Talent Acquisition Strategies: Optimizing Your Recruitment Process
Are you having trouble hiring the best talent for your open positions? You’re not alone. Even with significant unemployment from COVID-19, you still might not be getting the right applicants in your inbox because you’re not utilizing the best practices that guide talent acquisition strategies.
There’s nothing more important than growing your team, but other companies feel the same way. You’re not alone in your attempts to get candidates. Sure, you’ve posted on Monster.com. You even called up your social media team and insisted they share your openings on LinkedIn. You’ve hit up local job boards. Perhaps, in a moment of desperation, you’ve even posted on Craigslist. And still, nothing, nada, zip. Your potential applicant pool is looking emptier than a crawfish boil without seasoning.
What’s wrong? Most companies recruit only when they realize they have a job opening, and they do it desperately. But candidates are constantly searching for opportunities and new companies.
If you’re serious about recruiting top talent to your team, building a recruitment funnel is the only way to establish an excited, engaged applicant pool that is on the edge of their seats in anticipation of your new career openings. Learn more about the talent acquisition strategies we use to optimize the recruitment process today.
8 Talent Acquisition Strategies for Success
#1. Consider Your Hiring Needs Long-Term
If you’re planning to grow your business in the long term, then you should be considering your hiring needs for the long term as well. Many talent acquisition strategies take time and resources to implement effectively, so it’s important to start thinking about your long-term hiring needs sooner rather than later.
In particular, be sure to consider each of the following:
- Main Hires: Write down the most likely hires that you’ll be making in the years to come. You’re going to want to make sure that these potential applicants start seeing a lot more about your organization between now and then.
- Admin Staff: Don’t forget about the administrative staff you will need to support your organization’s growth. At what point are you likely to need a receptionist? An office manager? When will you need an in-house bookkeeper, accountant, or other financial professional?
- Five-Year Goals: Consider your current level of growth, as well as what your organization will look like if that growth continues. Will you have new levels of management? New offices? New cities, states, or even countries where you’ll be operating? What goals do you want to reach over the next five years, and what will you need to accomplish them?
A career is one of the most significant investments an individual can make. For many of us, we’ll spend more time at our workplace than with our friends. You’re going to need to do a lot in order to get someone to make that commitment to your company—building an amazing culture does help—and knowing more about these hires will get you on your way.
#2. Build employee personas to better understand who you’re going to hire
Start with their job titles first. If you have followed our previous talent acquisition strategy, then you should already have a list of hires planned out for the upcoming years.
For a fully fleshed out talent acquisition campaign, however, you’ll want to expand on those job titles with “employee personas.” These will be similar to the customer or buyer personas you’ve likely built for your business.
Think about successful past hires and candidates. Try to identify any trends among them and determine what kind of person fits best at your organization. Consider building out personas with the following:
- Career path and background
- Educational attainment
- Tenure and experience
- Work habits and behaviors
- Personality traits and interests
- Motivations and career goals
- Workplace and career challenges
Of course, your personas won’t include things like genders or ages (discrimination lawsuits are no fun). But they should have the skills, capabilities, qualities, and any specific degrees or certifications you’re going to be seeking.
Planning ahead for a new CFO? You’ll want someone numbers-oriented who has their eye on the bottom line. If you’re going to be building a more creative team, then that’s likely less important. Only after really peering inward will you be able to establish who you’re going to try attracting to your organization.
3. Create permanent Careers and Culture pages, as well as specific pages for any open or upcoming positions, on your website
Many organizations only add a Careers page to their site when they’re in need of a job. That is six months too late.
If you’re planning for long-term growth, and hiring goals, then you need to think about your hiring page as a years-long SEO marketing effort. This means building a foundational page on your website that Google can index, and you can utilize to link-build for as a time, with a clear call to action that incentivizes users to provide their information, even if they’re not interested in your available positions today (or even if you don’t have any open positions today.)
The beginning to this project is to actually detail your Careers page. This has to be more than simply a list of job benefits. It should make people feel like they’re actually in your company, at your huddles, and a part of your team. A good Careers page should make mention of:
- What your office is like, physically: How does it look and feel
- What’s a day in the office like? Do employees eat lunch together, are there pups barking about, are people listening to music on headphones or chatting it up?
- Company values, mission, and vision
- What are the paths for careers instead of jobs? Can staff work their way up from the position they’re applying for right now?
- Why do people love working at your company instead of the competition?
- Lots of pictures of your staff happily working together, including images working with your customers/clients as well.
- And, yes, you should also include some basic information about benefits, including insurance, retirement plans, and PTO.
A company page is the new “Office Shadowing”, and by the time someone is done reading it, they should be able to answer the standard interview question of “Why do you want to work here?”
Beyond that main Careers page, you’ll want to make individual pages/posts for the jobs themselves that you’re constantly hiring for. These pages should also follow the standard best practices for digital copywriting, including headings, bulleted lists, and graphics. Remember to include not just the job description, but also the requirements for applicants (alongside nice-to-haves), and what’s required to apply.
If you’re looking for extra-credit (and who isn’t), make sure to include Job Schema using JSON, which serves two purposes:
- It lets search engine crawlers better understand the page they’re looking at, and
- It can give you extra-incredible placement on the SERPs for the job listing you’re posting, even above the #1 spot for the job.
Just keep in mind that the Schema should be relevant, and actually up to date – Google will punish you if you attempt to have permanent job listings using those job schema.
4. Start a lead generation funnel to capture emails
There are a number of different talent acquisition strategies, but the first step is to build a lead generation funnel so you can capture the information of qualified prospective candidates. Similar to a sales lead gen funnel, a recruiting funnel has to entice the reader and engage with them in a specific way.
However, prospective employees will likely be more eager to get your attention than prospective customers. Because of this, we can tip the typical sales funnel on its head to achieve better results. The first step of this process is to start with a conversion (getting information from your prospective employee) and then working backwards to build awareness and interest as time goes on.
To get those initial conversions, it’s critical to have these items in place:
- Careers landing page: Follow step 3 (above) to create a searchable page that outlines current and future opportunities. This landing page should clearly demonstrate the benefits of working at your company, including salary, vacation time, healthcare plans, and anything else that makes your work environment stand out from your competition. As you have more specific job openings, create individual landing pages for each position so people can have more information about the roles themselves.
- Email capture: Even if there isn’t a current job opening available, potential future employees may want to be notified when an opening does occur. In this case, it’s important to have some sort of email capture on the page so you can send out targeted information when the time is right. This pool of applicants will typically be more enthusiastic and engaged than those who may just stumble across a future job posting. If necessary, make sure to categorize your captured emails by what departments the prospective employees are interested in.
- Resume uploads: Getting basic information from someone is great, but understanding a person’s full background and work history is the only way to actually see if they are a worthwhile candidate. Make it simple and easy for a candidate to upload their resume and any other supporting documents they may have. Many times, a person will want to include a cover letter or recommendation letters from previous employers. You can use Gravity Forms on WordPress as a simple and easy plugin that allows uploads.
- Application form submissions: Make sure to have a space for someone to actually fill out the job application on the site. In the application, let the applicant check off a box if they want to be informed about upcoming job opportunities. That way, if they don’t get the position, they can still be the first to know about more options down the line.
The last step of this reverse funnel is to create a continued awareness campaign about your available openings and company culture. People don’t just look for a paycheck when they go career hunting. They want to know that they’ll fit in with the company culture and that the company’s values align with their own. Use social media, newsletters, and content marketing to let your values and culture shine through online. This continued presence will keep your company top of mind when qualified applicants need their next career change.
5. Keep Potential Applicants Up to Date with Ongoing News
The best talent acquisition strategies aren’t once-and-done actions. They need to be executed over time for the best results. If you’ve already established a lead generation funnel to capture the email addresses of potential candidates who might be a good fit for your company, you want to keep their interest. Even if you’re not currently hiring for any positions, you want to keep the attention of your target employee demographic.
An easy way to keep potential applicants up to date with your company is by sharing useful content such as whitepapers or other industry-related materials on your website and through social media outlets like Facebook and LinkedIn. By doing this, you’ll further establish yourself as a leader in the field and keep your company top of mind for possible job applicants.
Content production can also be part of talent acquisition strategies that target people who are on the pathway to being ideal candidates for your company. For example, if positions in your marketing department require Google Analytics certification, consider creating a “Guide to Getting Google Analytics Certified” to help candidates get the qualifications they need. They’ll become aware of you even before they’re ready to search for jobs. Also consider creating an internship program that prepares candidates for entry-level jobs at your company.
Once you’ve gotten the attention of those on the road to being great employees by sharing useful content, make them jealous by promoting the aspects of your work culture that you know they’ll want to be part of. Whether it’s Summer Fridays, outings and celebrations, or longtime employee workaversaries, make sure that future applicants know what makes your company stand out through social media posts, email newsletter updates, and more.
Be Sure To Discuss Your COVID / Remote Work Policies Too!
In a changing world, your candidates are going to want to know how you’re adapting policies to “the new normal.” That information should be a standard part of your job descriptions from now on.
6. Ready to Hire? Time to Promote
The most successful talent acquisition strategies aren’t just about creating the perfect roles to help your company grow. You also have to get the word out and promote the positions you’re hiring for to make sure you’re getting the most qualified candidates. Here are a few ways to publicize your job openings:
- Post on your website. Make sure any job openings are displayed prominently on your website. If a job seeker has been following your company, they will often go directly to the Careers page to see whether there are current openings that fit their experience. As an added bonus, you’ll be broadcasting your growth to potential clients and your peers in the industry.
- Share on social media. Your followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn want to hear from you. Share job opportunities with members of these audiences, who are already interested in the work you’re doing.
- Send out a newsletter. Include job openings in your regular email newsletters to reach as wide of an audience as possible. Current clients and others on your list are likely to forward job postings to relevant applicants. You should also have a smaller, targeted email list of people who specifically want to hear about openings at your company. Let them know when you’re looking to hire.
- Add listings to job boards. Most job seekers use online aggregators to search for jobs that will be a good fit. Post any openings to job boards such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Simply Hired, Monster, and Handshake to get your job description in front of a lot of eyes. We also recommend using location-specific job boards (in Louisiana, we use LouisianaJobConnection.com and WorkNOLA.com) to encourage applicants from your area to apply.
- Send personalized emails. Send direct emails to collaborators and other people who will promote your business. They may have suggestions for candidates to interview and can put you in touch directly with applicants who will be a good cultural and skill-set fit. Use your network as a way to create a targeted word-of-mouth campaign.
When creating effective talent acquisition strategies, companies should pick and choose from these options while keeping in mind that a large number of applicants is not their only goal. When hiring, you want to make sure that applicants are qualified and will set you up for long-term success. Use promotion as a way to get your listing in front of the people you want to hire.
7. Turn on the Fire Hose for Nearly Unlimited Talent Acquisition Potential
When the slow and steady talent acquisition strategies aren’t quite cutting it, it may be time to unleash paid tactics that really reach for the best and brightest. By putting dollars behind your messaging, you can appropriately target the right populations and get the candidates that best match your open positions. To do so, you’ll need to employ these tactics:
- Google Search: Search ads are the ads that appear at the top and bottom of Google’s search pages. By using the right keywords, you can impact people at the exact moment they are looking for your open position. Link your search ads to your existing Careers pages so that applicants have a seamless experience from one page to the next. Make your calls to action clear and strong so users know exactly what they’re getting from your message.
- Social Media Ads: Social media allows you to add a bit more personality to your advertising. Using images, graphics, and captions, you can paint a clearer picture of your offerings. Social media also allows for deeper targeting than Google search which can be useful when assessing your talent acquisition strategies.
- Remarketing (Social and Google Display): Remarketing keeps your business top of mind across the web. Every time someone clicks on your website or ads, you can remarket to them with specific ads that are directly related to the page they clicked. Especially when you have multiple job openings, remarketing can be extremely effective in automated targeted messaging.
8. Handle Rejection like a Great Break-Up: Honest, Forthcoming, and Kind
When you have a great talent pool after following the first seven steps, you’ll find yourself with a good problem to face: You have hundreds of applicants gunning for your positions. You’ll end up having to reject significantly more people than you accept.
There’s no way around it—getting rejected sucks. It’s frustrating for the applicant, particularly if they’ve made it far in your interview process and invested significant time and effort into it. It’s frustrating for you, since there’s no real tangible reward for taking the time to actually reject people. Still, it is the right thing to do.
You should aim to reject applicants as soon as you know they’re no longer being considered. Everyone who applied should be informed. This way they’re not left hanging. Some people will ask for feedback, and it’s up to you if you should give it or not. Most lawyers I’ve talked to say to never offer feedback, but on a personal level, we try to be helpful to those that are genuinely looking for self-improvement.
Lastly, you should turn off any advertising for the position. Rather than simply shutting off the application page, we recommend converting it into a lead-generation form that allows people to sign up for future career notifications.
Ready to Grow Your Talent Pool?
These steps above are a gameplan, but if you don’t have the time to do it yourself or are needing an extra pair of hands to help you out, Online Optimism is ready to support you with all of these strategies. Reach out to us at 504-324-0073, or click the button below to get to our contact form.