I recently wrote an article on the measures HR professionals can take to help companies navigate through the skills shortage. From mentoring/training to outsourcing talent, there are many steps that companies can take to mitigate the damage that the skills shortage can have on businesses. In this post, however, I would like to focus on one particular way that HR can help companies overcome this issue, while improving employer branding and ultimately increasing business productivity: improving hiring techniques.
If there is a silver lining to come out of the talent shortage, it is perhaps that companies will be encouraged to diversify and improve their hiring techniques. So, here are 4 ways HR professionals can sharpen up the hiring process in order to attract top talent to their organisation.
1. Treat Your Candidates like Customers
It is becoming more and more evident to employers that they must give their candidates the same treatment and respect as they would give their customers. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, according to one IBM study, 1 in 5 candidates are also customers. In other words at least 20% of candidates could also be your customers – if that isn’t an incentive to ensure that prospective hires are treated well I don’t know what is.
Secondly, in the age of social media, posting about a bad experience is often a common response for someone who has been treated badly or unfairly during a hiring process. This can be hugely damaging for employer branding and company reputation. Make sure your hiring process doesn’t spark negative reactions that can quickly snowball on social media. Simple steps, like taking the time to respond courteously to all applications, go a long way when it comes to employer branding and avoiding critical comments online.
Finally, candidates who have been through a gruelling or unpleasant hiring process are less likely to remain in a job with that company. In short, treating candidates like customers should be a no-brainer – not only is it common courtesy, it will improve employee retention.
2. Don’t Solely Focus On University Graduates
There is a perception among employers that only a university graduate will do. Many job applications target only those who hold a degree and disregard everyone else. Taking this approach immediately cuts out a large proportion of talented individuals from your hiring process and greatly decreases the talent pool.
Furthermore, widening your search beyond only university graduates has the potential to improve company diversity and may open an employer’s eyes to candidates who have a great deal of industry experience precisely because they went straight into industry rather than going to university. Some companies are actually going a step further and looking to hire high school graduates. This technique is particularly attractive for companies who are intent on teaching their own systems to young candidates. Of course, I am by no means taking away from the importance of hiring university graduates – but why not widen your search, and your talent pool?
3. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Big Data in the Hiring Process
Big data has huge potential to greatly assist HR professionals in many ways, particularly when it comes to hiring and on boarding. For example, big data analysis of current employees helps HR professionals to build a strong candidate profile of the applicants they require and see where the big skill gaps are. Additionally, data analysis allows companies to weed out unsuitable candidates quickly, without the need for time-consuming interviews. In other words, big data is essential when it comes to speed and specificity in hiring.
4. Beware of Strenuous and Over-Technical Interview Assessments
From time to time, employers rely too heavily on technical assessment of their candidates. While technical assessment can be a good way to narrow the search for talent, it has the potential to eliminate great candidates far too quickly. Often used at the outset of the hiring process, technical assessments can also be unnecessarily tough and don’t always necessarily cover all the skills that are required to be successful in a particular role. It’s always advised to couple any assessment with a face-to-face interview. This allows employers and HR professionals to garner a well-rounded profile on the candidate and come to a more informed decision as to who moves forward in the hiring process.
While the skills shortage has serious implications for companies in Ireland and further afield, promoting a revamp of hiring practices that promote diversity and help drive efficiency and productivity can only be a good thing. As they say, it’s important to make the most out of a bad situation.
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