You likely spend a lot of time trying to excel at customer relationship management—a smart move, considering offering a winning customer experience is one key factor that can help a business stand out in the competitive digital crowd. None of that growth is possible, though, if you don’t have the right team working behind the scenes. Easier said than done, right?

As employee roles evolve and demand grows, so does the pressure on recruiters to find winning candidates. The problem? Good candidates are hard to find. Here’s a look at the talent recruitment reality—and four tips to help you land top talent.

A Dog-Eat-Dog World?

According to recent data from Jobvite, a whopping 95 percent of recruiters said “hiring will be as or more competitive in the coming year,” calling recruiting a “dog-eat-dog world.” This reality as it relates to hiring is especially prevalent in particular industries and regions of the US (see Figure 1).

Why? The numbers vary, but the general consensus is companies are increasing their hiring efforts while decreasing layoffs. Jobvite’s report found a significant 35 percent of recruiters plan to fill 100 job openings this year—yes, 100—a figure up almost ten percent from last year. And the candidates? They’re changing, too, becoming more assertive when it comes to negotiating salary and prioritizing perks like a great company culture and flexible work environment. I don’t know if I’d call it a dog fight, but I can definitely see how the stakes have changed when it comes to recruiting—and retaining—good candidates.

The Talent Recruitment Reality: A Good Candidate is Hard to FindFigure 1. Source: Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2016

Four Tips to Help You Recruit Top Talent

Just because recruiting is competitive doesn’t mean finding winning candidates is impossible—it just means you’ll have to rethink your strategy. Here are four tips to help you recruit top talent:

  1. Leverage technologyHR tech is a powerful tool and can revolutionize the recruitment process. If you’re not using it, chances are good that your competitors are. As I discussed in an earlier post (Read: Winning at Talent Recruitment in the Age of Extreme Competition), optimizing your hiring process with tools like big data and deep learning algorithms can not only save you from sifting through thousands of applicants’ information, but it can also help pinpoint who is most likely to excel, saving time and resources in the process.
  2. Gather reviews. We all know a stellar company culture can attract stellar employees—but only if they know about it. Showcase what makes your company unique by gathering reviews from happy employees, and incorporate that information into your recruitment package, on your website, and maybe even in your social media channels as a selling point, not an afterthought. For even more traction from reviews, consider visiting review sites (like Glassdoor) and seeing what employees are saying about your company and others. If your competitor is doing something employees and job seekers hate, for example, you have a golden opportunity to learn from that and do the opposite.
  3. Be flexible. Sometimes, companies spend an excessive amount of time and energy recruiting for a full-time position, never considering the prospect that a part-time or even independent contractor might be able to meet that same need—and for a fraction of the cost, as these arrangements don’t come with benefits. The use of part-time workers and/or freelance independent contractors, even by enterprise companies, is on the rise and expected to continue. Keep those options as part of your toolkit and be flexible when it comes to filling the needs your company has. A part-time or freelance contractor could easily work into a full-time role, and taking advantage of the gig economy mindset of many talented workers today is great way to fill needs within the organization in an agile way.
  4. Revamp job descriptions. Don’t bury the lead in a job description. Yes, you should still include key information like descriptions for preferred qualifications and tasks, but be sure you also highlight the benefits of working for your company. Successfully filling open positions within the organization today is as much about successfully marketing those positions and the company as it is about anything else. Make sure the copy you use in your open position postings and job descriptions is compelling and paints a good picture for a prospective employee about both the position and the company itself. Make sure your job descriptions don’t focus exclusively on things like what the candidate will do but, instead, why it’s important and why they would enjoy working for the company. What’s in it for them? In addition, make sure your copy utilizes bullets and easy-to-read chunks of text—odds are, your job descriptions are being read by candidates using mobile devices.

What’s Next?

What does the talent recruitment reality look like for you? If it’s as competitive as the data shows, how do you stand out from the crowd? Are you using technology as part of the equation? If so, is it adding the value you expected? If you’re considering integrating technology into your recruitment operations, I’d love to know what you’re considering and why.

Additional Resources on This Topic:

The State of the Job Market [Report]
Do This, Not That. How to Nail Social Recruiting  
Recruit Smarter, Not Harder

This article was first published on WorkConnect Blog.

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