By Jessica Stitz, MBA, SHRM-SCP
Today’s labor market is one of the tightest we’ve seen. Employees have been leaving their jobs in record numbers, and now a lot of us are asking, “How am I going to fill these open positions?”
Recruiters report they are getting less than half the number of applications they were receiving prior to the pandemic, and that candidates who do apply often have other job offers by the time they’re contacted for an interview.
These challenges make it more important than ever to stay competitive in your recruitment and retention strategy.
We’re here to help you successfully fill your roles and keep your team intact. This blog post outlines our 5 tips for filling open positions. For an in-depth discussion of recruiting tools, be sure to sign up for our upcoming free webinar.
Webinar: 5 Tips to Fill Your Open Positions
December 14, 2021 11:00 am – 12:00 pm (MST)
Tip #1: Invest in Your People
Upskill and reskill your employees so they gain new skills that will benefit themselves and the business in the long run.
Upskilling is when organizations give employees the opportunity to learn and grow within their current positions.
Reskilling means learning an entirely new set of skills that will lead to a new career or role.
Why invest company resources in employee training?
As we explored in our blog post on the Great Resignation, employees crave opportunities to grow at their jobs. Upskilling and reskilling are ways for your employees to learn and grow with your organization so they don’t feel like they have to quit to grow in their careers.
Plus, supporting professional development shows your employees you are invested in them as individuals, and when your employees know that, they’re more productive. According to Achievers, 91% of employers report an increase in productivity for employees who have been upskilled. That’s not a bad return on investment!
Save time and money on recruitment and onboarding
Upskilling and reskilling also save time and money on recruiting and hiring new employees. The average amount it costs to recruit, hire, and onboard new employees is about six to nine months of salary according to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Our takeaway: Offering opportunities for employees to gain new skills significantly improves employee morale and retention. This helps create a more agile and profitable organization.
Tip #2: Know your Values and Purpose
You’ve may have heard this before: One of the most significant decisions you make is who you bring into your organization. The people you hire are going to have an impact on your organization and its culture, so you want to hire well. Don’t settle for someone who will be “just okay,” even though it might be tempting. Hiring the wrong person will cost your organization.
We’ve found that the most successful hires happen when the employee’s and organization’s values align. Do you know your organization’s values? What are they? What is your organization’s purpose? It is so important to know and be able to explain the answers to these questions. People want to join organizations they believe in.
Do your employees know your organization’s values and purpose? If not, start there. Then ensure your values and purpose are embedded in your recruitment marketing.
Our takeaway: Applicants want to know what your organization is about without having to dig through your website. Include this information front and center on the job posting.
Tip #3: Optimize Recruitment Processes
Expand your sources for candidates
Unless you’re Google, “post and pray” is no longer going to work for finding new hires. Your team has to be actively recruiting and sourcing candidates. When it comes to sourcing applicants, think outside the box. Here are some ideas:
- Can you partner with local colleges and universities to find graduates?
- Find local organizations to connect you with populations that might not find your postings.
- If possible, offer remote work to attract people in more regions.
- Have your employees participate in the recruitment process. Consider offering a referral bonus for new hires that stay with the organization for 6 months or a year.
Build a user-friendly application
Take time to optimize the job posting and the application process. Do you really need all 15 qualifications you have listed on the job description, or might a candidate just need 10 of them to be successful? What does your application process say about your company?
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, you could lose up to 60% of applicants if your application is too cumbersome or has technical issues. This can deter qualified applicants and damage your employer brand. Give some thought into what a potential candidate might experience when completing your application. Fill it out yourself if it has been a while.
Streamline your interview process
Is your interview process structured, or do you wing it each time? Without a systematic interview process that you move all candidates through, it will be impossible to make comparisons between candidates. Your organization may also come across as disorganized.
How you treat a candidate during the interview process tells them a lot about your company. 80% of people choose one company over another because of the relationships they make in the hiring process.
If you treat applicants like they’re a statistic, or like they’re lucky to have an interview with you, then you are likely to lose the best candidates.
Prioritize the hiring process
At TTC, we have repeatedly seen organizations lose their best candidates because they didn’t prioritize the hiring process.
According to Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, “Employers who are transparent with candidates and move efficiently through the process will create a positive experience for potential hires and gain a recruiting edge.” The recommended time frame for interviewing and making an offer is two to four weeks. If it takes longer than four weeks, you are likely going to lose the best candidates.
Survey past candidates
Are you having candidates go through your entire application and interview process, only to turn your offer down? They may not be getting a good impression of your organization. Survey past candidates who have turned down offers to find out why. You may see an issue that needs to be addressed.
It might be one of the following:
- The process moved too slowly
- They didn’t have a good repertoire with the interview team
- The job description and actual job didn’t match up
- The compensation was not competitive enough
- They read negative reviews about your company
- They don’t understand your company’s values and purpose
Our takeaway: We cannot stress enough how crucial the candidate experience is, especially when they have multiple opportunities.
Tip #4: Make the Right Offer
The latest research shows that money is not the primary motivator when candidates accept offers, but it can definitely be a de-motivator. Employees want to be paid fairly for their time and experience. Even if you create a great work environment and are a supportive boss, low compensation is going to severely hurt your chances of hiring the best candidate, or even a good one.
Your employees’ time is worth something, and if candidates don’t feel that you are appropriately valuing them, they will choose another employer. If they do accept, they are going to start out demotivated.
When you make an offer to a candidate, don’t just make it about the compensation. Candidates want to know about all the benefits, including paid time off, work location, and if there are specific office hours.
Our takeaway: Give them as much detail as possible so they can make an informed decision.
Tip #5: Pre-board and Onboard
Pre-boarding and onboarding have never been more important. According to Deloitte, 22% of turnover occurs within a new employee’s first 45 days. Many studies have proven that retention and engagement is directly tied to pre-boarding and onboarding practices.
Pre-boarding is the communication and integration into the team that takes place in the time between when a candidate accepts an offer and the day they start working for you. It’s is all about reducing uncertainty for your new employees.
Aberdeen found 81% retention of new hires for organizations that use pre-boarding. After candidates accept, contact them to say you are excited to have them on board, and let them know what to expect in their first week. If they are coming in person, let them know where to park, how to get into the building, the plans for lunch on day one, and any other relevant information.
Employees stay because of connections with their managers and other team members. Therefore, you need to build time into the onboarding process for new hires to get to know their teams and develop relationships. The onboarding process needs to communicate to your new employees that you value them, you need them, and you’re invested in them.
Our takeaway: Communicate with your new employee from the moment they accept your offer, and integrate them into the team as quickly as possible.