Is Your Recruiting Strategy Ready for the Challenges of the 2020s?

As we enter a new decade with the hiring landscape tougher than ever, updating your hiring process to meet the challenges posed by candidate shortages and a highly competitive hiring environment is more important than ever. If you’re still doing now what you did last year, then you’re going to be moving backward, losing the talent you want to employers who have made changes to their hiring process and to the employee and the candidate experience.

Where do you stand? Here are some areas to consider and decide what you need to update to reflect the trends and candidate needs of 2020 and beyond.

Your tech stack

AI and technology have become more and more important in recruiting and hiring, as tools make the process easier to manage and streamline the experience for candidates.

“One of the best ways to build out a robust recruitment tech stack is to create a ‘technology backbone’ encompassing the most important tech elements of your recruitment process,” says Perry Oostdam, CEO and co-founder of Recruitee. “For most recruiters, that includes a marketing platform, an applicant tracking system, and an onboarding system. Various other add-ons may assist in the recruiting process, but marketing jobs, keeping track of applicants, and onboarding hires remain the essential components.”

Is your TA technology stack up to the task? Does it provide the analytics to advise you where to post jobs and inform you of the effectiveness of your listings? Many of today’s tracking systems incorporate elements of artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide the analytics so critical to effective outreach and candidate ranking. Robust tools exist that greatly enhance the candidate experience without adding more work to busy recruiters.

Improve the candidate experience

With the United States unemployment rate hovering around 3.5%, you can’t settle for a mediocre hiring experience. To recruit top talent, you need to court them, giving them a positive recruiting experience. The best talent is almost certainly connecting and interviewing with other companies.

Bernard Layton, managing director at Comhar Partners, explains: “Just because the candidate wasn’t looking before you spoke to them doesn’t mean they won’t start looking elsewhere now that you’ve shown an interest. This is why you need to create a better hiring experience.

“For example, don’t drag out the process, like flying them in to interview and assess 3 or 4 times. This disregard for their time looks poorly upon your company and can turn off high-value candidates that might otherwise be interested.”

Take a look at your hiring process as a whole and ask yourself:

  • Are we respecting the candidate’s time?
  • Are we making the experience easy for the candidate?
  • Are we as prepared for the candidate as they are for us?
  • Are we responsive to the candidate?

If you answer “no” to any of these, fix it; update the hiring experience to ensure you’re able to both attract and recruit the best candidates.

You must be mobile

It seems like everything in our lives can be done via mobile devices, and more and more, hiring experts are seeing candidates applying via mobile as well. In fact, according to 2019 data from Glassdoor, 58% of their users are looking for jobs on their phone. Taking it one step further, the same report found that mobile applicants complete 53% fewer applications while taking 80% longer to do so because of processes not tailored to small screens.

If you offer a mobile application option, you may be losing potential talent to a poor user experience. Because this is the first introduction a candidate often has with your business, it’s an important step to consider in the hiring process. If you turn them off now with a frustrating application ordeal, you bring them in for an interview with one strike already against you.

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The first step updating your mobile application is to take a page from tech companies like Google and Apple and “eat your own dog food.” Test the mobile experience for yourself, on multiple browsers and devices; think: iPad, iPhone, Android, Samsung, etc. Use this process to identify weaknesses and areas of friction. You may also consider sending a post-application email asking how the mobile experience was. Candidate feedback will help you continuously improve the process.

Focus on culture

A great company culture attracts the top 20% of candidates, according to Gallup. How does your culture compare? The 2018 Global Culture Report says that great company culture includes:

  • Purpose
  • Leadership
  • Wellbeing
  • Appreciation
  • Success
  • Opportunity

How does your company score on each of these areas? The first step is to  identify your culture. Is it the kind of culture you want it to be? What do others say about your organization? Candidates do. They look to Glassdoor reviews and ratings on other sites to see how employees and ex-employees rate the company and its culture. If the reviews are negative, you have work to do to improve the culture; top talent doesn’t want to work for an organization where the employees are unhappy and dissatisfied.

The next step is to examine how accurately and clearly you represent your culture to candidates. Do you show candidates what it’s like — really like — to work for your organization? If not, now is the time to consider how you can do so, ensuring that you attract and hire the right people for your company’s culture. Do your ads need to be updated? Does the interview process require changes? Keep culture at the center so there are no surprises. As much as you want a good cultural fit, so do candidates.

Build contract workers into your process

A 2018 NPR and Marist poll estimates that 20% of American workers are contract workers — and that number is expected to rise as the gig economy continues to grow. For HR leaders, this means it’s time to take a hard look at the hiring process and where adjustments need to be made to account for attracting and hiring these often short-term, remote employees.

First is to know who is doing the hiring. At many companies, contract workers are being hired directly by managers, rather than through the recruiting function. That may have been workable when contract workers were few. But now, as hybrid workplaces become more the norm than the exception, companies need to consider if talent acquisition should be involved.

Whether you’re hiring contract workers right now or not, consider what changes in your strategy are necessary in your current hiring process, from managing remote interviews to creating new incentive packages.

Don’t stand still

As he saying goes, if you’re not moving forward, you’re heading backward. Candidate needs are constantly changing, as is technology. You can’t stay stagnant if you hope to grow and evolve as a company. Instead, consider the various elements of your hiring process and how to improve to remain competitive this year and into the future.

Jessica Thiefels is founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, a content marketing agency. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes and Business2Community. She also regularly contributes to Virgin, Business Insider, Glassdoor, Score.org and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.

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