4 Steps for Fueling Talent Growth When You’re Facing Labor Shortages

Many companies have faced labor shortages. Yet, even in competitive markets, it’s possible to recruit stellar candidates. Here’s a closer look at four strategies that companies can use to find top talent in tight markets.

Whether they need developers to code in an in-demand computer language, or sales professionals who understand the nuances of doing business in a niche space, many businesses struggle at some time with a labor shortage. Yet these critical positions play a vital role in moving your business forward. There are several strategies companies can take to fuel talent growth when highly qualified candidates are scarce. Here is a closer look at tactics your company can employ when you’re having a hard time recruiting the best hires.

 

Create a Culture of Talent Development
Filling critical positions doesn’t just begin with the recruiting process. Instead, it requires cultivating a culture of talent development that impacts every level of the organization from hiring to succession planning. A culture of talent development can help address labor shortages in three ways. First, incoming candidates are drawn to your company as a result of the available training and advancement opportunities. Second, existing talent can be cultivated for critical jobs through training, coaching, and stretch assignments. Finally, satisfied workers are more likely to make high-quality referrals from their own professional networks. Organizations that make it easy for talent to flourish may be better able to recruit top performers.

 

Optimize the Recruiting Process and Candidate Experience
In high demand fields, making a great first impression with candidates is essential. One of the best ways to do this is to focus on offering a streamlined recruiting process that prioritizes the candidate experience. How easy is it for prospective candidates to learn more about your company and available jobs? Can they apply online with ease, even if they’re on a mobile device? Do your communications systems, interview timetables, and candidate feedback loops support a great candidate experience? Eliminate possible barriers to getting qualified candidates to apply, and structure a great experience. Candidates often determine whether to accept an offer or not based on their interactions with your company during the recruiting process.

 

Leverage an Applicant Tracking System
Using one of the latest applicant tracking systems can help improve both technological execution and internal processes. An applicant tracking system helps companies in numerous ways. It’s easier to post jobs and to widely promote them through job boards, email newsletters, and social media platforms. Screening questions help you automatically filter out unqualified applicants and enable your recruiting team to immediately contact strong candidates to start the process. Centralized candidate data management keeps all internal stakeholders informed, and allows your company to be proactive when communicating with potential employees.

 

Tap Into New Sources of Talent
If your company is struggling to find qualified candidates that you’re interested in hiring, it’s time to look at how you’re sourcing your applicants. For example, if college recruiting plays an important role in the process, perhaps it’s time to expand the colleges where you recruit and focus on additional schools. If posting jobs alone isn’t working, consider leveraging social media or strategically networking with industry organizations to get opportunities in front of a wider audience. Choosing candidates from a broader base of prospective talent can infuse new life into your recruiting efforts.

Even in fields facing talent shortages, it’s possible to find great candidates. Building an agile recruiting process using the right applicant tracking system, prioritizing the candidate experience, and finding ways to expand your recruiting pool are all steps in the right direction.

For more information on how to use an applicant tracking system to overcome labor shortages, please download our talent communities whitepaper.

5 Sessions to Look Forward to at #SHRM15

With just a couple days until the SHRM 2015 Annual Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas, I am planning out my top sessions to attend. This year, I am really looking forward to:

“Welcome to Our Company, Now Get to Work!” which will cover how your onboarding process can strengthen the relationship between your new hires and your organization.

“Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Our Unintentional Blind Spots” will explore the study of unconscious bias. This session will reveal new research that challenges HR to rethink some of the strategies for organizational diversity, cultural competency, and dimensions of power.

“Managing the Digital Workforce: Integrating Millennials into Organizations for Long-Term Success” with Amy Robison of Interchange Group. This session boasts that you will learn how to effectively and efficiently integrate Millennials to increase multigenerational engagement, digital talent retention and competitive advantage.

The next day, Robison is presenting “What Women Want: Recruiting, Developing and Keeping 21st Century Women Leadersanother can’t miss session.

Last but not least,”Recruiting ROCKS! Talent Acquisition: Taking it Up a Notch“where Jeremy Eskenazi will present ideas on how to evolve your recruiting and staffing strategy.

 

When I’m not attending sessions, I’ll be in the Paychex booth 1022.  Please stop by to compare notes and talk shop!

 

The Risks of a Manual Hiring Process

Manually processing and maintaining employment applications can be more costly than the annual fee of an applicant tracking system. A manual process can have hidden costs that can add up to wasted time, money, and fees.

Processing Delays
Manually accepting employment applications consists of accepting applications, filing them, passing them onto hiring managers, filing them, passing them back to managers, filing them, adding notes, filing them; you get the idea. The potential for processing delays is great. Especially if you have several locations and it involves sending information via interoffice mail or faxing.

Data Entry Fees
How much time are you spending manually adding applicants into your payroll and/or HRIS system? Assuming you hire 50 employees a year and you have $20 of processing labor costs, you could be spending $1,000 just to add your new employees into a system.

Missing Information
Keeping manual documents requires constant shuffling of papers. All of this paper shuffling can turn into delays when the resume or application sits on the hiring manager’s desk or gets misplaced. The costs of missing key documentation is not only frustrating, but it could be costly.

Rehiring Fired Employees
Have you ever spent countless hours working with a candidate only to find out that they were a previous employee that was fired? I have. Let me tell you that it is not a good feeling, and it is likely to end poorly.

Is Your Recruiting Process Helping You Attract Top New Talent?

Recruiting new talent for your organization is a vital function for any growing company. Attracting new talent doesn’t just help ensure that key positions are filled and your staff is maximizing productivity. It’s also a means for gaining a fresh perspective and infusing new energy and insights into your workplace. But the standard recruiting practices of posting a job and vetting resumes may not be enough to draw in star performers. Leveraging the latest technology and finding unique ways to engage prospective applicants can help attract top candidates. Here’s a closer look at several strategies that can help you attract new talent.

Streamline Your Recruiting Process with Technology
Many candidates are looking for companies that have a streamlined recruiting process designed with applicant ease in mind. A good process not only helps attract the best candidates, but it feeds into a great candidate experience. Vetting resumes, scheduling interviews, managing feedback loops, and prioritizing communication become less time intensive. One important aspect of this process is optimizing for mobile technology. Many candidates want to be able to review company information, look at job descriptions, and apply from smartphones and tablets. Features such as LinkedIn integration can also help, by allowing candidates to apply in fewer steps. Evaluate your recruiting process for inefficiencies, and look for gaps where a high quality enterprise-grade applicant tracking system can help.

Leverage Social Media and Specialized Job Boards
Social media channels can help you reach new candidate streams, beyond the major job boards or your own company’s career site. Find ways to promote your company’s open requisitions on professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn. Encourage your recruiters to use social media to network with prospective applicants, and to share job opportunities with targeted industry groups. Another strategy to reach deeper into candidate pools in specific fields is to look for industry-oriented job boards. Professional associations can be a good source of candidates with these factors in mind.

Prioritize Training and Development
Great talent is on the lookout for companies that prioritize training and development. Training and development can run the gamut from strong internal training programs, management development tracks, and a willingness to sponsor appropriate outside training for key staff. Candidates are seeking companies willing to invest in their careers and provide a clear growth trajectory, insomuch as possible, is very attractive.

Emphasize Benefits and Work-Life Balance
Compensation is important when candidates are considering your company. But being known as a business that offers great benefits or prioritizes work-life balance can also help attract new talent. Consider featuring top-level information about your benefits plans on your company’s careers page, and be sure to have details that you provide to applicants before they’re considering a job offer. If you offer work-life balance benefits such as onsite daycare, flexible schedules, or the ability to work remotely, promote these as they can be major selling points.

Attracting new talent to your company has numerous benefits throughout the organization. By developing a streamlined process, using a quality applicant tracking system, and reaching out to candidates through social media and specialized job boards, your company will be well on the way to attracting star performers.

Are Recruiting Biases Causing You to Overlook the Best Candidates?

A recruiting bias can impact the quality and variety of new hires that you bring into your company. Recruiting biases are thought patterns, conscious or subconscious, that cause you to make judgments about a candidate — positive or negative — without objectively evaluating all the facts. A wide range of potential biases exist. Here’s a closer look at some of the more common ones and how they can impact your overall recruiting process quality.

Resume Errors
Many HR professionals argue that the resume alone is a terrible tool to base the entire recruiting process on. As a tool to determine if a candidate meets the minimum qualifications for a particular job, a resume can be helpful. But there are many ways that the resume itself can subconsciously bias recruiters or interviewers against a candidate.

One of the most common is a resume error. Errors can be introduced into a resume in the form of misspellings, grammatical mistakes, or even common usage errors. When a recruiter notices an error like this, it’s easy to jump to conclusions about a candidate’s attention to detail, ability to communicate effectively, or educational background. Immediately dismissing any candidate because of a resume error may cause you to overlook a strong contributor.

College-Related Biases
Many companies have a strong history of recruiting from specific schools. Perhaps they’ve had good luck identifying strong workers from specific programs and trust the quality of those educational institutions’ graduates. Other biases regarding colleges occur when a recruiter or hiring manager prioritizes their own alma mater or when interviewers are awed by seeing distinguished colleges such as Harvard, Stanford, or MIT. As a result, their recruiting may be biased toward those schools. Yet, by opening up your recruiting to other institutions, they may get a higher quality or greater diversity in candidates.

Branded Company Experience
For some companies, there’s an assumed bias that if an applicant has work experience at a Fortune 500 company, they’re a great candidate. Branded company experience can signal several things, including deep industry experience, high performance, and investments in training and education by the previous employer. But it may also mean that a specific candidate is used to working within the support structures of very large companies and may struggle at smaller businesses or those with a more entrepreneurial culture. Candidates that have worked at smaller or medium-sized companies may have had the opportunity to take on more responsibility, advance faster in their careers, or to develop a deeper level of specialized knowledge.

Overcoming Recruiting Biases
There are many ways to overcome recruiting biases. The first is to have a well-defined recruiting process that’s supported by a modern applicant-tracking system and an up-to-date job description. The second is using technology strategically. Finally, use tools within the applicant-tracking system, such as job board postings and social media promotion, to expand the field of candidates that you’re attracting. Being aware of potential biases; addressing them systematically can help ensure predispositions aren’t getting in the way of objective hiring of top qualified candidates.

The Importance of Saving Often

How often do you start something and then get distracted? Maybe you leave an email in your draft folder for days, or you have countless windows of Internet Explorer open to remind you of various tasks that you need to complete. For applicants, they might leave during the online application process to look up dates, fix a resume, or to find their references’ contact information. Regardless of the reason, it is important to allow them to return to the online application process at their leisure.

According to our analytics, last month, myStaffingPro applicant tracking system had 1.9M applicants use the system. Of these, 35% returned to the online application process.

5.9% of applicants returned to the online application more than 9 times.

In addition to allowing applicants to return, it is essential to save their responses and allow them to continue to complete the application. Applicant tracking systems can typically be broken up into two online application process types. Those that:

  1. Display the entire application process on one page.
  2. Separate the process into small sections.

With a single page design, the online application often turns into a LONG data entry form with just one save button at the bottom. What happens if the applicant steps away from the computer? More often than not, the candidate will lose all of the information that they entered and will have to start from scratch. Imagine asking 35% of your applicants to retype information just because they did not complete it the first time!

The alternative is a process that is broken up into smaller sections. This method saves the applicants’ responses as they progress through the online application process and allows them to leave and return at any time.

Which process would you rather use?

How to Improve Application Rates

Over 20% of online applications remain incomplete. In an increasingly competitive employment marketplace, it is important to make the online application process as easy as possible, while gathering all of the information needed to make a decision. Here are five suggestions to improve application completion rates:

  1. Reduce the number of clicks that it takes to apply. If possible, add a link to your Careers search screen to the main navigation of your site.
  2. Create a tiered application process that separates the screenings into a series of phases. Rather than ask everyone everything, break apart the prescreening process so that you collect data as you need it.
  3. Accept applications from multiple devices and browsers. Meaning, don’t limit your applicants to applying with Internet Explorer from a computer. Let them choose!
  4. Allow applicants to save and return to the online application process at any time.
  5. Send an email reminder to invite incomplete applicants to return to the online application process.

Looking for an applicant tracking system that masters the candidate experience? Contact us for a free demonstration of myStaffingPro.

Five Ways to Keep in Contact with Candidates

Candidates can be a squirrely bunch. They have jobs that they are trying to maintain and/or they are looking at several opportunities at once. Sometimes getting ahold of them can be a feat. Here are five tips to keep in contact with candidates:

  1. Connect with them on LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s InMail boasts that you can get a message to any of the 300 million people on LinkedIn. Try it and see if it works for you!
  2. Converse with them through their preferred method of communication. Do they like to use the phone, email, text, or video chat? Think outside the box and utilize a diverse toolset to get in front of them and keep in contact.
  3. Ask for a secondary phone number or email. I don’t know about you, but there are several different ways to get ahold of me. Depending on the time of day, some are more successful than others. Ask the candidate for several methods of contact and the best time to get ahold of them. (Bonus points if your applicant tracking system let’s you keep track of all these methods of communication.)
  4. When in doubt, set an appointment! Schedule a time to talk that is convenient for both of you.
  5. Be a resource of information. Candidates are often juggling several responsibilities. Make them want to hear from you by providing key information and details that will keep them engaged and informed.

Lose the Paper: 5 Reasons to Use an Applicant Tracking Software System

An applicant tracking system can transform your recruiting process. If you’re still managing your hiring process with printed resumes, email trails, and shared spreadsheets, you’re missing out on some of the major advantages of the latest human resources technological developments. From more efficient candidate screening and sourcing to more robust data reporting, here’s a closer look at five reasons you should start using an applicant tracking system today.

Better Candidate Experience
Many candidates expect to have the ability to review job postings online, learn more about your company, and submit their resume and cover letter via your website. Companies that aren’t offering these capabilities may be damaging their brands, especially if they’re recruiting technical talent, millennials, or executives who rely on multiple devices while on the go. An applicant tracking system enables you to have a professional, streamlined resume submission process that offers a positive candidate experience, while also making it easier to process resumes on the backend.

The Ability to Pre-Screen Candidates
Depending on what job you’re recruiting for, you may receive dozens or even hundreds of applicants. Reading and vetting every cover letter, resume, and portfolio to develop a pool of qualified candidates can be a daunting task. An applicant tracking system offers companies the opportunity to use pre-screening questions. For example, are you hiring for a job that requires a specific skill set? With pre-screening questions, you can identify which candidates meet the most important qualifications and narrow down the applications automatically.

Eased Workload for HR Staff
Many HR teams are leaner than ever before. Often fewer staff are managing a wider range of responsibilities. It’s important to have the right tools in place to allow your HR staff and recruiters to focus on their most vital tasks, whether that is recruiting star performers to your team, or building positive employee relations. Human resources is an administratively intensive field. Applicant tracking systems may save you time and money by eliminating duplicative administrative work.

Streamlined Review Process
When all the information about a candidate is available in a single interface, it’s easier for HR managers, recruiters, and hiring managers to review candidate submissions. Applicant tracking systems typically display details, such as interview notes from staff or system updates keeping track of where a candidate is in the interview process. Tracking systems also enable you to automate and track correspondence, ranging from resume acknowledgments to rejection letters.

Integrate Background Checks with Recruiting Information
Many companies are increasingly relying on outside services to help them make good hires. Examples of these services include detailed background screens, credit checks, skills assessments testing, reference verification, and drug testing. Applicant tracking systems offer the capacity to integrate these services and the results. The ability to integrate all this information allows companies to access the candidate data in one location, and may allow for a simpler onboarding process.

Candidate First Impression

As recruiters, the first impression of a candidate is often limited to the information in the applicant tracking system. Some candidates take their time and enter as many details as possible, while others breeze through providing just the absolute minimum. Others pepper their responses with so many throwaway phrases that nothing stands out. For example, how many times have you read “proven track record” or “implemented changes?”

To help applicants create a better first impression, applicant tracking systems, like myStaffingPro, are now offering video cover letters. Video cover letters allow candidates to submit a recorded letter of introduction. Through video, they can explain how they learned about the position and what their “proven track record” really is. This functionality allows candidates to create a personalized message that provides an overview of their skills and the opportunity to use their presentation to create a lasting impression.

myStaffingPro offers this functionality free to all of our standard and premium customers. For more information about video cover letters, please contact us.