head into step 4, remember that you haven’t invested any money yet—only your time in attracting top talent.

Step 5: Engage your contacts one-on-one

Networks are more powerful than any one brand. If you can reach good candidates through social media, trade organizations, or other personal networks, you’ll be better able to get in front of great talent.

Part of this strategy includes reaching out to specific contacts.

  • Contact at least two industry colleagues and ask who they have interviewed or talked to recently that you should be in conversation with. What are they seeing and not seeing in the market?
  • Talk with anyone else in your organization who has hired for a similar role. Is there a runner-up who could be considered? Did they lose talent for any reasons that are critical for you to know?
  • Ask HR if there are any candidates with high potential in your organization who should be considered.

Maintaining a consistent, relevant, and authentic conversation with potential candidates throughout the recruiting cycle is the key to making great hires who are aligned and dedicated to your organizational goals, likely to stay longer, and willing to spread the word about why they’ve got a great gig.

To find out how we can help you create candidate pools with excellent choice, get in touch.

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