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Human Resources staffing has changed a lot in the last decade because of technology and social platforms. And while it’s important to keep your company’s website up to date, maintain a strong presence on LinkedIn, and earn good reviews on recruiting websites such as Glassdoor, it’s also important to remember the human element of HR.
In HR we spend a lot of time talking about the importance of employee relations and engagement—we know that employees respond productively to positive treatment—so we embark on initiatives to show appreciation and recognize individual contributions.
And yet, all that empathy, compassion and concern doesn’t seem to extend to potential employees while they are still outside the company walls. Instead, these would-be employees are subjected to automated application systems, computer generated form letters or—worst of all—a total lack of acknowledgement.
How you treat people as applicants serves as an example for how they can expect to be treated as employees. What is your candidate experience telling them about you? How are you making sure you’re an employer of choice?
Consider these approaches to help you stand out as a people-centric employer in this technology driven market.
How you treat applicants matters. It’s all too easy with online portals and multiple avenues for submitting inquiries to lose track of applications, provide delayed responses or fail to respond at all. When applicants never hear back about an application or receive only a cold, clearly automated rejection letter, it can leave a poor impression. Even if a person won’t be considered for a position, it’s important to follow up with a professional rejection letter.
Why? Word travels fast and, while this person may not be your ideal candidate, someone they know may be, and you’d hate to miss out on a possible referral. In the recruiting world, word of mouth—both positive and negative—travels far.
Treat people who show interest in your company with respect by acknowledging their efforts and thanking them for their interest. You might even want to invite them to apply for other roles in the future, so the rejection feels more about that particular job than that particular person.
A hot topic among recruiters in recent years is modes of communication. It would have been unheard of a decade ago to negotiate terms and salaries via text messaging, but it’s now become commonplace, especially among younger generations.
While email and phone calls are still valuable tools, make sure you’ve established that it’s the preferred method of communication before you make assumptions. If you send an email to your ideal candidate who doesn’t check it for three days and, meanwhile, another recruiter texts with a job offer, you just might miss out.
Employers need to adjust their traditional recruiting tactics to engage potential employees in ways they want to be reached. Make time to connect with potential employees on their terms and timing and find the right communication tool to help you get the response you want.
Technology and online tools have opened recruiting opportunities like never before. But employers shouldn’t stay stuck behind their computer screens and rely on the internet if they want to maximize their efforts. There’s still a place for face-to-face networking and interactions.
Consider getting involved in local schools and training programs and engage with instructors to identify candidates who may be graduating and entering the workforce.
Having a presence in the community, showing support of the local economy, networking and maintaining brand awareness are also important factors in building trust and positioning your company as an employer of choice. While you may not fill a position at a job fair or business expo, these other factors combined with the potential for reaching recruits through word-of-mouth is reason enough to participate.
It’s unfortunate that many ideal candidates are overlooked because they don’t fit the cookie-cutter mold of a standard job description. Would you consider an applicant who displays the skills and drive you desire but doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree? Then why list it as a “required qualification?” You can expand your candidate pool by considering those who lack traditional backgrounds, education or pedigrees.
Plus, attributes that can’t be measured on an application are equally important in the workplace. A person’s work ethic, eagerness and ability to learn, leadership qualities and interpersonal skills are being considered now more than ever.
A company can provide training to perform tasks, but the soft skills that determine if a person is a team player and fits within a company’s culture are things that can’t be taught. Discovering these qualities in a person requires interaction and engagement, stressing once again the importance of making time to connect with candidates to get to know them.
Filling positions is a costly endeavor, and everything you’re doing to attract and engage candidates can either benefit your organization or backfire. Successful recruiting comes down to building relationships with candidates from the initial contact and throughout the entire hiring process.
Our complimentary Candidate Perception Assessment offers specific recruiting recommendations based on an impartial review of the candidate experience. Contact us to learn more.
And checkout our Guide to Building a Positive Workplace Culture. Improving your company’s culture and engagement can enhance your position as an employer of choice and attract the best talent to apply for your job openings.