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October 25, 2013

The War For Talent Is Coming. What’s Your Strategy?

It’s generally accepted that during an economic downturn people tend to batten down the hatches and stay put in their jobs, even if that means taking a pay cut. So if you’re looking to fill a vacancy, be it for a newly created role or an existing one, it can be tough to attract the right candidates.

We’ve all read the newspaper stories of hundreds of applicants for that minimum wage barista job, but employers are still reporting difficulty finding the right person. It seems that the low-skilled job market is a free for all, but in the skilled sectors there is a much lower rate of labour turnover making it hard to attract applicants, let alone the right ones. Add to this the predicted labour shortages due to an ageing population and it’s easy to see the need to have a proper plan in place for attracting top talent. The war for talent is coming. What’s your strategy?

There are several tactics you can implement to effectively recruit the right people. You just need to think in broader terms than good recruitment advertising.

Build Your Brand.

To draw people to your company you need effective employer branding. Your brand should reflect your company, its ethos and aspirations. If you get people enthused about your company they will want to work for you. Branding isn’t just about a logo and colour scheme, it’s about the image the company projects, what feeling it evokes in people. Ways to build engagement with the brand include working social media platforms and having a company blog or even employee blogs to add a more personal edge.

Take Action.

Don’t just wait for someone to hand in their notice then stick a job ad up and sift through the CVs. You should create a pool of potential candidates through networking, whether that’s on sites like LinkedIn or from good old pressing the flesh. By building up a roster of “passive applicants” you can assess someone’s suitability, to a degree, long before any formal interview. This kind of approach means that when a vacancy comes up you already have a wide range of suitable candidates you can approach.

Craft Compelling Adverts.

Don’t view recruitment advertising as a wide net that hauls in a lot of applicants that are no good. Instead create adverts that will specifically target and attract only the best candidates. This is particularly true for companies that don’t have a brand name pull. The advert needs to grab people’s attention and make it clear why premium talent would want to work for you. Make it specific too. Let candidates know what will be expected of them and what skills you need. Vague adverts are off-putting especially for higher level jobs.

Make It Personal.

One of the biggest complaints from job seekers is the lack of response from companies during the application process. Try and progress each stage quickly, don’t leave applicants hanging and make sure each and every one gets a suitable response. Be courteous to those who don’t make the cut because it will leave them with a positive image of your company and you never know if they may have just the skills you need for a future vacancy. This is great for building good employer branding.

Look Inwards.

Sometimes the best way to fill a vacancy can be from employee referrals or internal promotion. Existing staff will have a good idea if one of their connections would be a good fit in the role and the company. Incentivising employee referrals can be a great way to get talent that sticks with you and also improves morale for existing employees. On the flipside promoting someone who already works for you means that you have a known quantity, one who you can develop further. Helping people progress builds employee loyalty and satisfaction. This will also open up a lower level position that may be easier to fill. This sort of approach is crucial for improving staff retention. Offering career progression, further training or other incentives to existing staff means that once the job market picks up you won’t find your talent being poached by competitors.