As the disrupted world of work evolves, so do the challenges and opportunities for recruiters. We explore the top 7 recruitment strategies - from employer branding to AI and data-driven decision making - to help you attract and hire the best talent in 2024.
The challenges for recruiters and HR teams over the last four years have been immense. The Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath, the almost overnight switch to remote working, workplace disruption, global instability, talent shortages, The Great Resignation, balancing hybrid working with business outcomes, and the explosion of AI technology have tested even the most experienced human resources specialists.
And HR departments themselves, especially those in the tech sector, have been hard hit since the spring of 2022, with lots of layoffs further stretching the teams. As a result of high recruiter unemployment, these teams may be short-handed, and unable to take on more responsibility.
This is where recruitment strategies need to help people work smarter, not harder. The key to staying competitive in talent acquisition and recruitment is understanding the important new trends and where HR technology slots in to be friend, not foe.
1. Get your employer branding right
Employer brand has historically been seen as a ‘nice to have’, but is now moving into the ‘must have’ space - highlighting how recruiters need to be employer brand focused, even if they don’t have an employer brand team.
Employer branding is how a company markets itself to both internal and potential employees. If you were to ask employees what it’s like to work for a company, they’re unlikely to talk about the products, goods and services – instead they’ll highlight management, conditions, culture, and values.
What if you could capture all the above in a single, comprehensive document to present to job seekers that says, ‘what can we offer you as an employee?’ You can. It’s called an EVP (employer value proposition) and it’s your shop window to show that you’re a desirable employer.
An EVP outlines:
- What the people are like
- Organization’s prestige
- What the work is like
- The rewards
The very best EVPs focus on the ‘Give and Get’ concept: while they outline what the organization offers, they’re brutally honest about what employees are expected to do in return. This ‘warts and all’ transparency naturally sorts applicants by attracting the right, passionate, resilient candidates who embrace challenge, and putting off casual applicants who might be a fit for the job, but who might find a mismatch between their expectations and what the company provides. When a company aligns great employer branding with an enviable EVP, it’s a recipe for attracting and retaining top talent.
2. Go all out with recruitment marketing
While employer branding and your EVP defines who you are as an organization, what makes you different and the value you can give candidates in return for their commitment and hard work, recruitment marketing is how you get that message out there.
It’s a marketing process that begins before candidates even apply for a job: using specific campaigns to attract and nurture talented people so that they apply for specific jobs in specific locations as they become open.
There’s a trifecta of stages in the recruitment marketing process:
- Awareness: moving from “I haven’t heard of this brand” to “this brand seems interesting”
- Interest: then moving from “this brand seems interesting” to “I might apply for a job there”
- Consideration: finally, moving from “I might apply for a job there” to “I have applied for a job there”
And some of the ways to get your recruitment marketing rolling include:
Attractive job ads
Bright, bold design, screaming your brand and littered with snappy, search-optimized copy will ensure your ads get found in searches, and that they catch the eye and pique interest.
Great content that informs, educates and entertains, offering more than advertising, will bring your brand to life. Ideally create your own content, or use materials that are already circulating in the organization to publish blogs, articles and listicles that add value for readers.
Social media campaigns
Nearly everyone’s scrolling through the likes of TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, Threads, X, Facebook, and Snapchat, so it follows that social media is a powerful recruitment marketing tool. But your postings have to be engaging and authentic, catching the trends and memes of the moment, not boring corporate job ads.
Build multi-purpose content and then activate it everywhere you can! Identify the channels and types of content you can produce, then ensure each piece of content you create can be used in all of those spaces in some way. Niche job boards, popular job fairs, your careers page, college recruiting. You’ll maximize your inputs and create a seamless brand look and feel.
3. Create the best candidate experience
Today’s candidate that you turn down may be tomorrow’s candidate, or maybe tomorrow’s client, so it pays to treasure every candidate, successful or not, and keep that positive connection going.
Candidate experience is the sum of all the interactions a candidate has with you as a potential employer, across the whole recruitment cycle, from job ad to interview to hire (or not) and beyond. It’s crucial that you manage every candidate well. For those who join your company, it sets the tone for their employee experience – how engaged they’ll be and how well they’ll perform. For those who are not successful, you’ll leave a good impression that may make them want to reapply and recommend you to other people.
There are three areas where you can make a real impact on your candidates’ experience:
- Application process
All too often, the application process can be long-winded and clunky. For example, you have candidates’ resumes – they don’t need to keep retyping all their information into open text boxes over and over again. Similarly, you don’t need to have the same briefing call in person with every candidate before their interview – consider sending a pre-recorded video with all the necessary information, then giving candidates space to digest it before a follow up. Focus on efficient hiring and streamlining decision-making at critical milestones along the candidate journey.
One of the most dispiriting things for prospective candidates about job applications is spending several hours of their lives filling in application forms, crafting covering letters, maybe attending interviews – and then hearing nothing. And the chances are the candidates won’t have a good word to say about the brands that couldn’t be bothered to contact them.
Communicating well and often with candidates instantly sets you apart as a good employer. And with the availability of information technology and automation, there’s really no excuse not to send even an automated email or message to keep people updated about their application.
You can go a step further and make it easy for qualified candidates to contact you. Maybe appoint a designated contact person for questions or concerns, or even set up a Slack stream for candidates to chat with current employees while their application is processed.
And although it’s not fun to do, it’s also essential that you let your unsuccessful job seekers know when the position has been filled.
For a lot of candidates, one of the most important aspects of any recruiting process is the feedback they receive — whether they’re successful or not. And the reason for this is simple: it helps them to identify where they can improve. And for the organization, as well as helping them decide whether to hire someone, it helps them understand how their interview and recruitment process is performing.
Interview feedback should:
- Be concise and actionable
- Cover the whole hiring process
- Be collected in a timely way
And – importantly - don’t forget to ask candidates how they felt about the recruitment process – this is essential for identifying gaps in your candidate experience so you can close them, and meet the expectations of every job seeker who engages with your organization.
4. Use your hiring manager and hiring team
You already have powerful advocates for your recruiting process – your hiring manager and their teams. Their networks may give more access to appropriate talent than recruiters, and carry more weight. The hiring manager is often a candidate’s ‘go to’ professional to be convinced that they’re a great fit for the job. Conversely, some hiring managers tend to micromanage their recruiters, wanting more and more candidates, without appreciating quite how influential they themselves are for attracting them – if only they can direct their energies in the most useful way.
Here are some ideas for making your hiring managers and their teams useful:
- Screen-record a short fireside chat with the manager and their team, talking about the new role and how it fits in their organization. Upload it to LinkedIn to create engaging content and attract more qualified candidates for very little work.
- Get the hiring manager to make a short LinkedIn video about the job, and what they're like as a manager. Bonus points if they talk about how they’re developing based on feedback in their engagement scores!
- Ask the hiring manager and the team to share the job on their professional networks, using EVP-aligned messaging about the role, the company, and the team
- If you have a Brand Ambassador program, enroll the hiring manager or hiring team members in it, so they can be proactive about sharing company news, professional developments, team photos to show how they function – and the open job
- Encourage the hiring manager to publicly celebrate their team or team wins where appropriate, (and if that's their management style)
- Interact with the job posts made by the recruiter, hiring manager or a member of the team to drive better engagement from the LinkedIn algorithm.
All these things can bring additional value to the attraction phase of the recruiting process, and also add value to the recruiter’s communications (for example, use that same fireside chat in an In-Mail or a nurture campaign during the recruitment process).
These actions won’t take up much of a hiring manager’s time, but they’ll create:
- Greater engagement with their jobs
- Resources that can be used any time they recruit for that job
- Higher candidate engagement through the recruitment process, resulting in better offer acceptance rates and higher new employee engagement
- Increased brand influence
- Speedier hiring.
And the best part? The hiring manager and their team can do all of these things in less than 20 minutes a week and with zero budget.
5. Nurture your talent communities
What is a talent community? In short, anyone showing an interest in your organization is your talent community, and they need nurturing in robust and meaningful ways. A talent community provides two-way communication and information sharing between recruiter, potential candidates, and sometimes current employees who act as brand ambassadors.
A talent community doesn’t form on its own. It needs to be created, nurtured and maintained, usually digitally, via social media, messaging and email newsletters. It’s your opportunity to build awareness and provide transparency into critical parts of the employee experience that applicants want to know about before they join your company, thereby avoiding late-stage withdrawals. And unsuccessful candidates receive short, nurturing emails that are consistent and useful.
At Qualtrics, we treat everyone as part of our talent community. We send a monthly global newsletter aligned to our EVP, and then segmented newsletters once a quarter to align with our focused areas of talent. We think this is best practice because it provides options for candidates to opt out, gives consistency, and ensures our EVP (and its Give and Get) are at the root of our relationship with the candidate.
6. Embrace automation to make candidate experience better…
Recruiters love to hold the reins for everything, but that can sometimes become too much, so AI and automation are your friends here. HR technology such as candidate relationship management systems (CRM) can help:
- Identify and engage with passive, qualified candidates
- Surface ‘good fit’ candidates for job opportunities
- Screen suitable candidates
- Track applicants with an applicant tracking system (ATS)
- Update applicant status
- Schedule interviews
- Perform background checks
- Keep in touch with talent communities
7. …but don’t lose the human touch
CRM systems can have so much automation that it’s easy to forget that, ultimately, you are dealing with real people. so, best practice is based on emphasizing the human experience:
Bring some humanity into the process
Everyone deserves basic courtesy. While most people accept a ‘thanks for applying’ to an initial application, once people have been through some interview rounds they deserve to be ‘courteously declined’. Providing feedback, suggestions for developing skills or experience, and/or an honest assessment of the candidate’s chances of being considered for another role, all make the process much more human.
Acknowledge every candidate
65% of people say they rarely, if ever, receive communication about their application status. Candidates with poor recruitment experiences are more likely to leave negative ratings on employer sites such as Glassdoor. Communicate personally and regularly with every applicant.
Keep the door open
Only around 25% of talent managers stay in touch with unsuccessful candidates. Yet a good CRM system can make much of this contact for you when all your candidates are added to it as a talent database.
How Qualtrics can help with your recruitment strategy
We know that candidate experience doesn’t just impact the quality of your recruitment strategy and hiring – it impacts your employer brand, the employee experience for those who get hired, and even organizational performance.
We’ll help you design and improve your candidate experience, to attract the best candidates and grow your talent pipeline, and tighten up processes around sourcing, recruiting, and interviewing talent – saving money.
You’ll receive insights into every candidate experience touchpoint that matters:
- any stage of the candidate journey to see what went well and the actions you need to take to improve the experience
- the data you need for every stage of the candidate’s experience, while making sure you’re not causing survey fatigue
- total control over how often, when, and how your candidates are contacted, based on your preferences
We know that candidate experiences differ from role to role and organization to organization. That’s why Qualtrics® Candidate Experience Management Software is built to flex and contribute to any successful recruiting strategy.
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