So, you've got a problem: The talent that you've determined fit so well into both your organization overall and the designated role specifically has just slipped through the cracks. Now, what?
This happens all the time. Talent-acquisition professionals follow their process and find an "A" player, but before an official offer can be made, the candidate is off to greener pastures. However, take heart: Just because this person moved on doesn’t mean he or she is permanently off the market.
A 2016 LinkedIn study found that fully 90 percent of the 33,000 global professionals surveyed said they wanted to hear about open jobs. In other words, most employees are at least passively looking on a continual basis, always interested in new opportunities.
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So, before you again chase the talent that got away, look at what may be wrong with your process. A June 2016 CareerBuilder study found, unfortunately enough, that only 31 percent of the 1,505 employers surveyed said they had tried applying to one of their company’s open jobs to see what the process was like.
Increase that percentage at your own company. Step into the candidate’s shoes to fully understand his or her experience. This will help guide efforts in improving the recruitment process, to continually attract and hire top talent.
Here are several aspects of the candidate experience that can turn job-seekers off, and some strategies employers can use to both attract more qualified candidates and win back the ones who got away:
1. Stay connected with 'A' players.
Don’t lose contact with the talent that slipped away. The worst thing employers can do is take it personally when a candidate selects a different opportunity. Instead, make it a priority to stay connected and supportive of this person's endeavors.
Be proactive and stay connected through social media channels. Connect via LinkedIn, or send a casual message or email once in a while to check in. Invite these people to job fairs that the company is attending or suggest virtual meetings if their schedule is tight.
Given that the majority of workers want to know about other opportunities, perhaps these people you are in contact with will still be interested in future postings. Keep the connection casual and consistent, but not overly pushy. Remind them that they have a place in the organization whenever they feel ready to reapply. This will make them feel comfortable with reaching out on their own terms, at their own convenience.
2. Maximize your reach.
Is your brand reaching enough people? How is your company marketing open positions? These are crucial questions to ask.
The CareerBuilder study found that 64 percent of the 4,505 workers surveyed said they spent time researching a company after they read a job posting. So, what kind of presence does the organization strive for?
A large online presence is crucial, because 37 percent of those job-seekers will move on to another listing or company if they can’t find the information they want. The internet has changed the way people hunt for work. The culture now values transparency more than ever before.
The study also found that job-seekers surveyed used up to 16 sources in their job search. That’s a large piece of digital real estate to cover!
Invest in building a strong employer-branding strategy that actively engages on social media. By expanding the reach of your company’s employer brand, the talent that got away will stay informed about new openings.
Your company’s career site should share information about your company culture, values, mission and overall vision. Talent wants to see how they align with their potential employers.
2. Create an easy application experience.
The job market has shifted toward being employee centric, which gives job-seekers more flexibility so they can always find another posting. CareerBuilder found that 20 percent of talent surveyed said they wouldn't complete an application that takes 20 minutes or more, and three out of four wanted to know how long the application process would be before they began.
Additionally, a September 2014 study from Jibe found that a poor application experience deterred 25 percent of the 1,000 job-seekers surveyed. That means that from the get-go, a company may be losing one out of every four candidates -- one of whom could be the best person for the job.
Employers must cater to this demand in order to attract and retain people. Make your application process simple and straightforward. Allow applicants to link with social media accounts like LinkedIn for one-click application options. This makes it easy for those candidates who moved on to quickly apply when they see something that sparks their interest.
Mobile optimization is also critical. A November 2015 study from Pew Research found that 94 percent of the 2,001 job seekers surveyed said they had looked for and researched jobs online using their mobile device. If the interface is clunky, job-seekers will swipe left and continue their search elsewhere.
3. Prioritize your responses.
This is one of the biggest pet peeves candidates have -- waiting too long for feedback or not receiving any at all. They feel disrespected when they are left waiting to hear or, worse, when they are completely ignored.
Focus on the candidate here. Reach out and give this person an idea of the time frame to expect, to receive a follow-up. Just as applicants like to know how long their application process will take, they also want to know when they have either advanced in, or been eliminated from, consideration.
Most are probably already waiting to hear from other companies, so when your HR staff recognizes top talent, have them speed up the process so applicants can be reached and interviewed before they're snatched up by someone else.