I’ve noticed a subtle shift over the last year or two. More and more companies seem to be making it a priority to improve their quality of hire. Rather than focusing on whether they’re able to make enough hires, there’s a growing concern with making the right hires. So in this post I’ve reached out to some recruiting experts for ideas on how to improve your hiring effectiveness.
The Key Components of Hiring Effectiveness
The perfect hire must surely be someone who can excel in the role but who will also remain with the company for many years to come? Knowing who to hire and how to increase the odds of them staying with the company must therefore be key elements in your hiring effectiveness. But there’s also the issue of speed. Making the perfect hire – but taking a year to do so – is clearly not nearly as effective as doing so within 4-6 weeks.
So to be effective at hiring, we need to get smarter at specifying what our ideal hire looks like. We then need to get more effective at approaching and winning over our ideal hires. All whilst doing the things that maximize the odds of each candidate choosing to stay with our company for the long haul. In looking at each of these components, I’ve invited experts from the recruiting field to pitch in with their own observations.
Knowing Who To Hire
Success all begins with knowing the profile of person to hire. In bygone days this would have been a matter of gut instinct. Key stakeholders each adding to the wish-list for the ideal candidate and recruiters then tasked with going out to hire this mythical employee.
In this era of big data, gut instinct can increasingly be improved upon with hard facts. Gavin Speirs, Founder of hiring quality platform Talenytics, explains it thus:
“Employers now have at their fingertips the data to prove who their most successful hires have been. They can prove and disprove which candidate criteria are key to a successful hire – often confounding the preconceptions of decision makers. This allows recruitment teams to focus on creating a shortlist of people who match this smart candidate brief – and empowers the business to hold recruiters accountable for subsequent performance.”
Being an employer candidates aspire to join
Knowing who to hire is all well and good, but those candidates have to also want to join your company. Are you an employer of choice? Would top talent aspire to being approached about a position with your company? This is fortunately something that you have far more levers to influence in today’s hiring market. Maren Hogan, CEO of Red Branch Media, highlights some of these and the broader context of the two-way market recruiters must master:
“Candidates today are influenced in so many ways. Firstly, there’s content marketing and your social media presence. Has their impression of your employer brand been boosted by your content marketing, through insights and stories they’ve read online? Has it been impacted by the ways they’ve seen you interacting with on social media? Secondly there’s peer review, most commonly associated with Glassdoor. What your past and current employees say about you online – and how you interact with those people and influence those remarks – has a lasting impact on how candidates perceive you as an employer of choice.
Last up is employee endorsement. Have you found a way to leverage your existing staff and have them enthusiastically share updates and opportunities about your company? The more people see your company mentioned in posts from people they know and trust, the more your appeal is enhanced. Fortunately, all three of these things you can positively impact through the right proactive approaches.”
Increasing Your Candidate Reach By Strengthening Your Candidate Sourcing Abilities
Recruiters today have far more options for getting their opportunities in front of the right candidates. Job search engines like Adzuna and Indeed mean the reach of your vacancies is far wider than just the audience of the job board you post to. Social media advertising opens the door to you putting your vacancies in front of not just active candidates, but passive candidates too.
Most notably, though, companies are increasingly seeking to find and approach their ideal hires directly – rather than waiting for adverts to pull in the desired response. Andrew Greenberg, Founder of ContractRecruiter, explains how this has altered the skillsets that in-house recruitment teams need:
“The last years have seen two skills become increasingly valued within corporate recruiting teams. The first encompasses candidate sourcing in its broadest sense. Not just being able to research a niche candidate market, but being at the cutting edge of using all the latest tools and chrome extensions to track down those hard to find candidates and their contact details. Linked to this is the second skill of approaching and engaging candidates. Finding the right candidates is only half of the battle; succeeding in starting a conversation with them and having that progress on to a formal application is at least as difficult a skill to master. We find corporate recruiting teams turning to us precisely because there’s a shortage of these skills in the market.”
Winning Over Your New Hire
A smooth and coherent interviewing and assessment process is of course essential in converting your preferred shortlist candidates into actual hires. That as a topic would merit a blog post all on its own (here’s some recommended reading on the subject if you need it). But what about once you’ve made your offer and the candidate has accepted? Is that job done?
Absolutely not! From the interviewing process onwards, your new hire is forming impressions about your company and whether they see this as a long term career path or not. If one key element of hiring effectiveness is hiring candidates who stay, then clearly we need to improve our interviewing and onboarding effectiveness too. Dave Millner, Partner at IBM Smarter Workforce, stresses the importance of this:
“It is becoming very apparent that the employee experience will be a key differentiator for organizations when it comes to attracting and retaining their employees. Those that get it right will be aligning the candidates’ hiring experience into the working environment from day one. Of course this is easy to say and much harder to deliver upon.
It’s key that the business has realistic expectations for the new employee in their new role – and that the new hire feels those expectations are both relevant and exciting whilst ensuring that “over promising” doesn’t occur. Winning over your new hire happens before they join, but unless you reinforce that through their onboarding and initial line manager experience all your hard work will be at risk. Keep in mind that the average retention of employees in organizations is now less than 3 years! Hiring effectiveness today is not just about filling a job but about setting up the new employee to be successful in that job.”
Hopefully in your business you’re also now switching your focus from whether you’re able to make enough hires, to whether you’re making the right hires. If you’ve any first-hand experiences of doing this that you’d like to share, please do add via the comments section below.