2015’s Innovative Recruiting Strategies
Not all recruiting strategies are created equal. Traditional resume screening, interviews, and reference checking—all of which are time consuming and often fail to produce the right match—are fine, but they aren’t the best.
As social networking and smartphones transform the work world, top recruiting strategies need to transform, too. The best recruiting strategies utilize a mixture of social, technical, creative, and marketing elements. Here, we explore the top five innovative recruiting strategies for 2015.
- Making Your Competition Work for You
Researching information about your closest competition in order to steal their employees might feel odd, but it’s one of the most effective recruiting techniques and is becoming more and more popular. Landing top talent is difficult—LinkedIn’s 2015 Global Recruiting Trends report found that competition and compensation ranked as the biggest obstacles for 45% for recruiters—and knowing what your competition is up to can give you a leg up.
While recruiters have always had access to basic information about competitors, more detailed data is available today thanks to the Internet. Salary surveys and employer-rating sites, for example, show what job seekers consider when looking at jobs. By studying this data, recruiters can make sure their company’s benefits packages and salary offerings are comparable and attractive to potential talent.
Some companies go beyond just researching their competitions’ benefits packages: they actively recruit their employees. One such company is advertising agency Gyro International. In 2010, Gyro wanted to grow its creative department by 50%. To do so, they researched their closest competitors, found out where their employees went to lunch, and asked the owners of those restaurants to use sandwich bags with Gyro’s recruiting messages for one month. The bags had Gyro’s website on them and soon, competitors’ employees were applying to join the Gyro team. Within a few weeks, the company saw an increase in web traffic and hired three people, including a senior creative manager.
To effectively research your competition and make sure you’re staying on the cutting edge for recruiting efforts, consider using such resources as Google Alerts, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Twitter, Indeed, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to improve your recruiting techniques.
- Getting Creative with Challenges and Games
Companies in need of candidates with specific, hard-to-find skills are finding their perfect fits not by scanning resumes but by creating games. Not just any games, of course, rather tests that identify people with the necessary set skills to thrive in certain positions.
When Upstream Systems, a mobile marketing firm, was looking for global marketing managers, they created the “Upstream Challenge”: seven timed exercises that measured a candidate’s analytical skills and marketing knowledge. Approximately 700 people completed the online test. Those who scored well were contacted and six people were hired.
In 2004, Google put difficult math puzzles on billboards. Anyone who solved the puzzle unlocked a URL with another puzzle. If solved, that person received an offer to apply to a job.
SeatGeek, the largest online event ticket search engine, tells engineers to prove their skills by inviting them to hack into their website to submit their resume.
Using game mechanics is still an emerging technique and there’s much to be learned, but George Andes, author of The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else, told Fortune.com that it’s one way recruiters can widen their job searches beyond paper credentials. It’s important to focus on candidates with “soft skills,” he said. Those skills include creativity, ingenuity, and resilience—hard to spot on a resume, perhaps, but things that come through in such nontraditional methods as games and challenges.
- Training Employees as Recruiters
Employee referral programs aren’t a new recruitment strategy, but they are an effective option for obtaining quality hires, second only to social media in effectiveness. Referral programs are recruitment methods in which current employees are encouraged and rewarded for bringing suitable job candidates to the hiring table.
A few reasons to consider using employee referral programs:
Effective employee referral programs incorporate strategic planning to engage employees and get quality hires. Such planning includes targeting referral requests to employees most likely to interact with the types of candidates needed, asking employees who worked at competitors or other desirable firms for their insight, and conducting networking events to encourage employees to compare and brainstorm possible referral options.
In terms of employee motivation, it’s important to strike a balance between rewarding employees with recognition as well as financial incentives. A recent LinkedIn survey revealed that only 40% of employees claimed to submit a referral because of a monetary reward while 68% of participants said they wanted to help their company. However, when asked what the most appropriate reward for a successful referral was, 96% said a cash bonus.
Making rewards the most important feature of a program isn’t a good move, as it emphasizes quantity over quality and can lead to a weak referral culture. Instead, a good way to create a culture of referrals is by building recognition into the process. Giving referrers a thank-you note from leadership, a call out in the company newsletter, or recognition during a meeting are easy and effective ways to communicate appreciation and demonstrate how much quality referrals are valued.
For the incentive options, consider the following rewards:
- A charity donation option
- Non-cash awards such as a reserved parking spot, tickets to an event, etc.
- Different bonus amounts for each level of referring and results (i.e. $100 for name only, $200 for full referral with resume and formal introduction, $300 for hiring a referral)
- Paying the taxes on the bonus to give referrers a full payout on rewards
- Handwritten thank you notes from the hiring manager or other leadership
Having a mobile recruiting strategy is necessary nowadays. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) own a smartphone, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center American Trends Panel survey. Of those, 43% use their smartphone to look up information about jobs.
To engage these potential candidates, 51% of recruiters say they plan to invest more in mobile recruiting efforts in coming years. Mobile recruiting efforts still trail social recruiting—93% of recruiters use or plan to use social to support recruiting efforts—but it is an important step to get ahead of the trend and stay competitive.
Nearly 70% of 1,855 recruiters surveyed in Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey said they expected hiring to get even more competitive over the next 12 months. To prepare for this increased challenge, 73% of the recruiters said they plan to invest more in mobile recruiting.
To keep in step with this trend, consider doing the following:
Develop and Promote a Talent Brand
- Create a mobile career site that lets job seekers apply for jobs directly from a mobile device
- Train hiring managers on mobile recruitment techniques so they can post jobs on the go and create postings that can be easily shared on social media and readily responded to
- Target social media job posts for the employees you want; use Facebook for and LinkedIn for Generation Xers, Twitter and Instagram for Millennials
A company’s talent brand is the things people think, say, and share about a company as a place to work. It’s a snapshot of how much a company values its employs, its corporate culture, the people who work there, and the typical employee experience.
Developing a talent brand is considered a top priority by 56% of global leaders, according to LinkedIn’s 2015 Global Recruiting Trends survey. As competition for qualified employees grows, corporate culture is becoming increasingly important for recruiting. A solid talent brand can help make the difference between a good company and a great one in the eyes of a potential employee.
A talent brand should be an authentic and clearly defined description of your company’s culture, expectations, and values. A good example of a company that uses its talent brand to recruit top workers is Google. Google matches its internal workplace culture—in which employees are members of a self-contained, elite, 24/7 workplace community; have survived the rigorous screening process; and belong to a prestigious team—with its external brand. Both internally and externally, people know what Google is, what it expects of employees, and what it offers employees. This brand attracts the best of the best and keeps Google on track to continue developing these values as an employer.
Building a talent brand is about more than recruiting. It’s about defining your company’s values and personality. It’s about creating culturally authentic programs, aligning the workforce on corporate goals and strategy, and driving initiatives for inclusion, change management, and workforce planning. And, once in place, a talent brand should help build or reinforce organizational culture.
A solid talent brand helps recruit top employees
- Targeting candidates through messages that define company culture
- Building a general awareness of your company
- Providing leverage to stay ahead of competition
- Putting employees, management, and job seekers on the same page in terms of what to expect from the company
In recruiting, like in most areas in life, communication is key. A clear, attractive brand shows talent what they can expect from your company and brings them to you instead of making you go to them.
When it comes to recruiting and hiring, there are dozens of things to consider. Utilizing these top five recruiting strategies will help you attract top talent and one-up competition.