Always be recruiting; even when you aren’t hiring

With the unemployment rate hovering around the 6% mark, it’s clear that there are candidates out there, actively looking for work. However, speak to any business looking for quality employees and they’ll tell a different story – that good people are hard to find, and the skills shortage we’ve been hearing about for years is a reality reaching crisis point for the trade/construction industry across the country.

For companies wanting to escape the cycle of reactionary hiring, there is a better way. To eliminate long-term job vacancies, and secure the best talent for every position, a shift in the hiring mindset can set an organisation on the right path.

Employers need to shift from “hiring as needed” to an “always be recruiting (attracting)” mindset. One of the key issues is that businesses don’t’ always recognise the difference between hiring and recruiting. Hiring is about fulfilling an immediate need for a person with particular skills in your business. It’s reactive, and not the most efficient way to attract top talent.

You are at a disadvantage from the very start of the hiring process, because every day you don’t have someone in that role you are losing money. You’ll have to scramble to fill the role and it’s more likely you’ll settle for a substandard candidate, fearing no-one better will come along in the tight timeframe you need them.

Anyone who has advertised a position knows that great people are often hard to find. Hoping that the perfect person will be available at the exact time you choose to advertise is not only illogical, but risky. To put yourself in the best position to secure top talent, you need to always be keeping an eye out for people who might fit your business.

There are a few steps every business can take to make the move from reactive hiring to proactive recruitment.

1. Change recruitment to ‘attractment’.
Quality companies know that to attract the best people, you need to create an environment or workplace where the best want to work. This not only retains your existing employees; it also creates a place that your existing employees are proud to work at. This makes it easier to attract top talent and keep them long term. These workplaces put at the top of their provisions: flexibility, training and development, acknowledgement and recognition, variety and opportunities to progress. Money is rarely the #1 motivator for great people.

2. Know who you are looking for.
Have clear team goals for today and anticipate where your talent needs will be tomorrow. Know the existing positions that are critical to your company’s ongoing success, and identify new roles you will need to enable the growth and expansion you envisage for the future. Be clear on the type of candidate you want to attract, paying attention to attitude and values, even more than skills.

3. Invest in your employer brand.
At the end of the day, recruitment is marketing & sales. Much like consumer marketing, recruitment marketing is all about how candidate markets perceive your brand as an employer, and the journey you take them on to convert them to employees when the time is right. Build the right communications platform for your employer brand to give candidates a clear picture of what it’s like to work for you. Get active on social media and make your careers site interactive, informative and mobile-friendly.

4. Create a talent pool/virtual bench.
If you are always recruiting, you will need an organised way of keeping track of great candidates you may want to extend an offer to in the future. Nurture candidates by sending them engaging content that not only educates them on your business and culture, but also prepares them for the right opportunity with you.

5. Makes sure every candidate experience is great.
It’s important to make sure every candidate that enters your recruitment funnel has a good experience with your company. Even if you don’t hire a candidate right away, that doesn’t mean you won’t want to call on them for another role in the future. Or they may become a client – their candidate experience with your company will influence this relationship. Make sure your keep all candidates informed, engaged and give them all the information they need to be a proponent of your organisation.

Recruitment doesn’t start when someone leaves. It is a never-ending process that eliminates the need for the hasty hiring of lacklustre talent and saves you time and money. Recruitment gives you control. Recruitment should be happening every day as a part of your weekly activity. Even if you think you have the “perfect” staff in place, you never know when that might change. So always be on the lookout for that next great employee.

Written by Jon Mailer