As national unemployment rates continue to drop, even fewer viable candidates are available for many job openings. Combine the good news of lower unemployment with the skills gap that persists, and you’ll find recruiting and hiring the best candidates for your company is as daunting a task as ever. As HR professionals know, hiring is more than just reviewing applications and interviewing. There is an essential process and rhythm that goes with the hiring experience.
Not only is the hiring process critical for those you hire, it’s also an important aspect for those you don’t hire. The “user” experience through the hiring process has wide ranging implications. Whether a candidate is hired or not, the hiring process reveals much of who the company is to the job seeker. For those who are hired, a great hiring process could be the difference in how well a new hire remains with the company, and how productive she is. A candidate who is not hired can leave with either a good or bad impression of the company. In a time where reviews and peer sharing make the world go round, people will determine the value of a company based off what other people experience when going through the interview process.
Here are 5 Ways to a Better Hiring Experience:
Communicate With Job Candidates
As simple as this sounds, if you’re an HR pro, you understand how difficult this can be, especially if you’ve received hundreds of applications for just one job. However, one of the number one complaints from job seekers is that they never hear a word from the company to which they’ve applied. As companies strive for improvement, there are still many frustrations from candidates who never even receive acknowledgement that their application has been received, much less any follow-up communication on the process. Developing a system that allows you to communicate and follow-up with potential candidates helps alleviate some of the tension that candidates hold in waiting to hear from a company. It’s also a component that can show that the company cares about individuals, and not just the latest “crop” of applicants that are coming through.
Maximize Your Online and Digital Presence
A survey by MIT and Deloitte found that the vast majority of respondents want to work for digitally enabled organizations. Nearly 30 percent of American adults have used their smartphones in some way for their job searches, including browsing job listings (94 percent of smartphone job seekers), filling out online job applications (50 percent), and creating a resume or cover letter (23 percent) Pew Research survey. These processes open a 24/7 accessibility to potential candidates.
Additionally, social media continues to be a powerful tool in the hiring experience. Platforms like LinkedIn can help you locate potential new employees, as well as allow them to find you through search functions, job listings, and ads. But social media profiles can also be useful in learning more about a potential candidate, especially for those who may have professional profiles that include blogs or previous work. Although it’s a delicate, potentially privacy concern, social media profiles can reveal both the professional and personal side of your candidates.
Fit Soft Skills to the Job
One of the keys to a dynamic culture is finding employees who have the soft skills to not only thrive in the environment, but who can also learn the necessary skills needed to be productive. With the prevalent skills gap in almost every niche of the job market, it can be overwhelming to find someone who has the skills needed to do the job. Additionally, it can also be very tempting to hire someone based solely on the fact that they DO have the skill set for the job.
Tom Gimbel, CEO and founder of staffing and recruiting firm LaSalle Network, said, “Don’t become pigeonholed into thinking the person with the exact necessary experience is the right person for the role. Consider soft skills – like interpersonal skills, communication skills, thought processes and emotional intelligence – because they matter.”
A person with soft skills and emotional intelligence can often learn the hard skills required for the job. These are the types of employees who become engaged and productive, which usually leads to higher retention.
If being an effective HR professional is a craft, consider your interviews as works of art. Developing a setting and interview protocol that allows you to really understand your candidate takes time and consistent work and review. Leadership IQ CEO Mark Murphy, believes that the job interview process focuses too much on making sure new hires are technically competent, instead of focusing on a candidate’s other attributes like: coachability, emotional intelligence, ambition, integrity, and others.
It’s important to ask the questions that reveal what internally drives or motivates your candidate, instead of just asking for examples of work history and decisions made in the past.
Additionally, the interview is a time for the candidate to ask questions. Not only does this give the interviewee an opportunity to learn about the company, but a lot can be learned about what is important to the candidate. Hearing what is important to a candidate can often lead you to understand if he or she will be a good fit in both the company and the job for which they are applying.
Guard Your Word of Mouth
According to Glassdoor, 46 percent of its members read company reviews before they even speak to a recruiter or hiring manager. Top candidates may not even apply in the first place if they don’t like what they see: 69 percent of job seekers said they would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were currently unemployed. Those are some big, important numbers.
But what about disgruntled employees who bad-mouth or bash your company once they leave? As long as you continue to manage your brand by responding to reviews and updating your online presence, the vast majority of potential candidates will still apply, even with some negative reviews. The worst thing you can do with a little negative feedback is…nothing. Respond, be open and honest, but above all, be professional. Don’t get in a war of words with someone who has left negative feedback. Address their concerns, and yes, you can even admit when your company has made a mistake.
But also use the negative feedback as an opportunity to grow. Be willing to ask the difficult questions, and have the challenging conversations that will lead your company to the best practices it can develop.
Recruit. Hire. Retain.
Your recruiting and hiring experience is the “front door” to a candidate’s interaction with you. Whether that candidate becomes an employee or not, he or she will develop an opinion about your company by how they were treated. Take the steps today to improve your hiring process, and watch your company reap the benefits of a hiring experience that recruits, hires, and retains great talent for years to come.