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Better Hiring Strategies to Find the Top Talent You Need 

It’s incredibly hard for companies today to find the talent they need. Since the beginning of 2015, there have been more than 5 million open jobs in the U.S. at any given time. As a result, perpetually understaffed businesses are losing out on productivity, which adds up to a $280 billion loss across the country each year.  The traditional recruiting model is broken. These tips based on hard data will help you find and keep the talent you need.  

According to a new information from Hired, a recruiting marketplace based in San Francisco, we can thank our broken hiring model for the talent struggle. Titled The Opportunity Index, the study found that 82 percent of respondents view the job search process negatively, saying it is more stressful than moving, planning a wedding, getting a root canal, or public speaking.   

I spoke with Mehul Patel, CEO at Hired, to figure out how businesses can improve their hiring strategies and find the top talent they need to succeed. Here’s what he had to say:

Rethink Your Recruiting Tactics 

The data show that the money you’re investing in a headhunter may not be worth it. Only 14 percent of working adults are landing jobs through a recruiter or staffing agency. Why? Working adults are tired of their inboxes being filled with irrelevant and vague job opportunities from recruiters who haven’t done their due diligence before clicking send. After being conditioned to ignore recruiter spam, candidates are overlooking even the few good opportunities that come their way.  

The payment structure for recruiters can also lead to a low return on investment. Most recruiters are paid through commission, so their number one priority is to fill as many roles as possible, not keep candidates in those positions long-term. The hiring and onboarding process uses up a lot of company resources, so turnover is not in your best interest.  

Prioritize Passive Candidates 

The best, most in-demand candidates are not writing cover letters or submitting online job applications; companies come to them. The data show that this mentality is expanding across the talent pool. In fact, 40 percent of working adults say they aren’t actively looking for a new job, but are open to hearing about new opportunities if a company reaches out to them. Along the same lines, one in five daydream about leaving their current job on a weekly basis, but action is lagging. In comparison, 14 percent are actively applying to new jobs.  

Tap Your Company’s Network 

Given recruiters’ limited success and top talent’s tendency to skip past the job application process, companies are left struggling to find ways to connect with the right passive candidates. In addition to using hiring services that match candidates and companies based on skillsets and interests – the top two things survey respondents say would make job searching easier – companies should incent professional networking programs to increase referrals from current employees.  

Referrals are one of the top ways many working adults found their current job, and this is especially true for respondents who say they love their current job. Of note, 55 percent of working adults would rather find a job through someone they know than apply to one themselves, and the same percentage say they are more likely to apply for a job if a friend works at the company. 

Know That Salary Isn’t Everything 

If limited resources prevent your company from competing on the salary front, fear not. Two out of three employed adults say they would take a pay cut of around 8 percent to be happier at work, and one in 10 would sacrifice more than 20 percent of their salary to be happier. Activity on the Hired platform matches this sentiment: 75 percent of users don’t accept the highest paying job offer they receive. 

But if a soaring salary isn’t what candidates are after, what will convince them to switch jobs? Company culture, values, and flexibility are all increasingly important to job seekers, so hiring managers must find ways to highlight these aspects during the interview process. For example, inviting a candidate to join an informal lunch or team happy hour will take the pressure off the interview process and give an authentic look at your company’s culture. Businesses should also highlight lower cost benefits that promote autonomy, like the ability to work remotely, maintain a flexible work schedule or take generous parental leave.    

Make Opportunities For Advancement Clear 

When asked why they left their last job, two of the top three reasons given indicated a perceived lack of career opportunity. One in four said the new opportunity was too good to pass up and one in five saw limited opportunity for advancement in their current role.

During the interview process, be upfront about what the candidate’s career path could look like at your company. Share typical timelines for promotions, specific milestones they must achieve before gaining more responsibility, and what lateral opportunities are available in other departments. Once the new hire begins, stick to your promises by scheduling regular check-ins and creating a game plan to help them meet their career goals.  

The tools the recruiting industry relied on for decades are no longer working, and salary alone isn’t enough to entice top talent to make a switch. Patel encourages companies to rethink their process for adding new team members, from deploying new tactics to identify the right talent to highlighting culture and career opportunities for candidates. Bottom line: the companies that tailor their hiring procedures to meet candidates’ needs will win the talent war.

Thunderbird School of Global Management Alumna Dana Manciagli '84 is the author of "Cut the crap, Get a job". With her 'Career Mojo' column, Dana is the sole syndicated career columnist for the Business Journal nationwide. Her remarkable profile includes a career in global sales and marketing for Fortune 500 corporations like Microsoft, IBM, and Kodak. She has coached, interviewed and hired thousands of job seekers. This article was originally published on her website.

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