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4 Strategies for Attracting Top Talent

Oddly enough, one of the best quotes about corporate recruiting didn’t come from an HR expert. Instead, it came from famous oil well firefighter Red Adair. Adair captured the importance of recruiting in just 11 words: “If you think hiring professionals is expensive, try hiring amateurs.”

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If you’ve ever hired someone who wasn’t a good fit, whether it was because they lacked certain skills or didn’t embrace the culture, this probably hits pretty close to home. The goal of recruiting is attracting top talent — the kind of talent that takes your company to the next level. But like everything else in business, it’s much easier said than done.

Despite the complexities of the recruitment process, hiring talented people that are also great cultural fits can be done. It doesn’t always require cutting-edge technology — although, let’s be honest, it never hurts. If you want to start attracting top talent, use these four recruiting strategies:

1. Show Off Your Company Culture

Employees want to work for companies that give them value in return for the value they provide the company. What was once a fairly one-sided relationship (“What can you bring to this company?”) has become a much more symbiotic one. Millennials in particular are willing to sacrifice $7,600 a year in order to work for a company with a culture that fit them better.

Some employees want a fun, casual environment. Others want to work for a company that shares their social values. Whatever the case may be, your company culture matters. Attracting top talent means attracting the candidates that not only like your culture, but thrive within it. Therefore, you need to show it off.

Displaying what your company is all about is a great way to build your employer brand.  Similar to building your brand’s reputation with customers, you need to build a reputation among potential employees. Without doing so, you don’t stand a chance at effectively communicating what values matter most to your company. Show off that you have a laidback but hard-working environment, or that you go on an annual company ski trip. When you do this, you’ll become much more desirable to candidates that’ll seamlessly fit into your culture.

2. Use Your Employee Networks

Recruiting is a lot like marketing. The goal of both practices is to attract people to your company, albeit for different outcomes. And just like in marketing, what people trust most is word-of-mouth.

There are two ways to leverage your employee networks. The first is having your employees spread the word. Asking your employees to share a job posting on social media is a great way to get the word out. Not only does this increase your reach to potentially like-minded and talented candidates, but they can also highlight the benefits they get from working for your company.

Although showing off your company culture is important, it’s much more effective when your employees share what they love about working for you. After all, people always take what companies say with a grain of salt because companies are always putting themselves in the best light. But if an employee raves about the great work-life balance your company provides them, or how much they love the monthly volunteering events, your company becomes a whole lot more desirable.

The other use of employee networks is the good-ol-fashioned referral. In today’s age of limitless connections via social media, your current employees might know someone who’d be a great fit for your company. You’ll want to ask your best employees first, as they probably have a better clue as to how attracting top talent happens. Whether it’s a long-time friend or someone they met at a trade show, your next great hire just might come from a referral.

3. Speed it Up

Business doesn’t wait for anybody, and oftentimes, neither do the best candidates. These candidates have their choice of job offers, because they’re in high demand. So the worst thing you can do is dawdle during the interview and decision-making process.

Don’t make your best candidates wait. If you’re impressed by a resume, email them to set up an in-person interview. Done with all of your interviews? Make your hiring decision as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that your best candidates will accept offers elsewhere.

That said, don’t rush your decision unnecessarily. You still need to take enough time to make the right hiring decision. Luckily, there are ways you can speed up the process. First and foremost, you can simply prioritize it ahead of your usual day-to-day work. You can also use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to streamline the process.

An ATS helps sort through resumes, identifying the best matches based on skills and experience. They also make applicant communication more efficient by sending automated messages that can let them know that you received their resume, send them a link to an online test or let them know that you decided to hire another candidate.

4. Go Mobile

As we’re sure you know by now, everything is going the way of mobile. At this point, it’s surprising when a company’s website isn’t optimized for mobile, or they don’t have an app. The recruitment process is no different. According to HR expert Dr. John Sullivan, more than 43% of job seekers use their mobile phones while searching for jobs.

It’s time to embrace the possibilities of mobile. For starters, make sure that your entire website provides a mobile-friendly experience. In particular, pay attention to your careers page. You want potential candidates to have as positive an experience as possible, to the point where it’s easy to apply to an open position from their phone.

Part of what makes a mobile-friendly website are basic logistics in the posting. Keep sentences and paragraphs short, so you’re not filling the entire screen with words. Make every word count, and only include the most necessary details. In addition, eliminating the need to submit a cover letter and resume helps incentivize applications from a mobile device. Allow any interested candidates to apply with their LinkedIn account. This creates an easy application process for high-quality candidates, which in turn makes attracting top talent easier for you.

Putting These Strategies to Work

Nobody said that attracting top talent is easy. But when you implement the right strategies, you can rest assured that your hires will be great ones. Of course, simply implementing these strategies isn’t enough. Make sure that you come up with performance metrics that can measure the success of your strategies. If you see improvement, keep them going. But if you don’t, make sure you keep tweaking your strategies until you’re attracting top talent for every open position.

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