Breaking Down Talent Barriers

Having trouble finding the right talent for your positions? Getting bombarded with the wrong types of candidates? I’ve consulted and worked with a number of clients over the past 10 years, and in that time have seen many good recruiting practices and programs, as well as my fair share of bad strategies and processes. I’ve come up with a short list of the most common barriers I’ve witnessed to recruit top talent. While this isn’t a complete list, these are the top few that most will be able to relate to.

Use of Social Media

Recruiting teams need access to all the popular online destinations, such as Twitter and Facebook. Give them the ability to comment, blog, share, and have real conversations with potential talent on the web. They’re grown-ups, aren’t they? You hired them because you trust they will represent your company well. Put a social media policy in place and get moving. Once up and running on social networks and in the blogosphere, learn to have more than just an account. Build a real presence. Build community. Build excitement and buzz that spreads and attracts talent. AT&T and Starbucks are examples of two companies using social media the right way to attract high-caliber talent. Check out Trust Agents and The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web to get a better picture of using social media the right way.

Push vs. Pull Marketing

Gone are the days of the post-and-pray mentalities for recruiting departments, dumping budgets into job boards and search firms. That is push marketing: pushing out job orders. Here now are thousands upon thousands of free resources, sites, and online communities at your disposal. Use them! Recruiters can go beyond job postings and place tailored PowerPoints on Slideshare, insightful pictures on Flickr, descriptive videos on YouTube, and select whitepapers on Scribd and Docstoc. Spread your content in key places online and make sure to provide good titles, tags, and keywords to be found. This is pull marketing, and will bring more traffic to your career site and ultimately produce a better applicant pool to work with.

Lack of a Sourcing Function

Recruiters are overworked today with paperwork, processes, and compliance laws, not to mention the fact that they need to find and source quality candidates for their positions. It’s nearly impossible without having a sourcing team or resources internally or externally. Outsourcing is an option. Training and shifting internal talent is an option too. Hewitt Associates is an example of a company that understands the importance of the sourcing function. It breaks its talent acquisition team into specific tasks, with dedicated sourcers being used on and offshore, finding and submitting talent to recruiters. Sourcers today need to be well-versed in the latest trends in social media and mobile recruiting, as well as a high proficiency in advanced Internet search techniques with Google. This will ensure the sourcing function covers good ground to find qualified talent.

The Application Process

Don’t make job seekers jump through hoops to apply to your positions. Some companies have more than 10 steps amounting to over 20 minutes to fill out. This is too long! Simplify the application process. Fewer steps equal more candidates, guaranteed! The best application processes require uploading your resume, verifying your information parsed by the ATS, and hitting the submit button. Done! Better yet: how about giving your email address and bypassing everything. For most, this just isn’t reality though. Recruiters need data to be successful, and an ATS helps to get this data in the form of extensive profiles and questionnaires. Recruiters also need to be more accessible, more visible during the application process. Think about providing a live person via instant message or video chat on your career site, or a dedicated job applicant support phone line to guide confused candidates and do light screening. Other options such as company Twitter accounts, Facebook fan pages, LinkedIn groups, and YouTube channels that tie-in are a must.

Job Descriptions

Most employment ads online either have too little information or way too much. The information that is available usually has too much corporate-speak mumbo-jumbo and uses company acronyms and internal program names. Ads like these can be confusing and misleading. Sit down with the hiring manager and get all the facts out on the table. Uncover every detail possible. Develop a job description that really sells the job! Make it relevant to the job seeker. Make it interesting. Show some excitement. Talk like a real person. Tell people what the job will really do and the importance it plays with your company or client. Strike a good balance of information with an enticing sales pitch. Make me want to apply!

Many more talent barriers exist today. I’m interested to hear about the makeup of your recruiting team, how you find talent today, and what unique challenges you face.

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