A new position opens up, and you’re already dreading the process you’ll need to embark upon to fill it. Finding above-average talent can be difficult and time consuming, and attracting the right candidate with the right mix of skills, experience and cultural fit can feel next to impossible. It takes a dedicated effort to find the right person for the job. Many companies think that if they have an HR department and a job posting, they’re good to go. However, that’s usually not the case.
If you’re finding that the recruiting and hiring process is becoming difficult and tiresome, it may be time to look at ways to make some improvements. There’s a fine art to attracting and hiring talent, and it goes beyond the job posting and interview. While some companies have candidates flocking to them, others find that their hiring tactics aren’t quite getting them the results they need. Of course, job posting is not head hunting.
Your company may be missing the mark in a few areas when it comes to hiring. Here are a few areas where a correction might make the difference.
1. Using A Boring Template For Job Posting
The most important thing in your mind is choosing among the rabble to select your ideal candidate. You lay out the job, hundreds of people apply and you choose the best. Simple.
From the candidate’s viewpoint, the most important thing in their mind is WIIFM (what’s in it for me?). Why would this job be interesting? How will it provide opportunities to expand my skillset? What advancement opportunities are there?
If your job posting is just a clinical description of the duties, with no “pizazz”, then the best candidates will not be among the rabble who apply. You will never see them and you may be disillusioned with the quality of the talent pool “out there”. There may be nothing wrong with this wider pool; it’s just that you don’t have access to it because of your poor job posting.
2. Not Posting The Compensation on Offer
There’s always a push-pull between candidates and companies when it comes to the salary of a position that is available. Companies don’t necessarily want to publish a salary because maybe a candidate would accept less. Equally concerning is that perhaps the company would be willing to offer MORE to the right candidate, but by stating a particular number, great candidates may not apply.
Generally, as executive recruiters, we shy away from posting compensation with job postings with two exceptions:
a. Sales Positions
For sales positions for which the variable component can be a significant part of the overall compensation structure, it may be advisable to indicate the level of total compensation (salary plus commission) that could be reasonably achieved, e.g.,
“ABC Company offers an attractive base salary plus an aggressive commission structure which should allow successful candidates to earn in excess of $100,000 annually within two years.”
b. Positions with a Fixed Upper Compensation Limit
In some situations, there is no flexibility to offer more than a set amount regardless of how exceptional a candidate may be. These are the cases where “the budget is the budget” and that is it. Under this circumstance, it may be advisable to clearly set out the compensation that is on offer, mainly to discourage those candidates who are seeking higher compensation so that they don’t end up wasting your time (as well as their own).
3. Not Considering a Broad Range Of Candidates for Your Job Posting
Many companies have a form of tunnel vision in which they will only hire from within their own industry. This makes great sense for certain roles where long-term relationships are key (e.g. business development) or where an understanding of complex procedures that are industry-specific is very important. However, in many cases, smart people can learn an incredible amount in 60 or 90 days and, by applying what they know from experiences gained from working in other industries, they can often suggest new approaches that would not otherwise have been considered.
The same kind of thinking can be applied to seniority. While you may have a fairly good idea of who would be a good fit, consider including one or two candidates who are a bit more senior than you were shooting for. For a little bit more in terms of compensation, you may get a whole lot more in terms of capability, flexibility and long-term potential.
4. Too Hard To Apply/No Feedback
Candidates want to be able to apply for your job posting easily and they want to be treated with respect. Do a check-up of your online application process to make sure that everything is in good working order. If you can, upgrade to using something intuitive and easy – like LinkedIn or Indeed. Scrap “log in” style recruiting tools because not a lot of people want to sign up and remember another login.
It’s important to make the application process as simple and quick as possible. Candidates will get frustrated if it takes them a long time to apply and if their computer, phone, or internet connection can’t handle your old system, chances are they will just abort the entire process and never come back.
These days, it isn’t obligatory to acknowledge everyone who applies for a job posting, given the avalanche of applicants that often pursue every posting, however, once you have contacted someone for further review and discussion, you do owe it them to keep them abreast of where they stand and offer a polite decline once they are no longer being considered.
5. Not Plugging the Hole in the Bucket (Fight Turnover)
While hiring new talent is an important part of ensuring your company has an above-average workforce, don’t overlook the value of the talent already working at the company. When you have a job posting, look internally first and see if you have anyone who is ready to take on the opening. Even if someone is more junior than you’d like, it could be a great opportunity to retain talent. The benefit of an internal promotion goes far beyond the person being promoted as other employees will take notice and be reassured that upward mobility is a possibility for others as well.
Consider a regular attitude survey, even if it is an informal one (but ensure absolute confidentiality if you want honest input). Invariably, the important part of this process is for management to summarize and publicly address the major themes that come out of the survey in a timely manner. The key is that management’s acknowledgment of the issues is often more important than the issues themselves.
A Hiring Check-Up
Just like any other business process, it’s worth doing a check-up and assessment of your hiring routine. There are always ways you can tweak things to do better, and maybe your hiring team isn’t even aware of where they could improve. Steve Jobs felt that recruiting should be an endless process of seeking the best talent unrelated to a particular job opening.
A simple way to find holes in your methodology is to send candidates who interviewed (successful and unsuccessful) a survey about the process. This feedback can be extremely valuable and will allow you to fix areas of weakness for your next job posting.
No matter what, sit down with your hiring team – whether your internal HR group or external recruiting agency – and debrief quarterly to discuss what works, what doesn’t, and what opportunities you have to do better.
For more ideas on identifying areas for improvement in your hiring process, refer to 8 Hiring Mistakes.
Kathbern Management is a Toronto-based recruiting firm focused on working with organizations who are seeking to find and hire the key people who are critical for their success.
Contact us today for a free consultation about your key person search.