The U.S. unemployment rate recently fell to 3.7%, the lowest rate in almost 50 years. While this is great news for job seekers, it makes the hiring market highly competitive for employers. Most top performers are already employed, while current job seekers have countless options to find new career opportunities – including job boards, social media, referrals from their networks, and more.
Given the low unemployment rate and tough competition for top talent, how can your team attract quality candidates for your open roles? Take the following tips into consideration.
Build a Strong Employment Brand
Despite the record-low unemployment rate, employees today are constantly on the lookout for their next career moves. In fact, 72% of adults keep track of open jobs, regardless of their current employment status. But as most job seekers are already employed, prospective job applicants can take more time with their job searches and be more particular about the exact roles they’re looking for.
As job seekers get more selective about accepting new positions, your business needs to sell quality talent on the opportunity working for your team presents. This goes above and beyond simply salary, as top talent today is looking for far more than an exchange of time for money and you need a compelling answer to the “What’s in it for me?” question. This can be made possible through a strong employment brand.
Your employment brand can help your team stand out from the competition and attract top candidates in today’s competitive job market. And building your best team will ultimately lead to increased efficiency, productivity and revenue. To get job seekers excited about the possibility of joining your team, develop a strong employment brand that encourages job seekers to build long-term careers at your company. Your employment brand should include strong job descriptions, a compelling career site, defined career paths across departments, employee testimonials, a comprehensive list of benefits and continuous job openings. By building and maintaining a strong employment brand, you can attract engaged applicants who are interested in growing their careers with your team.
Treat Job Applicants Like Customers
Simplify Your Application Process
Now more than ever, it’s an applicant-driven economy and applicants are in the driver’s seat when it comes to jobs. This means your team needs to treat recruitment similar to consumer marketing by creating a simple, engaging candidate experience.
Think about your current application process. Up to 60% of job seekers drop out of the job application process because the process is too lengthy or complex. For example, some businesses require applicants to upload their resume and also fill in dozens of individual fields with the same information as the resume. If this sounds like your job application process, you’re likely driving top talent away.
You wouldn’t make your customer lead form too lengthy and you should take the same approach with job applications. Simply requiring contact information, a resume and potentially a cover letter (depending on the position) is enough for your team to initiate the hiring process – and a simple application form will help you secure more quality candidates.
Keep Candidates Engaged Throughout the Hiring Process
Recent Hireology data found that many businesses wait 10 days – or even longer – to simply review and respond to applicants. If your business did the same when it comes to customer leads, you’d likely lose business to competitors who respond quickly – and the same goes for responding to job applicants. By reducing the time to review applicants, your team will have a better chance of securing quality candidates and you’ll decrease the overall time to hire, which will contribute to increased productivity and profitability.
Beyond reviewing and responding to applicants in a timely manner, continue to communicate with candidates throughout the hiring process. Candidate engagement will help ensure job seekers stay excited about joining your team, even if they’re already employed. To keep candidates engaged, outline each step of the hiring process so candidates know what to expect and when. And consider implementing technology to make the hiring process easier on candidates, such as text messaging to streamline interview scheduling or automated reference and background checks. Any extra step your team can take to meet the expectations of today’s job seekers will help you secure talent no matter the economic conditions.
The low unemployment rate is making it increasingly challenging for employers to find and recruit talent. Your employees are your main source of competitive advantage and in today’s applicant economy, it’s critical to prioritize your people strategy in order to remain profitable. For more tips on how you can attract quality candidates, read our resource, “The Hireology Employment Brand Playbook.”