New Year, New Hires: How to Up Your Hiring Game in 2014

Written by Val Matta

As the New Year arrives, you know what that means — it’s time to start fresh, wipe the slate, and solidify your talent acquisition strategy..

OK, that may not be the first thing on your mind as you count down to 2014. But this quarter is when most companies make major decisions about hiring — from allocating budgets and determining recruiting priorities, to identifying the best sourcing methods for desired new talent. If you want to refine your roadmap, the time is now.

Here are 5 recommendations for success in 2014:

1) Enhance communication with candidates

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — stronger communications makes the difference between attracting OK candidates and amazing candidates. Acknowledgment and ongoing feedback, as well as overall enthusiasm and knowledge of the role are all ways to pique a candidate’s interest. Plus, with 82% of prospective hires expecting to hear back from a hiring manager in some shape or form, it’s in your best interest to increase communication flow and frequency.

Tip: If you can’t connect with every applicant directly, automated email responses or social media posts are efficient ways to share status updates.

2) Offer better understanding of the job

Of course, it’s essential to provide detailed job descriptions. But prospective employees also want to know how well their values and work style fit with your company. So, whether you source candidates at career fairs or through word-of-mouth, plan to provide deeper insight into your organization. For example, it’s useful to provide information that focuses on company culture and work environment, professional development opportunities, flexible schedule options, dress code and team dynamics.

Tip: Add meaningful insight to the information on your company’s career site by including employee testimonials and “slice-of-worklife” videos.

3) Create compelling job descriptions

Think of a job descriptions as your one shot to reach the right candidate. It’s almost like a reverse interview: You state your case, specify the type of talent you need, and highlight important elements that make your organization more attractive than the next guy. This isn’t just common sense. It’s actually what candidates need to make informed choices. In a recent survey, 43% of professionals said they have discovered during an interview that they didn’t match the requirements for a position that was advertised. That’s too late in the process.

Tip: Go beyond job duties and include as much information as possible in your job description. This includes salary information, benefits, and even a detailed snapshot of a typical work day..

4) Move towards mobile

Studies show that at least half of job seekers with mobile devices spend three or more hours a week using those tools to look for a job. In addition, 65% of workers who search for jobs via mobile devices will leave a website if it is not mobile-optimized, and 40% walk away with a more negative opinion of that company. Even if you don’t have a comprehensive mobile hiring strategy, making some progress — through a career site or simply the application process — can open your recruiting reach to a much broader universe of candidates.

Tip: When developing a mobile career site and application process, make sure older job postings are also mobile-compatible. 40% of employers say some jobs stay open four months or longer. Mobile-friendly job descriptions can help you reach more qualified prospects for hard-to-fill positions by tapping a broader talent pool.

5) Go where candidates are hiding

If it was hard to find the right hires in 2013, ask yourself if you’re looking in the right places. While traditional sourcing methods are a useful, they may not uncover the best prospects for your needs. To identify where your ideal candidates are hiding, consider the blogs they read, conferences they attend, and niche job boards they visit.

Tip: Social media is a great way to reach potential hires. Use methods such as industry-specific hashtags on Twitter. Or try new visual platforms like Instagram.

What will it take to jumpstart your 2014 recruitment strategy, so you can find the best candidate matches for your organization’s needs? What issues and opportunities do you see ahead for hiring in 2014 and beyond? Share your ideas in the comments area.

Val Matta(About the Author: Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for HR professionals and career seekers that gives job seekers complete control over their search. Val is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, and has had her writing featured at Recruiter.com, CareerBuilderMashable, USA Today College Series and in other outlets. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.)

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