Jo Gudman Rasmussen is an international HR and Recruitment consultant for the People & Capacity Group based in Denmark. She has 20 years of experience when it comes to developing and pushing HR professional standards in various organisations such as SAS, Doctors without Borders and FLSmidth A/S to a higher level (see full bio below). Her take on the modern age of recruitment: “We have to be bold and develop the recruitment process, away from job ads and boring interviews as the developing job markets require new ways of hiring and looking at attracting the right talent.”
As the Eurostat 2020 Employment Report suggests, the job market today has changed and the number of job posts clearly exceeds the number of qualified candidates. So if you do the quick math, it’s not difficult to figure out who holds the right cards in this game.
You’ll need to stop being arrogant and play your cards right instead.
The trend that there are more vacancies than there are suitable candidates means that you need to work hard to attract candidates and even harder to attract the right candidates - not only in times when you have a specific vacancy to fill but all year around.
The good news is that there are many small things you can tweak in your company to make your recruitment more human and approachable for outside talent:
1. Open the door and your website
Remember that your recruitment process begins long before you write the job ad, or even think about it because it begins on your website, and on all online media platforms where you’re represented, conferences - and well, anywhere and anytime you can think of where your potential candidates search for information about you or meet you.
On your website you need to guide your candidates through your recruitment process, make it easy to find open positions, balance expectations, inform them on whom to contact, put photos and contact information on all contact persons. Remember that everybody does their research on the internet and the first contact with you should feel like an open door, and not like a hassle or a closed members club.
Imagine that you could have an ongoing flow of talent into your company
Do you use and encourage unsolicited applications? Most companies, unfortunately, don’t, which is a shame and waste of potential talent. So what if, through your welcoming website, you could have an ongoing flow of talent into the company, with just the effort of inviting the talent in and taking them seriously?
You should also involve your employees. Make videos, where they can show and explain what it’s like to work in the company. They’re your best card in the game to attract new talent and to “sell” your company culture and to show what makes them happy at work.
2. Use your employees as ambassadors - with referral systems
Besides involving your employees on your online platforms and in events, you should involve your employees in attracting new talent.
In practice, that means that e.g. John, who works in the sales department, knows Maria, and he thinks that she would fit perfectly in the team and could add some essential knowledge that they need. John informs HR, and HR takes immediate action from there.
A functioning referral system requires that you take both it and your employees seriously, and you need to actively communicate. There’s a lot of amazing software out there, so you don’t need to spend a lot of time and money on it before you can start. I’ve had good experiences with ZAO and Greenhouse.
Employees that refer new candidates stay longer, are more productive and feel a larger commitment towards their company. Employees that get referred to the company stay longer, are more productive and feel a connection to the company from day one.
Disney World is a great example on how to use a referral system – they give all their employees business cards, with the text: You’ve been discovered! So where ever their employees spot new talent they can advocate for Disney World and help attract talent that fits the company profile.
So remember to inform your employees on which profiles you expect to search for, be honest about the company’s needs and expectations – and suddenly you’ll have many eyes and ears, out looking for talent. And if you think about how many networks the company suddenly are represented in, that is something money can’t buy. We know, and connect, with each other from all places today, and we find new talent in the fitness centers or at wine tastings.
3. Reward your employees - but not with cool cash!
It needs to be fun for your employees to refer new people and you should reward John, and also his whole team, for their talent spotting. It’s a team sport to find new team members, so everyone should benefit and engage in it.
Give the team a trip to an amusement park, cake for the whole team (why not the whole office!), fill the office with balloons and make a board with “Headhunter of the month” and fill it with the story of John and Maria. Actively show how much the referrals are appreciated, and that it has your full support.
Imagine when an employee seeks new challenges, but has already identified a new potential candidate for the position. What a dream scenario, that could be real, if you create a working environment where you trust, encourage and respect your employees to assist the company in finding the talent you need.
4. Open house events or interesting debates.
When was the last time that you went to a job fair and thought it was worth the money, time and effort? Did you reach and attract new talent? The majority of times, I’ll bet you that it wasn’t worth it – and mainly because the mass is too broad and not well defined.
A real Open Door policy will attract the new, right, talent.
How about having an Open House event instead and have relevant employees or experts on the field give talks? The more you know about what interests and carries meaning for your talent, the better you can target your communication to them. You need to offer something that the candidates think is valuable, and at the same time, you’re given a unique opportunity to plant the idea with the candidates on how they could see themselves working for you, in the future.
So be bold, open your doors, be inviting instead of exclusive, show off your employees and let them speak on your behalf. Most important of all, you need to do more than just write a job ad and sit back and wait for the talent to find you. While this requires more work on your part, it’s totally worth it - for your bottom line, your employees and your future competitive edge.
You can find more information about Jo's work on the website of the People & Capacity Group.