Exponential change doesn’t play favorites. It also doesn’t have a stop, pause or rewind button.
And no business function is likely to bear the burden of an accelerating rate of change than human resources, particularly in the area of talent acquisition (also known as recruiting).
So what does that mean for business in 2018?
The answer is pretty simple – shift or die.
If there was any doubt that a shortage of skilled workers exists, 2017 extinguished it. A combination of economic growth, falling unemployment and the lowest labor participation rate since 1978 is creating a “perfect labor storm.”
Despite lots of rhetoric, neither government nor academia can provide an education/retraining to employment solution fast enough to fill all of the open positions today.
C-suite frustration and anxiety was revealed in a recent Mercer Talent survey when 92 percent of employers believed the competition for talent will be fiercer next year. And that forecast appears to be the same among staffing and recruiting professionals.
What’s a company to do?
Despite this gloomy and challenging outlook, many companies make the situation much worse by using antiquated, cumbersome, unfriendly recruiting practices, processes and applications.
There are a number of quick fixes that most organizations can implement to attract and hire more qualified workers faster. They won’t solve the long-term problem but for the time being, they can give some breathing room.
Here are a few trends and recommendations.
THINK TALENT NETWORK
Most companies start from scratch each time a new position is opened. Why not build a network of potential candidates?
According to some pretty impressive research about candidate behavior by CareerBuilder, 80 percent of candidate visitors will join your network if asked. And 85 percent of them will leave a resume.
Since more than 80 percent of candidates are passive (they already have a job), a talent network gives those not-yet-ready-to-switch-job candidates time to get to know you. Careerbuilder research found that candidates apply 63 days after they join.
Building relationships doesn’t happen overnight but it’s well worth it. Having the ability to reach into your network can significantly reduce time-to-hire.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER
Many companies are finally getting serious about leaving the dark ages of recruiting and designing and branding career pages that engage candidates. Unfortunately, most of them do not extend the same attention to their job posting page.
That’s a massive misstep because only 7.5 percent of candidates come through the “front door” – the company career page. Most applicants are directed straight to the job details page from another source, and these pages often are dull, boring copy-and-pasted job descriptions.
Like the content on the customer-side of a website, even the job posting pages must include content that grabs attention, engages the candidate and encourages one to apply.
OBSESS ABOUT THE CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE
Ninety-three percent of applicants don’t make it past the job description. Ninety-five percent will abandon the application if it is more than two pages, especially if viewing and completing it on a mobile device.
Jobvite found that the abandonment rate jumped from 16 percent with 10 or fewer questions to nearly 50 percent with 20 questions. If it takes more than 15 minutes to complete an application, rates drop by a staggering 365 percent.
Create a candidate-friendly application. Ask only for the information you need to qualify (or disqualify) a candidate.
When one meets your minimum basic qualification, then ask to complete the multipage application and/or submit a resume.
LONG LIVE PEOPLE ANALYTICS
Analytics isn’t the Holy Grail but it’s game over for companies that attempt to acquire and manage talent without it. More importantly, real-time reporting is critical.
Companies capture ridiculous amounts of people data but deny and ignore the predictive intelligence that lies within it. Tracking the number of career site visitors and completion rates for applications are two simple and yet essential metrics that few companies have at their fingertips.
Time to fill open positions is increasing dramatically and is made much worse by unnecessary recruitment pipeline delays and inefficiencies.
When seeking difficult-to-find top talent in the proverbial jobseeker haystack, frequent marketing and recruitment adjustments are essential. Doing it without real-time reliable reporting is like playing recruitment roulette.
Ira S. Wolfe of Wind Gap is president of Lehigh Valley-based Success Performance Solutions and author of the book “Recruiting in the Age of Googlization,” available on amazon.com. He can be reached at [email protected]