2015 Hiring: Improve Your Recruiting Success Rate By Matt Shore

Published:01/13/2015 | Posted by

Our clients and candidates frequently ask whether the market has turned around yet and the answer is a resounding Yes! So, as the race to attract top talent gets more and more competitive, it’s now critical to get your talent acquisition process in shape for the New Year.

Last year, many companies learned the hard way, either through difficulty filling openings, unwanted attrition or through having job offers turned down, that the job market has clearly shifted to a candidate driven market. In fact, our recruiters experienced more multiple/counter offer turn down scenarios last year than they’ve seen in over a decade, especially in the IT, Accounting and Sales arenas.

To avoid these hiring setbacks, businesses need to shift their perception and look at job candidates as they would their customers, making sure they leave a positive impression with them at every turn. Here are some ways to elevate your hiring success and make your company more appealing to highly sought-after talent pools in 2015:

Be prepared to inspire candidates – At the end of the day, regardless of the hiring decision, be sure that candidates who apply to your company openings and go through an interview process leave with a favorable view of your organization. If they have a positive experience, they may refer a friend or colleague to the company or they could even become a future customer at some point. Be prepared to sell what’s great about the company and opportunity as candidates now have many options. Be responsive and prepared to move quickly when you identify a great candidate. The old adage of “time kills all deals” is as applicable to recruiting talent as it is to selling new business.

Develop a Sourcing Strategy – A one-size-fits-all strategy doesn’t work when it comes to hiring, and what works for one position or department may not work for others. Mega job boards, LinkedIn and other job specific sites may do the trick for certain positions, but this should only be one part of a multi-pronged strategy. Hiring managers should leverage their professional networks by asking peers in other organizations, board members, and outside service providers for referrals. If you don’t have the time or the dedicated staff to help fill multiple positions, hire a contract recruiter or partner with a recruiting firm that specializes in your industry or the ideal candidate’s discipline. Hiring talent takes time and energy, and you need to be committed to the process to achieve success.

Carefully select your interview team – A hastily executed interview approach with participants who aren’t in alignment will cripple the process.  Make sure everyone involved understands the position you are filling, the type of candidate you are seeking, and knows their role in the interview process. As you assemble the team, make sure that each member is a positive company ambassador and is dedicated to the process no matter how long it takes.  I can’t tell you how many times candidates have backed out of a process because an interviewer made a comment or gave them the impression that they weren’t happy or satisfied themselves. It is also critical that the entire interview team takes the time to look over the candidate’s resume before the interview. This will make the candidate feel like their time is just as important as their interviews.

Interviewing – In addition to understanding the candidate’s employment history and technical skills, ask questions that will reveal a candidate’s soft skills and problem solving capabilities. It is helpful to prepare some role-specific scenarios that challenge the candidate to think on their feet. Each interviewer should leave some time in the interview to answer questions, inspire the candidate about the company and opportunity, especially if they feel the candidate is a good fit. Regroup often with your team during the process and discuss candidates while they are fresh. If you are working with an outside or internal recruiter, prompt and thorough feedback is critical to a successful search. Also, be prepared to move quickly if you find a great fit, as they are never available for long.

Make a competitive offer – Great candidates expect to receive great offers, especially when they are gainfully employed. A weak offer can backfire even if you subsequently raise it, as this could leave a bad taste in the candidate’s mouth and may result in a job turn down. Also, keep in mind that base compensation is only one aspect that candidates will be evaluating. Be sure your benefits and/or incentive plans are competitive with other top employers locally, and if not, be prepared to offer more cash compensation to make up the difference. Always remember, you get what you pay for!

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