With the hiring market swinging back in favor of job prospects – especially those in the highly sought-after creative class – employers face a new set of challenges in landing (and keeping) great talent at the right price. A recent survey conducted by Cornerstone OnDemand reveals that more than half of respondents either did not plan to stay at their jobs "long term" or weren't sure about how long they intended to stay. And Jobvite reports that 75 percent of the American workforce is actively seeking or open to new jobs. All this restlessness adds up to higher turnover – which is costly, time-consuming, efficiency inhibiting and morale deflating.
How should companies stay ahead of the game in this climate? With any good relationship, it's all about compromise. Here are a few ways to help find and lock in the perfect match.
Eliminate Recruiting Bottlenecks
Plenty of terrific candidates slip through the cracks because of bureaucratic red tape, heel-dragging and indecision. Best to be ahead of the game and ahead of your competitors – don't set back your team with your own inefficiencies.
"It's time to clean out your recruitment processes to allow talent to quickly enter your system," writes Roberta Chinsky Matuson, author of the upcoming book The Magnetic Workplace: How to Hire Top Talent That Will Stick Around, in a post on Fast Company. "Companies today are taking way too long to hire talent and while they are doing so, others who are moving swiftly are returning home with the lion's share of great people."
In an effort to illustrate the slow moving wheels of progress when it comes to hiring, Matuson poses an interesting challenge to her clients: apply for a position within your own company. The vast majority never make it very far, she says. And by that time in the application process, you've already lost valuable candidates.
As soon as you come across a fantastic candidate – whether via LinkedIn, an employee referral, or a resume on your desk – don't wait around to initiate contact. Pick up the phone and get the ball rolling. It may seem obvious, but moving quickly is key. Schedule that interview and don't let days or weeks pass before getting back to the candidate with feedback, more interview requests, and, ideally, an offer.
Make It Easy for Prospects to Love You
Say you're a small business on the hunt for a senior-level position and you've finally found a promising candidate. Only problem is, the company is in Seattle; she's in Miami. That 3,000-mile move might make her think twice about taking the position. If the only thing standing between you and the ideal candidate is a cross-country move, don't hesitate: lend her a helping hand (including moving costs), and convince her of how much she'll love not only your company but the surrounding community and city. It's an investment that may seem risky, but big moves typically signal a big commitment.
On the flip side, businesses should step up local recruiting efforts. Competition for top talent is fiercer than ever, and salary isn't everything today. Companies are increasingly finding they need to differentiate themselves and woo recruits with great company culture and perks.
"There’s probably a thing or two to learn from making employee salaries look more like sports contracts," Staffing Talk contributor Trevor Kupfer writes. Sports franchises sweeten the pot with all kinds of perks when luring players in. Of course you may not have the budget of the Chicago Bulls and your new hire may not be the Michael Jordan of the marketing/engineering/nursing (you fill in the blank) world, but small things like flexible hours, casual dress, free lunches and great company spirit make a difference.
Sell Your Culture -- and Your Region
If you're a small tech company in Kansas, your prospects of competing with tech giants like Google or Facebook for candidates are slim. Companies should instead play up their own unique strengths. Entice candidates with the chance to play an active role in the trajectory of your company. People want to be a part of something greater than themselves, so this opportunity – which is often not available at larger companies – is a huge selling point.
If you have a unique service you offer your employees – free childcare, awesome volunteerism opportunities, a matching donations program, stock in the company – emphasize it during the recruiting process. It can work wonders for retention and long-term engagement. Like a good partner, there's a perfect match out there for the position you're trying to fill. Sometimes you simply have to adjust the way you're going about finding the right person.