All businesses want to attract and retain the right talent, it’s one of the most fundamental drivers of organisational success. However, today’s labour market is becoming increasingly competitive, fuelled by talent shortages, wage growth and a record low national unemployment rate. For organisations that are not just looking for people, but rather looking for the best people, it’s time for some creative and visionary ideas to transform your talent acquisition strategy.

#1 Widen your talent pools with video interviews

The ability to conduct interviews remotely has been around for some time now; pre-COVID it was an option often used when one or more of the interview participants were geographically dispersed. The technology currently available and our increased familiarity with virtual platforms, means synchronous (live) and asynchronous (pre-recorded) video interviews are growing in popularity – reducing time and increasing the speed of hiring processes for employers, while also giving candidates control over how and when they interact. The big win for employers is the ability to tap into wider talent pools; video interviews enable candidates beyond the immediate location to participate in the recruitment process.

Our advice: Don’t dismiss video as impersonal, insisting on face-to-face interviews. With the increasing prevalence of remote working, the ability to interact effectively online may just well be a future indicator of success.

#2 Use data and people analytics to your advantage

Most organisations have a plethora of people related data and analytics available to them but aren’t necessarily leveraging the technology effectively. Recruitment and applicant tracking systems have AI and algorithms to help you screen applicants against certain ‘winning’ variables while also avoiding bias. Internal human resources information systems apply machine-learning to among other things, assist with managing employee attrition. Marketing and social media platforms give you real-time insights into your employer brand. You could use your data to help identify where your top talent is coming from and apply that information to refine your recruiting and marketing efforts – everything from crafting more compelling job descriptions, through to writing job ads that get attention. It’s all about streamlining and improving your talent acquisition approach.

Our advice: Data driven recruiting can help with decision making, increasing productivity and efficiency and speeding up the time-to-hire. There is however a human element to recruitment, centred around relationships and connections, that is unlikely to be replicated by an automated process.

#3 Personality assessments for hiring

The ultimate goal when going through a recruitment process is to find that one person who will thrive in a given role. There’s only so much you can discover about a candidate based on their career background and even in your interactions with them through the hiring process, there is limit to how well you can really get to know a person – and of course, bias can always get in the way of decision making. That’s where personality assessments come in as an effective, unbiased screening tool that provide targeted insights into a candidate’s behaviour, skills and personality. Employers and candidates can be put off with the idea of a “test” but the big advantage with personality assessments is that as well as delving into an individual’s character traits, they give an indication of whether a person would be successful in a given role – this is a win for all parties.

Our advice: Done right, personality assessments can play a useful role in an objective and robust hiring process, that’s assuming the insights are interpreted and applied correctly. It is but one of many tools used during the selection process and shouldn’t be relied upon as the sole determinant of hiring success.

#4 Build an EVP that stands out from the competition

Your employee value proposition (EVP) is the balance of rewards and benefits you offer your employees in return for their performance within the workplace. Often considered your magnet for attracting candidates, your EVP has to be real and meaningful to get cut-through. In a candidate-driven market it can be challenging to standout from the crowd – most organisations are aware of their EVP and put in the effort to find the right balance of compensation, benefits, rewards and culture that employees value. The winning strategy for your EVP is to focus on one distinctive component, while ensuring you’re not ignoring the basics. Maybe it’s your culture or people that is the absolute standout for your business, or the growth paths/advancement you offer, or perhaps your business has a really strong social purpose. It’s not always a competition based on who pays the most. As an example, candidates are often drawn to working for Air New Zealand because of the nature of the work and the exposure and opportunity the company provides.

Our advice: Your EVP goes beyond salary and benefits – it’s the answer to the question “why should I work for this organisation instead of somewhere else?”. It doesn’t mean creating a mind-blowing, exhaustive list of rewards but rather focusing on something meaningful and real to your organisation.

#5 Focus DE&I efforts on retention not attraction

Instead of using your diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) strategy as a tool to attract new talent to your business, focus instead on the people currently in your business and how their experience relates to retaining top talent. It’s about understanding the gaps between what you think is happening and the reality for all groups of people in your organisation. You’ll gain a lot of learnings that you can use to improve the workplace and it’s this story about what meaningful efforts you’re putting into DE&I that you want to share with talent markets.

Our advice: The first step in retaining top talent is creating an environment where people feel comfortable to be who they are and where they are encouraged to reach their potential. If you’ve got that sorted, attracting new hires is the easy part!

#6 Tailor roles and work experiences

For many organisations, particularly those with 50+ employees, it’s likely that you are not tapping into the wide variety of skills that already exist within your business. Instead of looking externally to fill a particular need, you may just have the skills and knowledge you’re looking for already in your organisation. With the rise in the gig-economy – freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires – coupled with the increased demand for worker flexibility, it’s time to get creative and apply some out of the box thinking to how you structure roles and work. Part of this new way of thinking is to match skills to work, not skills to job titles. Someone in your accounts team may have an interest or talent in IT or project management, perhaps you have a person in operational delivery who is also a great mentor/coach, you may have a team member looking to reduce their hours to focus on higher education or volunteering outside of work. How can you tap into those skills, knowledge and preferences to reimagine work?

Our advice: It’s about understanding your own internal talent pool and how to best utilise your human potential. Employers stuck with the mindset of 9 to 5 traditional roles, may find themselves left behind.

#7 Reimagine employee referral

Employee referrals is a method of recruitment that relies on sourcing talent through your existing employees. Recruitment is all about building talent pools, and employees are an often-overlooked network of talent. Who better to identify the best candidates for a role than someone who already knows the organisation and has an idea of the type of person who would succeed in that environment? Referral programmes can be an effective way of reaching passive talent – people who are not actively looking for a new role – so they can be a good source of high-performing individuals which broadens your talent pool. Employee referrals can be as simple as tapping into the social connections of your existing employees – encouraging employees to share job adverts on their social channels for example – through to more sophisticated use of technology to generate an employee referral engine.

Our advice: The best employee referral programme is one that works – it’s well-structured and produces the right outcomes. If your current approach isn’t doing this, then it’s time for a rethink.

#8 Hire internally?

If you can’t find the right talent through traditional recruitment techniques, perhaps the person you need is already in your organisation – or at least has the potential to develop into a role. And if they aren’t, then what does that say about your existing approach to nurturing talent and managing performance. It’s not just your high potentials – a person with the ability and aspiration to rise to and succeed in a more senior role – that you need to focus on. Does your approach to performance management create an environment where all people are performing to the best of their abilities? If they were producing the highest-quality work, would there be a need for a new role?

Our advice: If you continually look outside of your organisation to bring in “high-performing” talent then there’s something not quite right with what’s happening inside of your business that could mean your people are disengaged with their work.

#9 Amplify your efforts on social

In recruitment, reaching the best possible talent requires a well thought out advertising strategy and in today’s market that means focussing on where people are most active; online. It’s likely that your company is using online advertising channels and social media, for sales and marketing opportunities so why not also include it as part of your recruitment strategy? Traditional channels like job boards and print advertising still have a place but social recruiting is gaining in popularity and rightly so. When done well, social recruiting is a powerful tool for reaching passive candidates, it is also highly targeted which means your messages will hit the right people. Choosing the right social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok – depends on your target audience and the unique functionality of each platform. For example, Instagram is best for images and videos, giving you an ideal platform to highlight your company culture.

Our advice: Remember that it’s highly likely that potential candidates are looking at your online channels including social media, to gain a sense of your organisation. Having no presence says about as much as having a poor presence.

#10 Attend career conferences or host your own

If you have a large number of roles available consider holding your own job fair, or partner with ‘like’ businesses for dual promotion. Career conferences are all about building your talent pools, it’s a form of creative sourcing that is not solely restricted to attracting graduate students. There was a recent example in Christchurch when the airport held its own job fair comprising 20 employers from the wider airport campus with “hundreds of vacancies” on offer. This replicated a similar initiative where 5,000 job seekers attended a mass recruitment drive for Auckland Airport. Once considered an “old-fashioned” approach to recruitment, there’s an immediacy to job fairs and career conferences that appeals to both employers and job seekers – you’re making connections and matching people to roles in a short period of time.

Our advice: Virtual or in-person, job fairs are an effective method to improve speed to hire and, in some instances, can provide a better candidate experience. We would however recommend a hybrid approach to talent acquisition that means you can quickly respond to any new trends.

Need help?

Need help attracting, retaining and engaging talented people? Let’s talk.

The Decipher Team

To stay on top of current recruitment trends and technologies follow Decipher Group on LinkedIn.

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