Recruiting solo (part 2): To advertise or not advertise?

In Part 1 we wrote about the importance of retaining your good people. For a recap click (here). This series of blogs is targeted to small to medium sized businesses who may or may not have a human resources function, and certainly don’t have dedicated recruiters in their business.
So you have tried a few of those retention tips and they have not worked and you need to go to market and hire someone. In this blog we are going to talk about a few different approaches to source the right people for your business.
However, before we jump into that, make sure you have a strong position brief to hire against and stick to the brief when you go to market. You can’t have everything, so ensure your mandatory skills and experience list (three to five bullet points) is shorter than your desirables. If you need more, then hire for capability, not just experience.
Make sure you also focus on the persons values. Can this person demonstrate that they are aligned to your own organisation and people values? We will talk more about assessing fit in the next part of this series.
So here we go:

An employee referral program

If you don’t have one, implement one. Rolled out correctly, employee referral programs produce some of the best quality candidates, who stay longer, and get up to speed quicker.
Employee referral programs do not have to cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. If people genuinely enjoy working for you, then they are more likely to refer others to work with you. You may be surprised that there is already a strong referral culture in your business.
Incentives don’t have to be financial, they could be a couple of movie tickets, a gift voucher, or a half day off with full pay. You are only limited by your imagination.
Yes, you should have a simple policy and process around an employee referral program, and if possible be able to report on it.
Strong companies hire about 60 – 70 percent of all hires from referrals while average ones hire only about 30 percent. Imagine the savings on job boards if you took this approach!

Talent pipelines or Talent communities

A Talent pipeline or community is a proactive approach to recruitment.
Basically, you are creating a funnel of prospective Talent ready to be drawn upon as and when required. Think of Boxing Day sales and the crowds at the ready as the doors open. The same could be said for Talent communities all at the ready for the position you have engaged them about.
The key to building Talent pipelines and communities is engagement. Having suitable software certainly helps, but if you are strapped for cash then there are free tools that you can use, whether that be segmenting your mailbox or creating a spreadsheet.
Ideally you would reinvest the money you no longer spend on job boards into some candidate engagement software. Initially this can take some time to set up, but well worth the wait once going.
Oh, and if you don’t have the time to do this, there are companies that specialise in creating, maintaining Talent pipelines for employers (check out this great piece of Aussie-made software – LiveHire)! If you need more information, check out these series of articles – this, this and this.

Job boards

You are not seeing any success from your referrals or Talent pipelines and you are resorting to advertising on a job board or ten. Then be sure to do the following:

  • Make sure you use boutique job boards targeted at those you are wanting to recruit. Don’t just rely on old faithful and assume the right person will apply. I’ve found that Indeed, for example, works better than SEEK for unskilled labour and trades vacancies, but SEEK was far better for professionals.
  • Spend time being creative with your ad. Make sure it speaks to the person you are trying to attract. On the flip side, write it so that it doesn’t appeal to those people you don’t want to apply. Personalise it, make it sound different, and be more engaging than the 20 other job ads that person has just looked at.
  • Don’t get caught up in the corporate spin and marketing speak. Be real and honest in your ad otherwise you will start to read like all the other ads.
  • Read those employer review sites, and make sure your ad doesn’t say the exact opposite. Acknowledge that you have a challenging environment and need resilient people who go the extra mile as an example where a review may say ‘that there is constant change, and people are over worked.’
  • You don’t want to have to scroll down, down, down, down to read the ad. It should be a teaser to a maximum of FOUR paragraphs, five at push. You also don’t want to post an ad which is a few sentences and half a dozen bullet points. That is just lazy and creates a stack of work for you to screen through more unwanted resumes.
  • Check the language you are using. If you are trying to be more inclusive look for masculine words which could be softened, or words which may put off a diverse candidate from applying. There are tools that help you do this such as Grammerly and Textio.
  • Check the imagery you are using. Saying you are a diverse company with equal opportunity whilst your career site is plastered with middle aged Caucasian men for example does not demonstrate a diverse and inclusive culture. Oh, and this doesn’t mean go buy stock images as you may find a competitor using the same image! Use images of your employees.
  • Use video. Get your employees involved. You can do it on the cheap with your phone and YouTube, OR you can use a product like VideoMyJob which helps you create fantastic, branded videos with an all-important teleprompter and tripod.
  • Include a phone number for people to call you on to find out more about the job. Not everyone calls, but make sure you call people back. We after all in the people game.

Job board advertising will always be a source channel. It is an expensive source channel, so you need to maximise your return, and you can only do that by standing out from the masses of other advertisers.
Follow these tips to help find the best possible candidate for your business. Do you have any other tips? Leave a comment below.
Stay tuned for Part 3 in this Recruiting Solo series as we talk about writing that perfect job description.
To read Part 1, click here.
To read Part 3, click here.
To read Part 4, click here.
To read Part 5, click here.
Cover image: Shutterstock

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