Reminder: Turn off any distractions. Take a few minutes to relax. Keeping the distractions off, turn your full attention to your recruiting efforts. Honestly, but without judgment, answer the following questions:
How do you recruit new employees? Are you attracting good candidates? Are you reaching your target audiences? What is your long-term goal for growth, and what do you need from your recruiting efforts to meet those goals? Do you need to grow your work force? Do you need entry-level or lateral hires? How will you replace key employees likely to retire in the next five years? Recruiting is more complex than simply scheduling on-campus interviews. It requires planning to be effective.
Far too often smaller organizations recruit to replace people leaving the organization. There’s nothing inherently wrong with recruiting to replace. Always recruiting from a reactive rather than a proactive position, however, results in short-term solutions. It also can result in stress in trying to find a good replacement as soon as possible. If your recruiting efforts are addressing only replacement needs, consider whether a regular recruiting effort can give you options when the need arises. To get started, consider participating in informational interviews. Job seekers use informational interviews to pique the interest of employers. Turn the tables and use informational interviews to determine what types of candidates are available. You may not be able to predict who will leave or whether the best candidate will be available when you’re ready to hire. Those are always risks. But systematic, regular recruiting can aid in strengthening your network making it easier and faster to replace the next departing employee.
Turning to more long-term considerations, in order to meet the needs of a changing market or to reach new customers, companies are focusing on diversifying their workforces. Many employers want to hire under-represented populations including veteran or disabled candidates but complain that those candidates are difficult to find. There could be a number of reasons why you’re not attracting the diverse candidates you seek. Often, however, the problem starts with the recruiting technique. If you are using the same recruiting techniques (e.g., on-campus recruiting) you’ve been using for decades, you may not be reaching the correct audience. You need to reach candidates where they are. Consider expanding the search to include less traditional methods such as social media. Develop relationships with community or non-profit organizations dedicated to finding employment opportunities for under-represented populations. Develop relationships with targeted professional organizations. There are many organizations that you’ve probably never heard of, such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) or the Women Chemists Committee of the American Chemical Society, that work to provide connections between their members and potential employers. Don’t forget the government resources. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry can assist you in finding skilled workers through its JobGateway service.
If you use a third-party to conduct recruiting, talk with that recruiter. Ask what the recruiters are doing to reach the candidates you want to attract. Don’t settle for vague descriptions of recruiting efforts. Ask for specifics. Do they recruit at community colleges? Do they have relationships with community organizations that post jobs? Are they using social media? Are they making an effort to find candidates that meet your long-term goals? Do they accept electronic inquiries, or do they require hard copies sent by mail? Unless your recruiter understands your needs and goals, the efforts are wasted.
Take time to develop an appropriate recruiting strategy. Eliminate methods that aren’t getting you the candidates you want. Focus on the methods that will create future success.
Jean Novak is co-chair of the Employer-Employee Relations Practice Group and member of the Business Services and Public and Non-Profit Practice Groups. She can be reached at 412-281-5423 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.