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A Tighter Hiring Market Means Companies Must Up Their Game

Today’s hiring market favors employers over candidates. But within the next few years, that’s expected to change. “There is and will be talent available in the market,” says Donna Snyder, director of talent acquisition at Nesco Resource. “However, companies that are not differentiating themselves, either in how they market themselves or the position, may struggle to attract the right talent for the job.” She says companies need to ensure they’re providing the tools, coaching, training or mentoring new employees need to succeed. Otherwise, they’re setting themselves — and their new hires — up for failure. Smart Business spoke with Snyder about how companies can improve their recruiting and retention efforts. 

What areas of recruiting do most companies need to improve?

The worst thing a company can do is post overly simplified job descriptions. The typical ad with its list of requirements doesn’t impart anything to applicants about the company’s culture, and leaves those who don’t check all the boxes no way to talk about their transferable skills. Instead, give candidates a sense of what the organization is about in terms of its values and culture, and enough information about the job and its responsibilities to convey the essence of the position. 

There are myriad places to publish recruiting ads today. To find what’s most effective takes trial and error because what works in one market for one type of position might not work in another. 

Where do companies tend to go wrong once they have applicants for open positions?

Companies tend to eliminate candidates too readily based on the words or titles on a candidate’s resume rather than the value of the work they’ve performed, their responsibilities and what they have learned that could apply to the position. Being too literal about specific experience requirements ignores transferable skills.

There’s also the tendency to stick to traditional ways of thinking about longevity or length of employment. For example: a gap in employment doesn’t necessarily mean a candidate wasn’t employable. Sometimes, lengthy employment with one organization can signal a lack of ambition or unwillingness to change. Look deeper and have a conversation with candidates who otherwise seem to have high potential.

Companies should also work to balance how much interaction they have with applicants in the hiring process. It’s true that multiple interactions give companies a better sense of the candidates and what motivates them, but be careful that the process doesn’t go overboard and become painful for applicants.

What are the common causes of retention issues once a hire is made?

A bad hire could be the result of a company’s reluctance to present the more challenging aspects of the role and ask candidates questions to see how comfortable they are with those realities. Companies should be straightforward and share the elements of the culture, role and working conditions that aren’t flattering.

Onboarding can also be an area with significant problems. It’s a key component in employee retention, but is often overlooked. Onboarding starts before a new hire shows up on the first day, helps them get acclimated quickly into their new position and is their introduction to colleagues, the company and its clients. A bad hire doesn’t always mean the company picked the wrong person. It just might not be properly preparing candidates for what’s to come. 

In what ways might a staffing agency help companies address their hiring issues?

Staffing agencies are focused entirely on recruiting and have an army of people doing the work typically done by one or two people in an HR department. Companies should look beyond their traditional hiring approach. Get creative with how and where job ads are posted, how they’re written and the requirements for a position. And ensure each candidate is provided with the tools they need to succeed in the company from day one.  As competition for talent intensifies, companies that can find novel ways of reaching, attracting and retaining candidates will find success.

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