(Editor’s Note: Happy Halloween! Today’s post is sponsored by iCIMS, a leading Software-as-a-Service provider, focused on demystifying human resource processes. Not only do they provide the most flexible technology platform on the market, but their award-winning iCARE customer support team won’t spook you. Sorry, I couldn’t resist! Enjoy the post.)
I ran across Manpower’s 2012 Talent Shortage Research report [PDF]. We’ve been having this conversation for a while now. The job market appears sluggish but the talent market is getting tougher. Companies continue to express frustration about not being able to find candidates with the skills they’re looking for.
As a result, there’s a whole training and development conversation that needs to happen. In addition, a recruiting strategy discussion needs to take place. Companies need to be constantly looking for talent. Regardless of open requisitions. Now is the time to build relationships with your future employees.
Here are 7 ways you can start building your talent pipeline and engaging tomorrow’s workforce.
1. Design an employee referral program everyone can get excited about.
Employees are the greatest employment brand ambassadors evah! They have hundreds of friends that they talk to regularly. No one is better in terms of keeping the conversation going with possible candidates.
Years, ago I worked with a manager who literally had a stack of referrals. Her employees were regularly recommending others. I give a lot of credit to her management abilities – she ran a good department. But she also took advantage of all the resources available – including the employee referral program.
2. Maintain an active presence on social media.
I hope by now we’ve all moved past the “social media is a fad” phase. Having a presence on social media is as essential to your business as having a website. When my local pizza shop is hiring on social media, it’s officially gone mainstream.
Companies don’t need to be on every social media platform. Find the one that works for your business and work it for the results you need.
3. Keep your career site current.
Nothing worse than going to a company’s career page and seeing jobs from months ago. Is the job still open? Hmmm…who knows? Finding a way to keep the site current is important. Especially when you want employees to recommend their friends for jobs. That’s where they’re probably going to get information.
4. Answer everyone who applies for a position.
This is a biggie in my book – especially if you’re in a B2C organization. Candidates get ticked off when they don’t know the status of their application. A goal of any business should be for candidates to love their brand even if they don’t get hired. Not bringing closure to the application process doesn’t fulfill that goal.
Job applicants and candidates can refer others to your organization. They won’t if they were treated poorly in the process.
5. Find out where your ideal candidates hang out.
Every good recruiter knows what their perfect candidate looks like. Once they get that vision locked in, they start to figure out where those candidates might spend their time. It could be on Facebook or Twitter (see number 2 above). Or it could be at an association meeting, fundraising event, or business conference.
I know a professional recruiter who hires human resources executives. He has done a great job of building relationships within the local SHRM chapter. In fact, I’ve never seen him do any kind of selling. Several human resources pros have landed jobs thanks to him.
6. Stay in touch with qualified candidates you don’t hire.
I learned this one from personal experience. Years ago, I was hiring for a manager position. We had two great candidates. It was a tough decision. We offered the job to Candidate #1 and she turned us down. I wrote her a thank you note and wished her well. We hired Candidate #2.
Weeks later, Candidate #1 called me. She had taken another job and was miserable. She wanted to know if we would consider her again. I said “sure!” and we ended up hiring her for another manager role.
It’s easy to forget about great candidates once the selection process is officially over. Companies already have access to hundreds (if not thousands) of terrific candidates … if only they would stay in touch with them.
7. Make it easy to apply for a job.
All of this relationship building will mean nothing if the application process is unorganized and cumbersome. Applying for a job should be easy.
One thing companies can do to monitor their own application process is test it themselves. Pretend you’re an applicant and follow the process from start to finish. How long does it take? Were the instructions clear? Ask yourself, “Would I apply here?”
Companies shouldn’t be afraid to engage job candidates and build a talent pool. If all the indicators are correct, organizations will continue to see challenges when it comes to finding the skills they’re looking for. The team at iCIMS can take the fear out of engaging candidates – just check out their website, visit their blog or start following them on Twitter for advice.