Reference checks: How to verify a candidate's reference during the talent acquisition process
Sep 17, 2019
In today’s business climate, where supply is down and demand is up, it’s a fierce struggle for organizations competing to engage skilled talent. And strategies that worked years ago won’t be as successful in today’s economy or with the new wave worker. A closer look at the current economic landscape finds unemployment rates in North America still at a record low; according to the U.S. Security of Labor, the United States alone has never seen an economy where the number of open jobs exceeds the number of job seekers.
Trading Economics finds the country’s unemployment rate sitting at 3.6 per cent in May 2019 – unchanged from the previous month’s 49 year low. Respectively, Canada’s unemployment rates have fallen farther below its market expectations, hovering at 5.4 per cent in May.
When there are more open jobs than there are people to fill them, and with non-traditional workers making up 30 - 40 per cent of an average organization’s workforce, it’s never been a better time to be a full-time or gig worker on either side of the border.
However, it’s also never been a harder time for employers to recruit talented workers.
High performing recruiting teams understand there is no single formula for success; they do, however, demonstrate habits - outside conventional job duties - that are at the core DNA of any successful recruiting professional. Below is a list of hiring habits demonstrated by high performing recruitment teams at all levels of the recruitment lifecycle.
IT’S A CANDIDATE DRIVEN MARKET, AND THEIR EXPECTATIONS HAVE CHANGED!
Now more than ever, delivering a top-notch candidate experience matters.
Following up within 24 hrs. – no matter with who or what it’s concerning
Timely communication not only decreases time-to-hire on the employer’s end, it also makes candidates feel important and is a critical step to building long-term relationships.
From a candidate perspective, a lack of meaningful communication or feedback is the most frustrating part of the candidate experience. In fact, 23 per cent of candidates will abandon a job opportunity if they feel as though they’ve been ghosted by the organization. Furthermore, a staggering 36 per cent of candidates are learning they didn't receive a job by simply not hearing back– and these candidates are highly unlikely to apply to other opportunities or refer a friend to these companies.
It’s also important to keep in mind expectations of new wave workers, such as Gen Zs for example, who are digital natives -- the first generation to never know a time without instant connectivity, and as such, they expect instant solutions to immediate challenges. In today’s competitive environment, and when these younger workers will make up 36 per cent of the global workforce by 2020, open channels of communication are crucial to the candidate experience.
Personalizing every engagement
Stay away from copy and paste and templates! Whether it’s screening active job seekers who are applying to multiple opportunities, or pursuing passive candidates, organizations must demonstrate their eagerness to hire. This means creating a connection.
Email follow ups or LinkedIn messages: The goal should be to craft a communication that feels personal and unique to each candidate – regardless of where they fall in the recruitment lifecycle. If your organization uses automated e-mail sequences in the early stages of the recruitment process, ensure they feel authentic to the target audience.
Offers: When filling senior level positions, for example, and the candidate will need to relocate, you can offer an introduction to a local real estate agency or arrange a personal tour around the best parts of town. For more junior level roles, a simple phone call or email with a personalized introduction from a member of the management team or a team leader could make all the difference over a competing offer with a less personalized approach.
Monitoring task times
Top talent is on the market for an average of 10 days, making time management an essential skill in recruitment. An effective method of managing time is keeping track of how many minutes or hours each task requires and prioritizing the day accordingly. Timing your tasks also requires paying attention to detail, which can reveal insight into which ones must be done manually or what more repetitive tasks can be automated – freeing up time and increasing productivity.
Running reports and monitoring metrics
Metrics are powerful tools. Setting daily or weekly KPIs and keeping track of your efforts is the best way to improve individual or team-lead recruitment processes. From thesemetrics, recruitment teams can determine what strategies are working, which aren’t and what can be readjusted to achieve success.
Embracing the inner marketer
Candidates are inundated with digital distractions, and to compete, recruitment teams need to leverage the power of recruitment marketing. This means sourcing, engaging and nurturing talent before they apply to a job opening. To do this, strategic recruiting professionals are using tools like social media platforms and email campaigns to engage candidates, showcase employer branding and tell their brand's story.
Are you sharing daily content about the organization you’re recruiting for on your social media platforms? It’s also important to ensure that branding is promoted consistently across all media outlets. New wave workers are the most connected generation - engaging on multiple platforms - and they may be put off if they see company branding differing from one platform to the next.
Being creative on social media to find candidates where they’re at
It’s no surprise that 84 per cent of organizations are using social media in their recruitment efforts – or that 79 per cent of candidates found their last job on social media. It’s important to source talent on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook (Facebook now offers a feature for businesses that want to hire local candidates), yet as Millennials and Gen z’s continue to populate the workforce, Jobvite finds a quarter of recruiters are now incorporating Instagram into their sourcing channels – especially when recruiting for more creative and visual roles.
Screening candidates’ social media profiles
While it’s common to source candidates on social media, conducting a full sweep of all their social media profiles during the screening process is often overlooked. Professional networking sites like LinkedIn will give insight into job experience, yet what are candidates posting on social sharing sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram? It's common to screen for references to drugs and alcohol, political or workplace rants, inappropriate photos and grammar and spelling, but frequency of posts can also give an indication into how often a candidate spends their time on social media during work hours.
In 2018, 95 per cent of Gen Z had a smartphone, and 90 per cent of their text messages were read within the first three minutes of being received. With the younger generation also being less likely to answer an unknown number, it’s crucial for organizations to have a mobile recruitment strategy, or work with an agency who has one, to also communicate via text messages or automated text messages when reaching out about current opportunities, confirming interview dates or sending new job alerts.
Monitoring employer branding
Negative employer branding makes it all the more difficult for organizations to hire top talent, with 55 per cent of candidates abandoning an application after reading a negative company review online. Conducting a sweep of websites like Glassdoor or Indeed, allows organizations to take control of their brand.
Organizations become better at doing the right things, in the right way when they use their collective knowledge and experience to adapt to change. The workforce has changed, and the expectations of workers have evolved with it. To remain competitive in today’s economic landscape, recruitment teams, too, must adapt to survive.
Yet, remaining in the past isn't the only risk organizations face when managing a contingent workforce. If you're interested in engaging contingent talent, or want deeper insights into how to manage the risks posed by your current program, download our free whitepaper, A Checklist for Contingent Worker Risk:
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