Is your recruitment strategy delivering the candidates you need? Here’s how to start revamping your approach.

Does your organization’s recruitment strategy need an update? It can be tempting to assume that the labor market is to blame when you’re having trouble finding qualified candidates or keeping new hires.

But it may be time to renovate your employee recruitment strategy. How can you know if you need to make changes, and what changes could help? Read on.

Recruitment strategy red flags

The three biggest indicators that it’s time to readjust your recruitment approach are:

  1. High turnover
  2. An empty or near-empty pipeline
  3. An increase in rejected offers

Each of these can indicate a specific strategic problem.

  1. High turnover can indicate that you’re not hiring the right candidates, especially if they’re leaving due to poor culture fit or because the role doesn’t match their skills and interests. 
  2. A lack of applicants can be a sign that you’re not reaching your ideal candidates where they are now. Most likely, they’re currently working for someone else, and they may not be actively looking for a new job. If you’re only posting your job openings on job boards, your ideal candidates may never see them.
  3. A high rate of turndowns may mean that you need to move faster on the vetting and offer process. For example, if you interview one person and then wait three weeks for the next person, by the time you decide you want the first person, the first person may well be gone – hired by another company that moved faster or given a counteroffer by their current employer

Next-level recruitment strategies

If your organization is dealing with one or more of these issues, or if you’re getting a lot of applicants who simply aren’t right for the job, here are some ways to refurbish your recruitment strategy plan.

1. Don’t wait for candidates to come to you.

Especially when unemployment is low, companies must source for good talent. That means letting go of the expectation that candidates will flock to every job opening.

It also means working to reach passive candidates who already have a job but who might be willing to switch for the right opportunity, mission and culture.

2. Get clear on your employer value proposition.

Convincing passive candidates to make time to engage with you means selling your value to them. You may have a great company, you may have built it from scratch, but that alone isn’t enough to draw great candidates unless you have an appealing employer brand.

Instead, most organizations must educate and sell their opportunity to prospective employees.

It’s important to promote your company to the recruiters you work with, too. Just sending a job out to an agency isn’t going to generate much enthusiasm by itself. Help the agency help you by letting them know what’s appealing about your employer brand. 

Do you have a work from home policy? Do you have anything that is a plus that a candidate might be excited about, like rapid growth and opportunities for upward mobility?

Let candidates and recruiters know.

3. Rethink job requirements.

A generation ago, employers held back the flood of applicants for each job opening by listing lots of required skills and experience. Now that approach can backfire by sharply limiting an already small pool of candidates.

To fill your pipeline and help you find the right people, it’s wise to spend some time deciding what skills and experience are musts and what you can train for. Then you can update your job postings to cast a wider net.

For example, not all salespeople have sales experience when they start. Sometimes they were teachers first. That can work because they’re educators, and in sales they educate people on a product.

In this case, the skillset – the ability to teach – matters more than the details of the experience a candidate may bring to a role, if you have the resources to train them properly to succeed.

4. Find a way to move faster.

One way to reduce the number of rejected offers is to move multiple candidates through the vetting process at the same time. If you need to engage outside help to do that, it can be worth it.

A structured, defined timeline where you can interview several candidates and make decisions quickly shows candidates that you respect their time. It also reduces the likelihood they’ll take another offer while they wait to hear from your company.

5. Understand what motivates your applicants.

When there’s a good match between applicant motivation and what your company offers, you can save time by making offers only to the right candidates. And hiring those people can help reduce turnover.

For example, a small nonprofit likely won’t be the right fit for a candidate who’s motivated by a bigger salary. But it could be a great fit for a candidate who is mission-oriented and wants to make a difference in the community.

6. Build relationships with your candidates.

Some kind of applicant tracking system is almost imperative in today’s day and age. That’s because you may need to go back to past applicants for future job openings, and because they might be able to refer people to you if you maintain a connection.

It’s more efficient for your business to track your applicants and stay in touch. Launching a fresh search every time is costly and time-consuming. It also means your organization misses out on opportunities to engage with candidates who already know your brand.

Instead, consider finding a way to regularly stay in touch with past candidates and to educate people on your company. Nurture the interest they’ve already shown in your organization, and you can build trust and a stronger relationship that may lead them to apply for another role later or to refer a peer to your company.

Part of maintaining those relationships involves how to treat candidates who don’t get the job. The ideal approach is to make sure that you treat everyone with respect, especially when you have to inform them they didn’t get the position they interviewed for. A best practice is to call every single person that had a face to face interview, rather than simply sending an email.

That way, the time they invested in applying with you doesn’t just lead to a black hole or an abrupt end to the relationship. And it means you won’t have candidates complaining on review sites that they never heard back from your team or just got a form email after interviews – something that can discourage other people from applying.

The golden rule here is to be respectful of candidates’ time, regardless of whether they’re the right candidate for your company or not.

If they take the time to come and talk with you, it’s courteous to spend at least 30 minutes with them, even if it’s clear they’re not a match. That conversation can be the foundation for referrals or another application later for a different role.

Summing it all up

By seeking out candidates where they are, making your value proposition clear, rethinking required skills, moving faster and developing stronger relationships with candidates, you may be able to reduce turnover, fill your pipeline and get more offers accepted.

Ready to step up your recruitment strategy? Get more tips when you download our free magazine: The Insperity guide to building a better team.