Sometimes the complexity of today’s job market makes the prospect of securing an engineer or developer seem impossible. After all, if people are resigning their jobs, leaving the workforce, or jumping for larger offers, companies don’t stand a chance at successful and reliable talent acquisition, right?
The reality can be a bit less daunting than the headlines suggest. You may be frustrated in your effort to secure the people to match the skills and capabilities you require. But a talent partner such as a quality staffing firm can provide the resources, connections, and best practices to compete in today’s market.
But our experience helping some of today’s most successful industry leaders address their IT talent needs has taught us a few lessons about the legacy issues in talent acquisition. Unfortunately, these issues still cause organizations to lose out on potentially great workers. The challenges are easy to overlook, and they are also solvable.
So, before you tackle the thorny problems of today’s market (such as global competition and the shortage of workers), take a look at the more straightforward, accessible issues. The basic problems may be causing you to sabotage your own recruiting efforts, but they offer clear openings for real improvements.
With that in mind, what follows are five missteps that may be causing you to lose talent. Stopping these issues might help you connect with candidates you might otherwise miss.
Misstep 1: Give Hiring Managers Unlimited Decision Time
It’s a familiar story. First, internal recruitment teams or their staffing or recruiting partners provide qualified candidates for hiring managers to consider for a role or assignment. Then, suddenly, the hiring manager disappears, asks for new requirements, or wants to look at more candidates.
Meanwhile, the average time between interview and offer in many roles is diminishing across industries. That means if your managers take an average of seven days to arrive at a hiring decision and the average industry time between interview and offer is five days, you’re likely losing candidates to other offers. The solution is simple: set a time limit. Managers won’t like the rule, but they will appreciate the results.
Misstep 2: Skip Reviewing the Job Requirements
It’s easy to treat maintaining internal job descriptions as just another bureaucratic burden, and that’s why organizations may dust off their job descriptions once a year and give someone the task of making sure they’re up to date.
Unfortunately, the person reviewing the roles may not know much about them. So then, when it comes time to hire for a position or assignment, the hiring manager wonders why it’s so difficult to bring in candidates that truly fit the need. The lesson is simple: Take the time to look critically at every role, every time you hire. Get rid of requirements that don’t apply, and grit your teeth and cut the nice-to-haves too. When it comes to requirements, less is more—make the requirements brief, accurate and relevant.
Misstep 3: Make Sure Job Ads Feature Internal Jargon
One great way to turn off prospective job seekers is to promote a role using vague phrases and terminology meant only for internal records. In the past, candidates tolerated cumbersome and poorly written descriptions as part of the job-hunting process.
Today, however, if your posting looks like an excerpt from the tax code, it’s likely that a competitor is promoting a similar role with the personality and persuasiveness of a consumer product commercial. The candidate will answer that ad before they answer yours. Don’t make candidates work to learn about your job. Instead, convey it in terms they understand, and you’ve eliminated another pitfall to improve your talent attraction.
Misstep 4: Post and Pray
Does anyone even use the term “post and pray” anymore? They probably should because it still happens. Recruiters blindly reach out to promote an opportunity, posting an ad on a website or job board and simply hoping for the candidates to come. They do little to develop personal connections with potential candidates and then wonder why they have trouble finding the worker they need. This problem applies to employee talent acquisition as well as contractor engagement.
Even when you promote a role through targeted social media channels, you have to put in the work of relationship building. If you do not follow up on responses or actively communicate with individual candidates, you limit your ability to build meaningful talent pipelines. So often, recruiters feel too overwhelmed by their workload to give candidate relationship development the attention it deserves. However, more sophisticated talent practices and technologies aim to reduce the recruiting burden.
AI-driven automation is taking on everything from resume review to job distribution. If your recruiters are forced to hope for the best, leverage the practices and technology to make them work better and smarter. Your competitors might already be on this path, and they might be beating you to the talent.
Misstep 5: Wait for the Vacancy
Are you starting the recruiting process from scratch every time a job or assignment opens? If so, you risk extending your time to fill to the point where your project suffers for lack of critical workers. Particularly in high-demand skills, companies are well-served to start recruiting by reaching out to candidates they have already interacted with before.
To do so, continuously cultivating and maintaining talent pools is essential. Once again, candidate care becomes the focal point. What happens to the qualified workers your organization does not select for a job? Keep them in the loop and regularly reach out to them about new opportunities. They may be your best source of new talent.
Does your organization have people who actively participate in industry forums or talent communities? If not, start building that into your culture. Create an incentivized referral program for your current workers. This approach can also go a long way toward maintaining a pool of talent that can meet your demands. Finally, notify your contractors of new projects as their end dates on their current assignment approaches, and if they do move on, communicate with them regularly. Organizations should not need to re-recruit for roles when they already have the contractors they need on hand, but they often do!
A Staffing Partner Eliminates the Missteps
Any one of the basic missteps can cost your organization a chance at connecting with a candidate. Those issues are not difficult to solve. So why are they so common? The reason is simple: they demand constant attention. When an organization loses its recruiting edge, missteps will occur across all related processes. Job postings are made at the last minute, with little review or consideration of what is being sought, and workers with active relationships with the organization get overlooked.
An effective talent partner does more than fill assignments. It should provide the guidance and the continuous cultivation of talent relationships your organization needs to stay ahead of the issues and maximize the power of its recruiting potential today. Our clients have come to expect that high level of commitment from our organization. You should expect no less from any talent partner you engage.