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5 Tips to Recruit Talent in a Tight Labor Market

Published almost 2 years ago • 4 min read

As the Great Resignation continues to affect companies across all industries, HR leaders face the daunting task of filling an ever-growing number of vacant roles. A new survey from isolved, an HCM software and services company, reveals that 56% of HR leaders say that recruiting talent was more difficult last year, and 48% expect recruiting to be ever more difficult this year.

Of course, transforming your employee experience is critical if your business wants to attract and retain top talent. Today’s workers are demanding better salaries and benefits, they expect their employer to support their holistic well-being, and they want to work for a company that aligns itself with broader societal and environmental goals.

But what if your organization is getting all of these things right, yet you’re still struggling to hire workers? Then it might be time to take a closer look at your recruitment practices, especially in today’s employee-driven job market. There’s no question that workers are in the driver’s seat right now — as of December of last year, there were about 4.6 million more job openings than workers.

Add to this the fact that most employers are recruiting for remote roles, which means they’re competing with a much larger number of companies for the same talent, and it’s apparent why so many are struggling to fill their vacancies.

The good news is that some simple tweaks to your company’s recruitment practices can go a long way toward attracting talent — and not just any talent, but the right talent for your business and your culture. Let’s take a look at 5 best practices that can bolster your recruitment efforts and help your organization overcome the Great Resignation.

1. Showcase the benefits that people want the most

Understanding what job applicants are looking for can be critical when refining recruitment initiatives. For example, isolved’s study found that 52% of HR leaders say their organization needs to improve its health insurance offering to keep up with the market. This aligns with my company’s own research with One Medical, which discovered that 65% of employees would give up at least one benefit or perk — including flexible hours, money, and PTO — in exchange for a best-in-class healthcare offering.

Companies should also showcase flexible and remote work options in their job descriptions, as these arrangements are highly desired among today’s employees. In fact, 77% of people of say they want to work remotely at least part of the time after the pandemic. Other offerings that are important for workers include family-friendly benefits (like childcare support and parental leave), learning and development benefits, and health and wellness perks.

2. Focus on selling your employee experience

The employee experience includes all aspects of an individual’s journey with an employer, and it’s a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to attracting talent. Nearly 4 out of 10 HR leaders say that improving the employee experience is a top priority for them because they want to boost recruitment.

However, just 31% noted that their marketing teams are involved to showcase a positive employee experience for recruitment. So the question is: why bother to improve your employee experience if you aren’t communicating about it effectively? As you think about how to weave more of your unique business story into your job descriptions, here are two key questions to consider:

  • What would your current employees say is the best part of their work experience? Job candidates trust employees 3 times more than employers to provide information on what it’s like to work at a company — so amplify your workforce’s voice and perspectives whenever possible.
  • What aspects of your employee experience are unique to your company? It’s hard to stand out in today’s crowded job market, but focusing on what’s special about your business is a great place to start. Whether it’s a strong imperative around employee development or a company-wide culture that prioritizes work-life balance, be sure to highlight where your company rises above the crowd.

3. Get your employees involved

isolved’s research revealed that the most valuable recruiting tool for HR leaders is employee referrals. This makes sense when you consider that referrals yield stronger job candidates who are more likely to stay with their employer. In fact, referred candidates are four times more likely to be hired, and 45% stay with an employer for longer than four years (compared to employees hired from a job board).

Despite this positive return on investment, 23% of employers don’t offer referral incentives to their workforce. If you’re one of these companies, remember that these incentives don’t have to be costly. While some employers do provide cash bonuses (49%) or extra PTO (34%), company-wide recognition can also encourage employees to spread the word. Or you can get more creative by gamifying your referral process or offering unique incentives like a charity donation, a cool tech gadget, or a spa day.

4. Reach job candidates where they’re searching

Although employee referrals are the top recruiting tool, employee review sites and social media can also play a significant role — especially for younger applicants. For example, 86% of job seekers research company reviews and ratings when deciding whether to apply for a job. And 68% of Millennials (versus 48% of Boomers) say they visit an employer's social media properties specifically to evaluate the employer’s brand.

You’ll want to keep these various properties in mind, especially since about 70% of the global workforce are passive job candidates — people who aren’t actively looking for work, but are open to new jobs. These individuals are almost certainly scanning LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for interesting opportunities, so it’s a good idea to keep your job- and brand-related content flowing on these platforms.

5. Reevaluate your requirements

As I’ve previously discussed, some employers are dropping their degree requirements in a move to widen their talent pool and diversify their workforce. Byron Auguste, who served as deputy director of the National Economic Council in the Obama administration, emphasizes that “If you arbitrarily say that a job needs to have a bachelor's degree, you are screening out over 70% of African-Americans, […] 80% of Latino-Latina workers, and […] 80% of rural Americans of all races."

Of course, it won’t be possible for all jobs to eliminate these requirements. But if your company can make this leap, then you’ll want to focus instead of the specific skills and character traits needed for the role you’re hiring for. You may also want to consider requiring fewer years of experience, or you could offer on-the-job training to the right candidate to fill in any gaps in their skillset.

Thanks for reading – be sure to join the conversation on LinkedIn and share any helpful recruiting tips that your organization has put into practice!

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