12 Recruitment Strategies for Finding Job Candidates Today

December 26th, 2019
Kelly McNulty
Recruiting Teams
Now Hiring

Today, not only are good employees hard to find, any employee is hard to find -- period. Unemployment in the U.K. was at just 3.8% in November — the lowest in 45 years. In the U.S. unemployment sat at just 3.5% in November. Those low rates create an employees’ job market. And they make finding talent difficult for employers. To help your company better compete, here are 12 recruitment strategies to find job candidates in today’s tight employment market.

1. Create or Re-Ignite Your Employer Brand

Branding isn’t just for products and services anymore. It’s for job candidates and employees too. Your employer brand is how prospective, current, and past employees view your company. In her LinkedIn article, Sara Lybrand defines an employer brand as, “... include[ing] the market’s perception of your company as an employer, but also describes your promise (or employee value proposition) to employees in exchange for their experience, talents, contacts, or skills…. Employer branding, then, is simply how you market your company to desired job seekers.”

If you’re an enterprise-size company, you probably already have some sort of employer branding initiative. If you’re a smaller company, you may need to build up your employer brand. And regardless of whether you have one or are just starting, you want to nurture that brand on an ongoing basis.

During her breakout session at HireVue Horizon 2019, Deloitte Canada Senior Manager, Experienced Hire Recruitment Georgia Ilios shared that to attract technical hires, Deloitte Canada had to change its employer brand from that of an accounting firm to that of a technology company. Some of the ways Deloitte Canada did that were to start hosting networking events at its offices and invest in social media.

Another key part of current employer branding is to monitor Glassdoor and Indeed reviews. Watch for trends in candidate and employee sentiment and take action if the sentiment isn’t favorable.

Keep It Real

Your employer brand needs to be authentic. Don’t sell what you aren’t or don’t have. You want your brand to be a true reflection of who your company is.

Recruitment.com offers insights into what employer branding is and what it includes in its article, "The Essentials of Employer Branding."

2. Get on Social Media

Getting on and maintaining both employer and company social media accounts is a key part of a modern recruitment strategy. It’s a central part of your employer brand and finding candidates.

In her breakout, Georgia shared how social media helped Deloitte Canada change its employer reputation from that of an accounting firm to that of a technology company.

Georgia Ilios talks about using social media for Deloitte Canada’s employer branding.

Social media as part of a recruiting strategy goes beyond employer branding though. It’s a fast, effective way to connect with candidates and let people know you’re hiring. People are on Facebook and LinkedIn much more than job boards — even when actively job hunting. And due to the social nature of social media, people are more likely to share your openings with their social circles than to forward a link to an opening posted on a job board.

3. Do Competitive Salary Analysis

Another recruiting strategy that Georgia shared with Horizon attendees is keeping up with salary information. Georgia said that while Deloitte Canada will never be able to compete with the largest firms on salary, it needs to offer fair compensation. To do that, it holds recruitment teams accountable for researching salaries. It also tracks how many candidates it loses to other firms due to better compensation.

“We take this information then and we look for trends, we look for insights and we take it back to our compensation teams. And then what we do is we look at maybe changing the ranges…. This has allowed us to attract and secure some of the candidates that we weren't able to secure before,” Georgia said.

4. Cast a Wider Net

Talent may not be where you expect it to be. And when talent is hard to find, you need to look in unexpected places. That might mean hiring early-career talent with potential and training them for the long term. It might mean hiring from outside your hometown — even outside the country.

In the case of technical hires, it might mean foregoing a traditional college degree and broadening your net to include coding camps and even self-taught coders.

Some companies have widened their nets by looking at non-traditional types of workers to fill roles, such as gig workers, project workers, and contractors.

Koch Industries uses a unique approach. It’s created what it calls an internal gig economy using an internal site called Koch works. The site shares project opportunities with existing employees. Employees can spend a few hours a week to work on a project of interest where they can expand their skills and learn something new. Koch supervisors buy in to letting employees expand their own reach and fill talent gaps on a small scale.

Koch Industries Technology Strategy Leader Steven Holmes talks about the company’s internal gig economy in his breakout session from Horizon 2019.

An effective way to cast a wider net is by using video interviewing. Video interviewing eliminates the need to fly all top candidates in for a live interview. It lets recruiters and hiring managers screen more candidates from more locations faster. Candidates can complete their interviews at any time on any device. And recruiters and hiring managers can review interviews on their own time as well. There’s no phone tag or scheduling required.

5. Offer Internships

Another way to widen your net and get early-career talent onboard is with internships. Internships fill needed talent gaps and can help you find great candidates you want to hire on permanently.

Internships can also help build your employer brand. An intern that has a good experience becomes an advocate for your company even if he/she doesn’t become a permanent employee.

6. Go After Passive Candidates

Filling open roles may mean finding candidates who aren’t even in the job market. Those candidates are known as passive candidates. They’re already employed and not even looking, but they may just be the perfect candidate for your role. Recruiters can easily find and reach out to passive candidates on LinkedIn.

7. Rethink Your Job Descriptions

Job descriptions aren’t just a list of duties today. They’re advertisements — advertisements that are a part of your employer brand. In a study in the Journal of Business and Psychology researchers found that job descriptions that emphasize personal growth and advancement opportunities attract 3x more highly qualified candidates than descriptions that emphasizes needed skills.

Here’s a quick list of dos and don’ts for your job descriptions taken from The HireVue 2019 Candidate Experience Playbook.

Do Don’t
  • Highlight career-advancement opportunities for the role
  • Focus on the role’s benefits to the candidate — as well as overall company benefits
  • Highlight interesting work and teams associated with the role
  • Simply display a list of  job duties
  • Overemphasize needed credentials
  • Use company jargon that doesn’t make sense outside of your organization

8. Create Realistic Job Previews

In the digital age, giving candidates realistic job previews is easy. Many companies use video interviewing technology to share what are called intro and outro videos with candidates and to give candidates that realistic job preview. Video interactions also:

  • Reinforce your employer brand in a modern, appealing way
  • Create a more personal connection with candidates
  • Let candidates self-select
  • Can positively affect retention

At Horizon 2019, Sherri Rasmussen, Director of Talent Acquisition for Keurig Dr Pepper shared, “Usually, in our prior process, it was just a typed written question. And so, we were able to launch these videos. Each video segment is then linked to a specific HireVue question. So they watch the video, the question will be asked at the end of the video and then they answer it and then it goes on to the next interview question where they watch another video. The question is answered at the end of the video or asked and then they can respond to it.”

One of the portions of the Keurig Dr Pepper video interview and job preview for drivers and the associated video interview question.

9. Ditch Traditional Assessments

Just as job previews reflect a modern approach to recruiting, so do more modern assessments. If you rely on assessments of candidates’ hard or soft skills, or both, ditch traditional paper-based and online pre-employment testing assessments where candidates answer an endless series of closed-ended multiple-choice questions. Instead, choose a modern approach like game-based assessments and/or coding challenges.

Using games and coding challenges make assessments more engaging than endless multiple-choice questions. They’re also faster or candidates to complete than traditional assessments but still measure many of the same competencies — a win-win for you and your candidates.

10. Empower Your Recruiters

It’s easy for recruiters to get bogged down playing phone or email tag with candidates. And when they do, they lose time that could be used to find the right candidates. When you empower your recruiters to get away from playing scheduling tag, you give them time to:

  • Source candidates with recruitment marketing
  • Build relationships with current and future candidates
  • Pursue passive candidates
  • Fast-track the best candidates to the top of your hiring funnel
  • Become consultants to hiring managers

Effective ways to empower recruiters include video interviews and automated scheduling.

At Horizon 2019, Hayden Kornblut, Head of US University Relations, Kraft Heinz, shared “The only way to really assess candidates outside of the resume was to get them on the phone and have a conversation with them, but we found, we would miss them and they would call us back, but we were on the phone and you’d miss that. And what should have been a 20-minute phone conversation was a multi-day ordeal.

“So the experience we’ve had in our first season with HireVue and seeing the efficiency that that provided for us really freed up our team to be a bit more active and do what they’re supposed to do, which is build those relationships and find those right candidates for us.”

11. Empower Your Candidates

Just like your company’s reputation matters, so do your candidates’ experiences. Competitive companies realize that the days of doing candidates a favor by interviewing them are long gone.

Today’s leading companies are selling themselves to candidates, not just through their employer brands, but through great candidate experiences.

A good candidate experience reflects on your company, and it determines whether candidates take the job with you or another company, whether candidates ghost you, and whether candidates recommend your company to other candidates — both one-one-one and on Glassdoor or Indeed.

Ways to empower candidates and deliver a good candidate experience include:

  • Using OnDemand video interviews to empower candidates to show you more of who they are in a video interview that they can take any time, anywhere and on any device.
  • Using many of the other strategies shared here, such as showing candidates who your company is and what the role entails with realistic job previews.
  • Regularly communicating with candidates about the status of your hiring process.
  • Sharing feedback with candidates — especially those you don’t hire.
  • Shortening the application, screening, interview, and assessment time required of candidates.
  • Continually measuring your candidate experience with a net promoter score or other feedback and refining the experience if needed.

12. Reduce Your Time to Hire

The last strategy goes along with a better candidate experience, and it is to reduce your time to hire. With the job market so competitive, good candidates go off the market quickly. Robert Half found that 39% of job candidates think a hiring process that takes 7 to 14 days is too long. 23% of candidates will only wait 1 week after interviewing for a job. And 57% lose interest if the process takes too long.

That means that in order to find job candidates today and keep them in your process so that they’re still on the market when you make the offer, you can’t drag your feet.

Georgia Ilios shared the challenge Deloitte Canada faced, “We were losing candidates very very quickly. By the time we were doing an HR interview to offer, candidates were going off the market and we had to start the process all over again. ...candidates were going off the market in one to two weeks. We'd start the process on a Monday, and by Friday, they would have [other] offers.

“Our process was hindering our ability to move quickly enough. We had multiple rounds of interviews specifically for our technology-based candidates because we needed to ensure we were doing a very thorough job in assessing their skills.”

There are multiple ways to shorten your time to hire, including video interviewing, automated scheduling, and a great candidate experience that reduces drop out.

For Deloitte Canada, using HireVue OnDemand video interviewing and HireVue CodeVue coding challenges let it shave a full 2.5 hours off the interview time for each candidate and go from a time to hire of 2 weeks to just 3.9 days — and that was for technical hires.

Learn how other companies have reduced time to hire in “The Symbiotic Candidate Experience: How Keurig Dr Pepper Builds Trust” session from Horizon 2019 and the “How to Hire in Under 24 Hours” eBook.


Photo by Free To Use Sounds on Unsplash.