Over the last few years, companies are struggling more and more to find well-qualified job applicants to fill their open positions. The challenge stems partly from the fact that the US unemployment rate is at a relative low, leading to greater competition over talent. And this trend shows no signs of slowing down – a recent survey from Indeed found that 61% of employers expected to hire more people in 2018 than the previous year.
In this type of hiring landscape, how can employers stand out to prospective job candidates? Here are a few places you can start:
1. Amp Up Your Employer Brand
Employer branding is a bit of a buzzword lately, but it’s only because employer branding efforts represent a powerful way to compete in a tight talent market. All companies (yes, even small companies) should care about their employer brand, even if that means gradually adopting a few branding tactics here and there. It can be as easy as using social media to highlight company culture and social events, or adopting a more socially-minded mission (which research shows to particularly appeal to millennial workers, now the largest segment of the workforce). The key here is to highlight the aspects of your organization that will appeal to job seekers.
2. Follow Through by Improving Company Culture
The employer brand you present to the outside world is one thing; actually making positive improvements in your company culture is another. A healthy and positive work culture tends to shine outward without much effort on HR’s part, leading to better employee referrals and a positive reputation in the community. For this reason, a key component of employer branding is to evaluate your company culture and make changes that will increase employee happiness. There are so many strategies you can take to achieve this goal depending on your current work culture and industry. One place to start is by adopting company practices that are working at other companies – think flexible work options, better parental leave policies, casual dress codes, dog-friendly offices, and greater opportunities for career development.
Your company culture has a direct impact on the way that potential job applicants perceive your organization. About 70% of job seekers read company reviews before making career decisions – those Glassdoor reviews don’t write themselves! By creating an environment where your current employees enjoy coming to work, they can become the best advocates of your employer brand.
3. Treat Candidates Well
Candidate experience is more than just a component of your employer brand; it also directly influences how likely you are to win over the most promising candidates. One of the quickest ways to lose the war for talent is by taking too long in the hiring process. Before you even post a new job description, make sure you have a solid hiring process in place so that each stage of the funnel transitions easily into the next, and so that all of the hiring managers involved with the decision are on the same page. Make sure to also remain flexible – you’ll still want to act faster than normal when a particularly impressive candidate comes across your desk.
Treating candidates well goes beyond just speed. A good candidate experience also involves clear communication, transparency about the steps of the process, and not making your candidates jump through unnecessary hoops.
4. Create More Career Development Opportunities
If you’re looking to attract more millennial job seekers, one of the best ways to catch their eye is by offering great opportunities for career growth. Career mobility is one of the biggest deciding factors for job seekers who are early in their careers. By creating mentorship programs, establishing training opportunities, and facilitating paths for promotion within the company, a company can start to stand out to highly motivated candidates who are interested in more than just a paycheck. (Side benefit: developing more opportunities for career development also helps you reduce organization-wide turnover by creating pathways for standout employees!)
5. Optimize Your Job Descriptions
For most companies, the job description is the first time a candidate will encounter your business. It also represents an opportunity for you to highlight all of your efforts from the previous four points. There's already a lot of advice out their for how to optimize your job descriptions, but it's also important to remember that a job description shouldn’t just be a bulleted list of qualifications and job responsibilities. It should be selling your company to potential applicants. If you have a great work culture and great Glassdoor reviews, link to it! If you offer robust career development opportunities, mention it in the description! The job description is your chance to highlight all that is good or interesting about your organization. Remember, candidates have the ability to be choosy, and you need to give them a reason to choose you.
The best part about finding ways to stand out to job candidates is that a lot of the pieces are already in place. There are a lot of positive things about pretty much every organization – they just need to be highlighted. But if you find yourself coming up blank when you’re trying to list bragworthy qualities about your company, then it may be time to dig a little deeper to find ways to improve on an organizational level.
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