Recruiting has gotten tougher over the past several months. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment is below 5 percent for the first time since 2008. This means that we are essentially at full employment; it is no longer a buyer's market. For that reason, we have started to explain to clients that finding great employees is going to be harder.
While recruiting isn’t an exact science, and there isn’t a specific recipe we can give that will guarantee you hire the perfect person, here are a few tips that will help you in your search.
1. Determine what you are seeking.
This is always the first step. You can’t write an ad before you decide what you need. Focus on behaviors. Often, you can train someone to use your software if he/she is smart and hard-working. So, we say, “Hire behaviors, train skills.” While certain jobs require specific skills and experience, behaviors still make the difference: If the prospective employee is right, he or she will fit well with your company’s culture and with the hiring manager's and customers' personalities.
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2. Write a compelling ad.
Be different. Posting an ad that looks and feels like everyone else’s won’t get you noticed. You need to stand out from the crowd. Most ads include a list of job responsibilities and qualifications or a few lines about the company. You should include these, but give the prospective candidate more. "People don’t apply for jobs, they apply for companies. So let them know why you’re so awesome," James Clift recommends in his blog, SmartRecruiters.
So, write about your company and the things that make it special. Tell readers how your company got started and about your great team. As long as you are not paying by the column inch, be extravagant. At this point, it should be about selling yourself, your company and this specific position. Tell candidates why they should "buy."
3. List your compensation level.
We believe you should list compensation if possible. Susan Heathfield in The Balance, argues that this is especially important if you're expecting the applicant to fill out an on-line application. Writing "TBD" (to be determined) in the compensation spot doesn’t help applicants decide if the job is at the appropriate career level for them.
If your job pays between $35,000 and $40,000, advertise the low end. Candidates who currently make $60,000 for a similar title won’t apply and waste your time. And that’s okay, because you can’t afford to pay them what they need and believe they're worth, anyway. If you have other incentives or perks, be sure to list those.
4. Post in multiple places.
We find that some of our best candidates come from Indeed, Craigslist and college career sites. Indeed is a pay-per-click site where you set the budget. We find that with the right ad, we average between 25 and 50 candidates for each $150 spent -- not too bad. Craiglist is free or charges a nominal cost depending on the city. Most college career sites are free. The process is mostly copy/paste and takes only a few minutes per site once you’re registered.
Related: How to Hire Like a Pro
5. Post at the right time.
First, let’s talk about time of year. We have found that recruiting new college graduates before they have graduated is difficult. You might think that college seniors would be job-hunting in the spring before graduation. Unfortunately, our experience tells us they are focused on graduating instead. We have had better luck in June after the glow of graduation has dimmed and loan payments are on the horizon. Similarly, if you try to hire between Thanksgiving and the New Year you're likely to have poor results.
As to the day and time, unlike other advertisers, we have had our best results posting on Fridays, about lunchtime. You catch people who already have jobs but are looking for their next position, after they leave work on Friday, on the weekend and early Monday before they return to their jobs.
We find that when you have a limited budget and are using pay-per-click sites like Indeed, you can run out of funds in just a few days, and sometimes hours. Make sure you are choosing your times carefully.
6. Organize your applicants.
You can quickly become overwhelmed as the resumes arrive in your email. Create email subdirectories for the job. Move the emails from your inbox to the subdirectory as they arrive.
7. Screen the applicants.
Schedule a time to review resumes approximately three to five days after you've posted. You should have a pile of them by now in your email folder. Our technique is to create three more subdirectories under the job folder titled: "Yes, No and Maybe." We move each resume after reading it to the appropriate folder. Creating and using folders will eliminate a lot of redundancy. You won’t be searching for those great candidates. They will be in the “Yes” folder.
Related: The Key to Hiring the Best Employees
Solid recruitment is essential to great hiring. You can’t hire the perfect candidate if they don’t apply. Use the tips above to increase the number and quality of your applicants.