“With current unemployment rates, supply is down and demand is up, which is increasing competition for top talent,” says Nicole Gorton, a director at Robert Half. “In a tight labour market, efficiency is key to securing top talent.”
So, how can you plan for success and improve each stage of the hiring process to get higher quality outcomes? Start with the 4 habits of effective hirers.
- Writing clear, accurate and enticing job ads
“A job ad is a marketing tool and if you rush this part or don’t understand the need to ‘sell’ the role effectively, then you’re falling at the first hurdle,” says Shay Peters, the managing director of Robert Walters NZ.
Effective and compelling job ads tend to have common elements: They use clear, concise and market-relevant job titles (avoiding terms like “ninja”, “rock star” or “guru”), they include the location of the role, the benefits (including salary and opportunities for career development) as well as relevant role information (about what the candidate will actually do).
“Speak to your marketing team and to your SEEK account manager,” Peters suggests. “They’ll have the best advice on what format and terminology you need to use in your advertisement to attract the best applicant pool. Don’t think an ad is simply a way to paraphrase the tasks in a role, because it isn’t!”
- Clear and timely communication
“Some of the biggest frustrations among job seekers during the recruitment process are slow feedback, delayed decision making and poor communication from hiring managers,” Gorton says.
“Poor communication can cause good candidates to lose interest in the role or become more open to competing offers. It also damages the professional reputation of the company among future applicants through online reviews or word-of-mouth.”
To prevent candidates becoming disinterested and disengaged, Gorton suggests updating them frequently on the next steps in the interview process. “This may involve updates about a second interview or if they make your shortlist, as well as when you’re thinking of speaking to referees,” she says.
- Keeping an open mind
If you’re filling a role where the previous employee was high performing, it makes sense if you want to employ a similar candidate. But according to Gorton, having a homogenous profile for new candidates to fulfil can exclude diversity of thought, background, experience or character.
“This is also problematic in a skills-short market as a rigid approach can exclude less experienced candidates whose technical expertise in ‘nice to have’ areas can be developed in the role,” she says.
Instead of focusing on the rigid skills candidates must possess, look at the transferable skills they could bring to the role, as well as their alignment with company values and their desire to upskill. “This can help you internally develop the ideal candidate quickly, rather than waiting for the perfect candidate for too long,” Gorton says.
- Sensitively closing the loop
Part of an effective candidate management process is giving feedback to unsuccessful candidates. “The best thing effective hirers do is provide value-add feedback, not just telling someone they’re ‘not the right fit’,” Peters says.
“When you’re declining someone for a role, it reflects on your personal and organisational brand, so add value and provide honest feedback on how they could interview better next time.”
In the case of talking to a successful applicant, Peters suggests sharing your excitement about their appointment and telling them why they’re going to be integral to the organisation. “You’ll get significantly more buy-in from day one,” he says.
The most effective hirers have several traits in common – they create accurate job ads that entice candidates to apply, they provide feedback quickly and frequently, they keep an open mind about who the ideal candidate is and they provide sensitive feedback to unsuccessful candidates.
By developing these habits, hirers can increase their effectiveness and have the opportunity to turn all applicants – not just the successful candidate – into brand advocates.