Innovative Recruiting Ideas to Survive a Talent Drought
As you know, great candidates hard to find, even when unemployment rates go up. But while your staffing firm has little control over the economic or demographic factors fueling a talent shortage, you can control how you respond.
The best way to thrive in a drought?
Adapt to the conditions! Use these innovative recruiting strategies to find the people you need:
Retool job postings
Trolled Indeed.com (or any job aggregator) lately? Yuck – most of the job postings I read are AWFUL. Boring job titles, dense laundry lists of job duties, weak calls-to-action…what busy, talented person is going to read something like that?
You guessed it: They won’t. To attract a top candidate’s attention – and convince them to apply – revamp your postings:
- Treat them as advertisements, not merely job descriptions. Sell the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) by explaining why the job is exceptional, first. Create a form that makes it easy for your team to gather this information from your clients.
- Test different versions of job titles. Most job seekers search by functional job titles, but be sure to systematically test more creative, descriptive versions to attract a more diverse pool. A small tweak can yield vastly different results!
- Post the pay rate. Job posts with pay information get 40 percent more response (one staffing firm increased applications by 600 percent!). And even if your pay rate stinks, it’s better for candidates to self-select out than to waste your recruiters’ time. That said, if you have multiple jobs for the same role, advertise the highest possible pay (i.e., up to $X/hr.). And if the pay is low, offset it by selling other positive aspects of the opportunity.
- Include the physical address. (I can feel your eyebrows raising right now but hear me out.) If a candidate is searching for jobs in a city or within a certain number of miles from their home, postings with physical locations will rank better on Google. Period. The SEO benefits of including location far outweigh the threat of a competitor approaching your client or a candidate bypassing you altogether.
Get with the program (programmatic advertising, that is!).
Spending recruiting dollars with a national job aggregator? With a programmatic approach, you can allocate your spend more effectively by using machine-based learning to increase ROI.
Programmatic advertising manages the bidding for your jobs based on CPC (cost per click) and CPA (cost per application) to control where you spend, how much you spend, and how many applications you get for each job. With a programmatic approach you can:
- Use data to determine which jobs should get more of your advertising budget.
- Use application and job-posting performance metrics to make better spend decisions in the future.
- Automatically shut off ad spend for a job once you receive a certain number of applications, and then shift those recruiting dollars to other jobs.
- See whether an organic or paid approach worked best for a posting (so you don’t overspend on similar jobs in the future).
- More easily push jobs to multiple boards and/or aggregators.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Platforms available from sites like Recruitics.com and AppCast.com provide robust insights (via intuitive dashboards) you can use to ensure those job postings you’ve worked so hard to retool are being shown to the right candidates – while never overspending to get candidates you don’t want or need.
Revamp your application and related workflow.
If you want to dramatically increase applications, you need to dramatically change everything about your application process.
Get the dynamite ready; it’s time to blow up that old application. Streamline the entire process. And make it quicker and easier for candidates to apply no matter where they are. Here’s how:
- Kill the long application. Gather only the information that’s essential to minimize application abandonment rates.
- Think mobile first. That’s where your candidates are applying! Develop a mobile-optimized version of your application that loads in three seconds, has large buttons (that are easy to use on mobile devices) and doesn’t require scrolling or zooming to read.
- Consider adding “finish later” functionality. Integrate technology that enables candidates to save a partially completed application and then pick up where they left off – either on their mobile device or on a desktop. Ideally, a candidate should be able to create and save a profile before moving on to answer specific application questions.
- Integrate an ultrashort form. Sites like Indeed, Monster and ZipRecruiter allow you to dramatically simplify the application process by integrating an ultra-short form (name, email, upload resume) or using their one-click-apply features. Then, you can ask viable candidates to complete your full application before the interview. It turns a one-step apply process into two steps, but dramatically reduces application abandonment.
Even better? Job seekers can search specifically for “easy apply” jobs on these sites. If your jobs integrate the tech, they’ll show up in those searches.
30-Second Case Study…
One of our clients was getting less than 10 completed applications per week from their website. We suggested they turn off the full application provided by their ATS and replace it with a “submit resume” form. In the first month after the change, they received 8,000 resumes!
Once you’ve improved the application itself, look for ways to streamline workflow, speed candidate processing and intake, and maximize candidates’ opportunities to apply:
- Upload each resume, parse it, then recommend jobs to the candidate based on that person’s skills.
- Use a chatbot to do initial screening. Chatbots can be used to screen candidates to ensure they meet basic requirements, and then direct them to your job board, online application or other resources. You can even program a chatbot to escalate promising candidates to a live recruiter.
- Add a live chat feature to your job board. Allow candidates for high-skill jobs to engage with a recruiter prior to application to reduce abandonment.
Better leverage your ATS.
You probably have thousands – if not tens of thousands – of candidates already in your ATS, making it a veritable talent oasis. Put it to work for you:
- Create a process to search talent in your ATS prior to ever posting a job. We have one client whose process is so effective, they can provide a list of candidates to each recruiter within 30 minutes of taking a job order.
- Re-recruit candidates in your ATS. A returning candidate is twice as likely to apply to one of your jobs than a new one. So, you can effectively double your recruiting efficiency by retapping your existing talent pool:
- Email existing candidates to reconnect. Send job alerts when you post new positions to your website. Encourage them to upload their updated resume. Remind them of all the ways your staffing firm can help them in their careers.
- Text messaging. Get candidates to opt-in to “hot job” alerts.
- Upload your ATS list to Google and Facebook to target existing candidates with recruiting ads (more on this in a bit).
Create an integrated online recruiting strategy.
Lots of staffing and recruiting firms post jobs on Google, Facebook and other social platforms. And it’s easy to understand why:
- Our lives and attention have moved online. In fact, the average user spends 50 minutes each day using Facebook and Instagram!
- Plus, most people are receptive to job postings; over 70 percent of our workforce is open to learning about new job opportunities.
- Candidates who return to your job board are twice as likely to convert as new visitors – which makes targeting them with job ads on Facebook or Google (what we call remarketing) even more effective.
But slapping up an ad and throwing some money behind it isn’t likely to yield droves of qualified candidates. To get great results from social recruiting, re-recruiting and other tools, you have to start with a great strategy.
Not surprisingly, staffing firms that use a balanced approach – one that addresses recent visitors to their website, candidates already in their ATS, and targeted audiences who have never engaged with your staffing firm – are the ones that see the greatest improvements in application volume and quality. For example, here’s what two of our clients are doing:
- By targeting website visitors and their ATS list, as well as new candidates based on geography and job titles, one industrial staffing agency in the southeast is averaging 50-75 leads per month on Facebook at a cost of roughly $5/lead.
- A professional staffing agency in the New Jersey/Delaware area is targeting their recent website visitors and ATS list. Averaging 45 leads per month at $3.33/month.
How could your staffing firm leverage social and re-recruiting?
Start by considering your recruiting challenges and goals:
- Seeing a lot of web traffic, but not getting the applications you need?
Target return visitors to your website. By inserting a snippet of code on your job board or other candidate-facing page, you can drop a cookie on the visitor’s device. Then, you can display job ads to this audience while they’re on Facebook or searching on Google.
- Want to maximize the value of an underutilized ATS database?
Re-recruit existing candidates. Upload your ATS candidates’ email addresses to Google. Then, when one of these individuals searches on Google for specific terms you designate, Google will serve up your job ad at a much lower cost than if you were targeting anyone searching for that term. You can take a similar approach on Facebook, which allows you to upload candidates’ email addresses and phone numbers to target.
- Want to cast a wider net, and reach people who have never engaged with your staffing firm online?
Social recruiting on Facebook allows you to target people who meet specific demographic information like location, field of study, job titles and/or interest categories. Based on criteria you specify, you can promote your job postings to people who are most likely to be interested in them.
- Want to maximize the value of Facebook Jobs?
Facebook allows your staffing agency to use its Facebook jobs section for free. You can post the relevant information (e.g., title, pay rate, location, job description) and ask up to three questions. Once a Facebook user fills out the required information, the application from Facebook gets sent to two places: the email address of your recruiter that you input into Facebook when originally posting the job, and your company’s Facebook inbox.
Qualified people may be tough to recruit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your candidate funnel full with a steady stream of qualified talent. By adapting your recruiting strategy to include innovative, effective ideas like the ones in this article, your staffing firm will do more than just survive; you’ll thrive.