Recruiting and Retaining Employees in Today’s Job Market
The number of job openings reached a record high 7.3 million, according to a recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Combined with a low unemployment rate of 4%, job openings have exceeded the number of job seekers for 10 consecutive months.
“As the jobs and unemployment data normalizes over the coming months, we are confident the nation’s economy will continue to build on the strength seen in 2018 and the first report of 2019,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta.
In a job market such as this, where candidates seem to hold all the power, what can employers do when it comes to both hiring and retaining employees?
Reinventing the interview process
To begin with, employers need to take a long hard look at their interview process and consider making it easy and inviting for potential employees, or they will just go elsewhere. Gone are the days of bringing candidates in to interview then bringing them back for second or third interviews a week or two later. “When you have multiple job opportunities, you’re less willing to go back for multiple interviews,” says Adam Chuchla, account manager with TEKsystems, a global technology services/recruiting firm.
Employers also need to create an interactive interview process that affords two-way interaction; candidates don’t want to feel like they are being interrogated, according to Chuchla. A LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends 2017 report noted that 34% of recruiters listed investment in innovative interviewing tools as a top trend for the near future.
According to Chuchla, 65% of candidates say they make their decisions around the interview experience. The rapport they develop with a potential employer and the people they meet in an interview process is critical in their decision making. “Candidates want to feel wanted; and we encourage employers to offer quick feedback following an interview to express their interest/desire in the candidate,” says Chuchla.
In some cases, it may even be beneficial to offer the job on the spot after an interview if the candidate seems like a good fit. According to a Careerbuilder report, 66% of job seekers would wait only two weeks for a callback after which they consider the job a lost cause and move on to other opportunities. Companies that are willing to change their process and have adapted to new formats of interviewing are onboarding the talent they like and not losing out to their competitors.
Candidates care about company culture
As much as job seekers need to sell themselves to potential employers, those same employers have to sell candidates on their company. One way to accomplish this is during the interview process. “Employers should bring candidates into the office and have them meet with several different people on the team, to establish a connection and ensure they are not just inundating the candidate with questions,” says Chuchla.
In fact, many employers today agree that finding a cultural fit for their company is more important; they can teach the technical/job skills once a candidate is on board, but a cultural fit ensures a higher rate of retaining employees in the long term. According to Chuchla, this is where recruiters can help. They’ve already identified that candidates have the technical skills or expertise for a job. “We have established relationships with the company and know their culture and what they’re looking for and any initiatives coming up,” he says. “We work with potential employers to establish compelling reasons why someone would want this job, in this group, at this company, and then we can identify interested candidates that would be a good fit.”
While competitive compensation is still a key factor in a candidate’s decision, a 2017 Recruiter Sentiment Study by global recruiter MRINetwork, identified that other things like an emphasis on work/life balance and advancement opportunities were important as well.
What is most attractive to prospective hires? Company culture statistics.
According to candidates:
- Competitive Compensation Packages: 52%
- Emphasis on Work-life Balance: 38%
- Advancement Opportunities: 31%
- Collaborative Environment: 29%
- Training/Continued Education: 27%
- The Organization’s Ethics: 27%
- Work from Home Options: 25%
- Ease of Commute: 21%
- Fun Company Culture: 17%
- Access to Emerging Tech: 16%
- Sense of Camaraderie: 10%
- Other: 3%
The ability to work remotely and/or have a flexible work schedule rank high among the benefits employees are seeking in today’s job market. A Gallup 2016 study noted that Millennials made up 38% of the American workforce and were on track to make up 75% by 2025, so willingness to meet their needs, which are often quite different from the older workforce, is essential to remaining competitive in hiring.
Both candidates and recruiters are on the same page that company culture is crucial when it comes to standing out from other employers. However, according to the LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends 2017 report, after company culture the thing candidates are more interested in hearing about the company’s long-term vision and fun perks not its reputation.
Developing a strong online presence
In today’s job market, branding your company and having an online/social media presence is imperative. In a 2017 LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends Report, 80% of recruiters said employer branding has a significant impact on hiring talent. After finding a job offer, 64% of candidates said they research a company online, and 37% said they will move on to another job offer if they can’t find information on the company, per a Careerbuilder 2016 report.
The top five pieces of information candidates want employers to provide while researching where to work?
- Details on compensation packages
- Details on benefits packages
- Basic company information
- Details on what makes the company an attractive place to work
- Company mission, vision and values
Companies should be continually reviewing and updating their career site, ensuring it speaks to their brand and the type of employees they are looking to hire. Also, they need to be aware of what former and current employees are saying about their company. Websites such as Glassdoor.com are a great source for this information. Establishing a profile helps companies reach the talent they’re looking for by telling their story, and its brand ads allow companies to target audiences on the Glassdoor platform and across the Internet.
Relying on your best resource
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to fill an open position, however, is to utilize one of your best resources — your current employees. According to Jobvite, referrals are five times more effective than all other sources of hiring, and 46% of employees hired through referral programs stay for three years or more, while only 14% of those hired through job boards stay.
Using referrals can also help save time in the hiring process, as they are hired 55% faster than those candidates hired through a career site. Consider a monetary reward for employees when their referred candidate is hired and/or remains a certain length of time.
Once a position has been filled, keeping the employee becomes key. “At the end of the day, you want to be able to retain the talent,” says Chuchla. “It’s exponentially more expensive to hire an employee than retain one.”
Again, current employees are one of your best sources here. Talk to them. Look at exit interviews and onboarding feedback to find out what is keeping employees at your company and what’s driving them away.
Here are some tips for attracting and keeping your best employees:
- Minimize micromanagement and provide more independence by listening to employees’ goals and needs and being open minded to their suggestions.
- Provide employees with training and continuing education opportunities.
- Develop career growth paths for employees.
- Recognition, recognition, recognition!
In the search for new ideas and approaches, organizations could be overlooking one of the most easily executed strategies: employee recognition. According to Gallup Poll research, just one in three workers in the country strongly agree that they were given recognition or praise for doing good work in the past week. At any specified company, it’s not unusual for employees to feel their efforts are normally ignored. Further, employees who do not feel sufficiently recognized are twice as likely to find another job in the following year.
According to a Gallup Workplace Study, when asked what types of recognition were the most memorable, those questioned emphasized six methods in particular. And believe it or not, money isn’t the only (or the top) form of recognition.
- Public recognition or acknowledgement via an award, certificate or commendation
- Private recognition from a boss, peer or customer
- Receiving or obtaining a high level of achievement through evaluations or reviews
- Promotion or increase in scope of work or responsibility to show trust
- Monetary award such as a trip, prize or pay increase
- Personal satisfaction or pride in work
There are a lot of factors to consider when searching for candidates to hire. To ensure success, employers need to review their processes and see how they fit with today’s job market and today’s job seekers.