Some of you reading this may remember when the primary way to get applicants was to place an ad in the local papers. If you were lucky, that would drive five or ten applications, including, hopefully, one legitimately qualified candidate.
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Skip forward a couple decades to now. Open positions are posted on dozens of job sites and may receive tens of thousands of views. Unfortunately, the ratio of qualified to unqualified candidates is still abysmal.
It's important for modern day recruiters to know how to turn views into applications, applications into interviews, and interviews into hires, all while making sure hiring managers aren't flooded with bad fits.
That's all easier said than done, and it requires a special set of skills that take time to develop.
Use Social Media or Miss Out
Forty-nine percent of business professionals follow companies for which they'd be interested in working on social media to stay abreast of job opportunities, according to "Inside the Mind of Today's Candidate," a report from LinkedIn.
"For companies considering how social media fits into their recruiting strategy, I'd recommend first putting yourself in the candidate's shoes," says Jennifer Shappley, senior director, talent acquisition, at LinkedIn.
The "right" social media recruiting strategy will depend in large part on how and where your ideal candidates spend their time online. As the most well-known professional networking site, LinkedIn is one obvious source of talent, but a social recruiting strategy should include additional components as well.
"Think about how you want to build your brand awareness before you start posting jobs," Shappley says. "Leveraging platforms like Instagram can help tell the story of your company's culture and the employee experience in a way that can engage potential applicants. McDonald's, for example, recently ran a campaign on Snapchat using a 'Snaplication.' [The company] thought about where the ideal candidates were likely to be spending time and came up with a unique way to connect with them. The best social media strategies go across multiple platforms and tailor content that is most relevant for each channel."
Beyond pushing content to followers, it's important to engage potential candidates directly and individually with the information they want. For example, LinkedIn's research found that personalized inMails are 15 percent more likely to get a response than generic messages. Again, it's a matter of putting yourself in the candidate's shoes, Shappley says.
"For example, recruiters at LinkedIn leverage information from LinkedIn profiles to make sure that our messages are relevant to that individual," Shappley says. "Do your research and use the information that's available to you to customize the initial outreach."
That said, spamming candidates with walls of text is usually a bad idea. Shappley cautions against pushing too much information on a candidate at first contact. Instead, focus on starting a conversation by offering some of the details candidates most want to hear up front. According to the LinkedIn survey, these details include:
details about the job (89 percent of candidates want this information up front);
a salary range (72 percent);
an overview of the company (69 percent);
and why you think the candidate would be a good fit (52 percent).
The Interview Process Can Make or Break a Connection
Getting candidates in the door doesn't guarantee anything. In fact, 65 percent of respondents to the LinkedIn survey said a bad interview can make them lose all interest in getting the job.
Shappley suggests interviewers take time to prepare for each interview.
"Candidates can tell when an interviewer is reading their resume for the first time in the interview," she says. "Taking a little extra time to review the candidate's background and prepare thoughtful questions that are relevant to the role ... will show the candidate respect and that you appreciate the time they're investing in the process."
Candidates want a short interview process that includes two or three interviews and takes less than three months, according to the LinkedIn data. However, Shappley cautions against rushing the interviews. You still need to take your time with each individual meeting.
"Keep in mind that many candidates will be nervous at the beginning of the interview, so avoid making snap judgments," Shappley says. "Follow your interview questions and give the candidate a chance to answer fully. You'll often find candidates will open up later in the interview as they become more comfortable. Show interest in the candidate and allow time for them to get their questions answered. Remember that great candidates might be considering multiple opportunities, and you want to make sure they leave the interview with a strong grasp of what your company has to offer."
Finally, Shappley recommends ending the interview by setting clear expectations for next steps – and be sure to deliver on any promises you make.