How to Hire Employees During a Labor Shortage: Think Like a Marketer



If your company is languishing amid job vacancies, you might want to rethink your employer branding strategy

As the Great Resignation and attendant labor shortages continue, workers expect more from their potential employers. Compensation, as always, is important, but so too is a company’s culture–and increasingly so.

“The hiring environment has changed,” says Jenna Squires, president of payroll and HR services at World Payroll & HR. “People have reevaluated their priorities during Covid and while they still need to make money, they also want to feel heard by their employer or feel like they’re a part of something bigger.”

So, how exactly do you think more like a marketer? Here are three tips:

1. ‘Hum, Sing, and Shout’ 

It’s not enough just to use LinkedIn as a jobs board, says Joe Mullings, chairman and CEO of talent acquisition firm The Mullings Group. The site is an invaluable social platform where businesses should trumpet their “hiring narrative” to help attract employees. “We have a strategy for social media posts called ‘hum, sing, and shout,” he explains. Basically, a company should consistently post regular updates (“hum”), occasional spotlights or press mentions (“sing”), and major achievements or events (“shout”). By maintaining consistent visibility in this way, you can develop a talent pool by engaging potential applicants, even when you don’t have current job openings. Consider it taking the offensive.

If you can get your existing employees to share their experience on social media, that’s even better, says Squires. “We encourage clients to make videos where they interview their current teams about why they love working there,” she explains. “It helps for them to speak on things that don’t have to do with pay, and are more about how they feel taken care of by the company.” What makes employees willing to talk, beyond a genuine appreciation for their company: the knowledge that, when job openings are filled, their workloads are likely to benefit.

2. Up Your Interview Game

Hiring quickly is one thing; hiring efficiently is another. When ad agency Summer Friday launched in April 2020, it had 12 founding employees–now, 18 months later, it has a staff of 30. The company attributes its fast growth to its hiring process, which prioritizes finding candidates that are the right cultural fit for the company. “When we find a candidate we like, we know we have to move quickly, but we do try to be very human-oriented in the interview process,” says Sarah Roberts, head of finance and operations.

Roberts looks for candidates with an “entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to wear multiple hats”–qualities she says are easy enough to gauge in early conversations. The company uses an applicant tracking system, a type of recruiting and hiring software, to keep job candidates organized, but otherwise finds that (virtual) face time is the most helpful tool in filling roles quickly. All candidates go through a series of up to five interviews, which may happen in a span of just a few days.

One interview is a peer review, which gives applicants a chance to talk to an existing employee who does the work they’ll be doing. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about that part of our hiring process,” Roberts says. Though the company is still operating remotely, it continues these one-on-one meetings into a new hire’s first week to mimic the kind of “water cooler talk” they might otherwise miss out on. These practices, Roberts says, contribute to the many the referrals they receive for new openings. 

3. Put Transparency to Work

A stronger–and transparent–employer brand will also help you self-select for the qualities you want in a new hire. While doing so may mean those who are less well-suited will abandon ship, those who like what they see will stick around.

It’s a more efficient process and also successful, says Mullings. When a company’s culture is clearly and accurately represented to job applicants, employees know what they’re getting into–and they could be more likely to come on board. “You need to design an interview process that says: ‘This is who we are, and this is who we stand for. You decide if we fit you, too, and let us know,'” he adds. “Individuals in the marketplace see that kind of attitude, and they’re attracted to it.”



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