Winning the War for Talent

Just recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 3,700,000 job openings on the last business day in March, which was an increase from 3,500,000 job openings announced for January and February. That number reflects published openings comprised of jobs that are advertised either online or in print format. What we believe is that the 3,700,000 number only represents approximately 20% of the jobs currently available in the marketplace – up to another 80% of job openings are unpublished and are filled through networking, word of mouth, or a recruiter. 3,700,000 published job openings now becomes a total of 18,500,000 published and unpublished openings.

The war for talent may not be back in full swing, but it is warming up significantly. The challenge now for hiring managers is to make a conscious effort to evaluate and improve their recruiting platform and attraction strategy.

Track Effectiveness of Current Methods
Of the hires made in the past two years, what was the originating source of each of those hires? Include hires no longer with the organization if possible. Once that data has been compiled, do not make a ruling based on number of hires alone. Just because more hires were made from recruiters does not mean that the internal referral program should be abandoned entirely (as an example). With each hiring method, take a look at what is working and what can be improved. This SRA Update will explore some of the most common hiring methods and areas to improve in each.

Job Board and Internet Postings
How compelling a story does your “Join Us” section tell on your organization’s website? Consider sharing testimonials from recent hires who can attest to the significant differences now that they are with your firm. Share Newsletters or Quarterly Updates with photos from events and cultural initiatives. Contact your city’s Business Journal and investigate any “Best Place to Work” awards or accolades to which you could apply. A video with clips from around the office, community, and spotlighting superstars can be an effective way to share “why your firm” to any prospect considering applying to your organization.

Evalute any postings on either your organization’s website or on job boards. Is the posting a job description that includes specific requirements of the position like the number of years of experience, or the type of degree someone needs, or the listing of soft skills that are desired? If so, consider replacing that information with information which highlights the challenges, or responsibilities and authority to be experienced by the individual who fills the role. Successful postings sell first, and screen second. Even if a candidate is unqualified, the employer should desire to be in the position to turn that candidate away, instead of missing the opportunity to evaluate that individual in the first place. Evaluate how much ad space is currently being used to explain the fundamental duties and responsibilities of the position, and how much is used to attract and sell passive candidates to the organization.

Internal Referral Programs
With most internal referral programs, the success does not rest with the “prize” associated with the referral, but rather with the consistent reminder that the program exists and the path for growth is an incredible one! How frequently are “awards” distributed, and how public is the announcement that hires were made due to a referral? Employees do not refer friends and colleagues because of a cash reward, but due to a deeply rooted belief in the opportunity that exists for those friends and colleagues once they have joined the firm.

Partnering with Recruiters
When was the last time a recruiter shared with you the specific story they would be sharing throughout the market regarding your opportunity and organization? Not only is it important to control the message being delivered, it is important to not miss out on the chance to generate some tremendous buzz as a result of canvassing the passive market. When an organization retains Sanford Rose Associates®, it ensures that the client organization’s name and story are being shared with passive yet viable individuals in the industry (with the exception of a confidential replacement or if client requests otherwise). This results in hundreds of individuals within your competition learning about your growth, innovation, and announcements. Some past clients of SRA have actually engaged their Associate not to fill an open position, but to simply proactively reach out to select individuals and generate a buzz or momentum around a new product launch, division, or significant expansion. This helps our clients maintain a proactive pipeline of prospective hires and ensures putting them in a position to land the best talent on an ongoing basis.

Finding People Who Make a Difference®
To learn more about successful strategies for winning the war for talent, reach out to your Sanford Rose Associates® executive search consultant today.

—Karen Schmidt