January was the ninth consecutive month in which recruiting difficulty reached four-year highs, according to a study performed by The Society for Human Resource Management. Recruiting difficulty may seem like a difficult metric to quantify, but if your business has tried to recruit talent in fields like technology, healthcare, trucking, engineering, or computer science lately, you know it’s a cutthroat battle for the best and brightest. Add to that the fact that millennials (who in just five short years will comprise almost 50% of the workforce) have different expectations for jobs than their predecessors did, and you begin to see why businesses need to step up their recruiting game if they want to attract top talent.
Recruiting in the 21st Century
In order to attract the right kind of talent, companies must re-evaluate the recruiting approaches that they have relied on for the past several decades. Winning the war for talent will require more innovative recruiting strategies that meet candidates where they are and use a variety of available resources to identify talent from diverse sources.
- Passive Candidate Recruiting—According to a LinkedIn study from 2014, only 15% of employees say they are completely satisfied with their jobs and would not be open to a change. That means 85% of the workforce would be open to talking to a recruiter. Subtracting the 25% who are checking job boards for openings, that leaves 60% of full-time employees who are not actively searching for a job, but would be open to a change if approached with the right offer. For high-demand positions, passive candidates are a talent source that must not be overlooked.
- Social Networking—Professional social networks offer a goldmine of information for recruiters. In fact, in just three years the importance of social networks as a talent source has risen from one of the least important to one of the most important resources for businesses. Companies hoping to attract top talent need to actively and strategically manage their social network presence.
- Referrals—Networking both on and offline can and should result in high-quality referrals for open positions. Employees, professional contacts, and business colleagues can all be excellent sources for discovering strong candidates.
- Branding—Creating a positive employer brand has become more important as young workers increasingly place high value on the type of company they work for. Creating a positive work environment based on strong values will help make your business a desirable place to work.
Compensation ranks as one of the top factors in attracting quality candidates. While it’s true that the new generation of workers also places high value on work environment and professional fulfillment, it’s also true that companies hoping to come out on top in terms of talent acquisition must take a look at their compensation packages, signing bonuses, and benefit packages. There’s still a lot to be said for the lure of a better salary.
Winning the Talent War from Within
Millennials as a group overwhelmingly place high value on finding a job they love. More than 60% would choose a lower-paying job where they feel professionally fulfilled than a higher-paying job they found boring. Don’t think this statistic undermines the importance of great compensation though. Top candidates rarely have to make an either/or choice like that. In most cases, candidates will be able to find a fulfilling job and get a great salary, especially if their skill sets are in high demand. That means companies will need to step up their game in terms of work environment in addition to offering excellent compensation in order to gain an edge over competitors. A positive working environment includes flexibility, opportunities for professional development and advancement, opportunities for employees to self-manage, favorable work/life blend, and even investment in social causes.
When workers have multiple options as they do in today’s hiring environment, businesses hoping to win the increasingly brutal war for talent must differentiate themselves by leveraging the evolving recruiting resources and by performing a serious assessment of compensation structures and company culture.