Recruiting has undergone a major transformation over the last years – and the truth is that we’re only part-way through that transformation process.
Consider for a moment the reality of being a job seeker just a few years ago. The single most important means of finding a new job was to trawl job boards and apply to roles online. Crucially, a candidate could expect no interaction with the recruitment team or business whatsoever, until the point that they were actually invited in for interview. Many candidates complained of the “black hole” that their applications disappeared into.
If we turn to the reality of being a recruiter, things were pretty straightforward for similar reasons. The majority of all roles would be advertised online – and the scope to research and approach ideal candidates for a position usually meant bringing a recruitment agency on board, something of a last resort for many corporate recruiters given the budget implications. Recruiters complained of the huge volumes of applicants they received and the omnipresent challenge of trying to wade through them all within challenging timescales. The idea that candidate communication should be made a priority was not widely accepted in an era where recruiters were drowning with the volume of applications being received.
Fast track to today and things have been turned on their head. Recruiters can now source and approach candidates at will – causing the “hidden jobs market” to explode as more and more roles are filled without ever being advertised. Candidates, meanwhile, have a myriad of opportunities to research a company, interact with its staff and reach out to the recruiting team before, during and after the hiring process.
Against this backdrop, I was delighted to be asked to review idibu’s new recruiting report “The changing face of recruitment: how technology and good marketing practice are key to future success”. In this post I’ll reflect briefly on the four stages of effective recruitment that are highlighted in the report. In my next post I’ll turn to look at the important role of relationships in modern recruiting. I hope these snapshots are helpful – and encourage you to download a copy of the full report, highly recommended for both the insights and survey data contained within.
Turning to the 4 key stages of modern recruiting, idibu identify these as:
Let’s look at each in turn.
The first stage involves truly understanding your target market. Where can your target candidates be found and engaged today? Once you’re in front of them, what will actually attract them to consider your role rather than someone else’s? These are key questions to address.
Identifying where to find talent is of course far more complex today. Advertising in your industry’s key publications or on the specialist job boards that serve your niche no longer cuts it. There are many more touch points possible with your target candidate audience today, reflecting the myriad of websites, social media platforms, apps and mobile messaging tools that candidates now use. To get results, the modern recruiter has to market their job wherever the candidate is… and then position the job offer so it is appealing to today’s candidate.
To be successful in this changed environment, today’s recruiter has to understand marketing principles and approaches – from segmentation, targeting and positioning, through to building an employee value proposition.
Engaging is crucial, it’s where a recruiter can really make their mark and where they really earn their money. That’s because a lot of people apply for roles or accept recruiters’ approaches, but they are not actually fully committed to the position or to making a move.
This is where building great relationships can generate a distinct competitive advantage. The data in idibu’s report shows that it’s the relationship that candidates have with recruiters that is the stand-out factor in winning candidates over and seeing them progress all the way to being successfully hired. This, the findings suggest, is more important than your sector knowledge, more important than the specific jobs you are looking to fill. In a market where lots of candidates drop out of the recruiting process or don’t respond favourably to your advances, the positive impact of engaging and building stronger relationships is a crucial differentiator that drives up your conversion rates.
That’s before we factor in referral hires, which recruiters state are the best source for quality candidates. Clearly to refer a candidate, someone has to already have had a great experience with a recruitment team themselves or to have formed a relationship with them. Hence the importance of engaging.
Consider the following for just a moment. If five candidates have been shortlisted for a role, only one gets the job and the other four are left disappointed. But the recruiter deemed those other four candidates to be strong enough to be considered as a future hire – and hence the question has to become, how can we retain their enthusiasm for our company and keep them open-minded to the idea of returning to take up a position with us again at some point in the future?
Social media makes it possible for recruiters to build longer term relationships with these rejected candidates and to maximise retention of this talent. Forward thinking recruitment teams are recognising this and investing in building such relationships today to give the business an edge in the hiring market in years to come. Is yours? We’ll be looking at this aspect in the next blog in this series.
Last but not least is the key role of qualifying the suitability of your applicants so as to choose those most likely to thrive in your business. The idibu team suggest that rigorous testing is the most surefire way of achieving this – but that such testing can prompt candidate drop-out from the process if the other steps haven’t been fully adhered to. That’s why initiatives such as engaging on social media, building relationships, investing in your employer brand and the like are all so important. We need to solidify the candidate’s interest in our company and their relationship with us as a recruitment team, so that drop-off in the application process is minimised.
For a more detailed look at these four steps – and the survey data that sheds light on the challenges facing recruiters today – be sure to download your copy of the full report today. Also look out for my next post here on idibu where I’ll turn to look at the important role of relationships in modern recruiting.
This guest post was contributed by Tony Restell, Founder of social media agency Social-Hire.com and a respected guest speaker on topics related to recruiting and social media. Follow Tony on Twitter at @tonyrestell.