Employment Is Changing: Are Your Recruitment Strategies Keeping Up?

By Sean Gordon

No doubt you, like every other growing company on the planet, have noticed the worldwide talent crunch. The older workforce is retiring and the younger workforce has a whole new way of doing things. Professional Millennials rising through the ranks and Gen-Zers entering the workforce don’t see employment the same way previous generations have. With the advent of online jobs, cloud-based enterprise software and the overwhelming prominence of digital work in general, the workforce today realizes that they have a lot more choices than older professionals.

Times Are Changing, and So Is Employment

For companies having trouble filling their roles or, perhaps more specifically, having trouble filling their roles with good matches that stick around after being hired, the key is to understand the major changes occurring in the relationship between employers and employees. The three most important differences in how things work today and how they worked 20 years ago are:

  • Remote Positions
  • Workforce Shortage
  • Employer Research and Reviews

When these three factors come together, it creates a world where businesses are no longer on top. Twenty years ago and for centuries before, there have been more people than well-paid jobs. Employers have been able to hold their positions aloft and only hire the candidates who manage to reach the highest and give the most impressive interviews. While this approach may still work in some situations, more and more businesses are discovering that a much smaller percentage of the qualified and desirable workforce are applying directly for positions through job boards and recruiters. However, even worse is the fact that with the talent crunch, those desirable candidates that do apply are much more likely to be snapped up during their job search by a company that focuses more on appeal and less on making their recruits jump through hoops to prove their worthiness.

Changing With the Times

Recruitment today has changed. Now, rather than simply needing to sort through candidates for the right new hire, you face the challenge of targeting your recruitment methods to bring in the kind of candidates you need. Once you have their attention, you then have to hold onto your candidates through the recruitment process until you determine which will be your new employees and finally release the other candidates with well wishes and a good feeling. Recruitment has become a lot more complicated, but it also opens the doors to dozens of possible and even potentially fun new strategies.

Facing and Adapting to Remote Work

Among the biggest recruitment challenges facing larger, older and more traditional companies is the rise of remote work. Everything from visual art to financial management can now be worked on, collaborated on, completed and implemented completely online. Team members don’t even have to be on the same continent to successfully complete projects together. This has caused a major shift in how the workforce views themselves. Rather than people who have to ‘go to work’ to earn a living, those who can find opportunities and employers willing to accept remote work can work at home, on the road, in their favorite coffee shop or funding a working vacation.

Opening Up the Workforce

That said, let’s clear up some misconceptions. Remote workers may be home-bodies but they are far from lazy. In fact, professionals who strongly prefer to work remotely are actually more likely to put in long hours and do what it takes to finish a project without concern for the hours required precisely because those hours don’t have to be spent in ‘the office’. The remote trend is also subtly enhancing accessibility for a wide variety of jobs as disabled professionals, retirees and stay-at-home parents are all able to join the mainstream online workforce without having to leave the house.

Providing Remote Opportunities

What does this mean for your company? First, it means that companies that insist on 100% office attendance are losing access to a huge chunk of the workforce. Where are the professionals who no longer apply to your positions? They’re freelancing, taking remote-friendly positions or even starting their businesses. However, this takes us to the second meaningful point. Companies that do adapt to the new trend by offering fully, partially and flexibly remote positions can snap those talented professionals right back from their freelancing and outsourcing ways. You just have to make the position juicy enough and the work entertaining enough to be worth leaving other projects behind.

Accepting the Recruitment Competition

The next change in the recruitment landscape is the fact that there really are fewer professionals available. While the workforce does appear to be artificially diminished by the number of freelancers and outsourcing agencies taking the place of usual job searching and a scramble for traditional employment, the current state of the population is resulting in a shrinking number of active trained professionals. In fact, you’re most likely noticing a brevity of options at the level of leads, experienced managers and authority positions. Why? Because the massive generation of hard-working boomers who have been holding down the management positions are retiring and the large wave of up and coming millennials are either starting their own businesses or have not ‘served their time’ before earning the loftier titles and decades of job experience.

Candidate Supply and Demand

This puts companies in a position most have never seen before, the need to attract recruits rather than simply opening your doors and taking the most qualified applicants. Not only are there fewer candidates available, but the vast majority of them are already employed by your competitors or will need to be lured away from their budding careers as independent agents. You’ll be competing not only with other companies in your industry, but with the allure of entrepreneurialism and freelancing.

Competitive Techniques

Some companies try to do this with environment and HR policies along. You’ve probably heard about things like trendy office spaces, catered lunches, employee wellness programs and a variety of unusual perks and opportunities from build-your-own benefits to bring your dog to work day. While these techniques do make your company more appealing and are a great place to start, you need to rethink the recruiting process as well. There are a number of ways to mix up your interview process from video screening to group recruitment with games and practice projects.

Manicuring Your Image as an Employer

The final major change in recruitment is employer reputation. Before the internet, employees often had little to no way of knowing what it would actually be like to work for a company. There was the public image promoted by branding and marketing and there was a curtain behind which all the action occurred. Just like salary is a traditionally off-limits conversation topic, discussing your work conditions is also generally frowned upon in the business world. Employees have been finding ways to quietly clue each other in without the knowledge or approval of employers and the growth of the ratings and reviewing culture has only furthered this trend.

Employer Reputation

Most companies haven’t realized it yet, but your Google Business rating isn’t the only kind of business review you need to be worried about. Platforms like LinkedIn, GlassDoor, and even Indeed have ways to share, rate and review employee experiences and you can bet that new candidates are going to do their research. The good news is that this is only bad news to bad employers. Most people expect the results of their employer search to come up with almost nothing. If you are comparatively ‘neutral’ to work for, chances are that very little has been written about your company as an employer that is either good or bad. However, just like in eCommerce, if company is impressively terrible to work for or exceptionally fun, news will get out that will influence who applies to your positions and who sticks around all the way through the recruitment process.

Two-Front Marketing

Do you know what these sites and conversations say about your company? The fact of the matter is that businesses need to start thinking about marketing on two fronts: one to the customers and one to future employees. It’s time to start manicuring your appearance not just as a goods or services provider, but as an employer. Start by examining your employee experience and brainstorming small affordable ways you can significantly improve how enjoyable it is to work for your company. Then turn your attention to the job sites. Put together a few promotional campaigns showcasing your real happy employees and the changes you’re making toward improvement. When an employee leaves, encourage them to leave you a reference the same way you would write or provide one for them. Consider even creating an official presence on the sites and speaking for yourself in conversations that discuss your company as an employer. If you are honest, calm and supportive of employees and candidates, you’re sure to make a good impression.

Because technology has changed how people can work and earn a living, it’s time for companies to change with the times. With remote work and freelancing as the new normal, a currently shrinking workforce and company reputation factoring into job seeker decisions, it’s impossible to continue along traditional recruitment strategies. Take on the digital age with remote positions, online recruitment and much greater social awareness. For more information about cutting-edge recruitment strategies, technologies and trends, contact us today!

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