In today’s job market, the role of the recruiter is, indeed, challenging. In Jim Collins’ seminal work, Good to Great, he tells us we need to have the right people on our bus (organization) in the right seats (roles that fit).

As Human Resources professionals, how do we recruit the right people when the number of candidates available – great candidates suited to the positions we have available – is limited? It’s about being innovative in our approach.

Think about how you view recruitment. Can you apply more innovative skills and behaviours to find and attract the right people?

Solid innovative skills include being curious in how you approach recruitment processes, being creative in how you find candidates by doing something different and viewing recruiting, not as something to be done when there is a vacancy, but as a continuous process.

Be curious.

Consider this situation. A manager approaches HR to fill a position that will be vacant when the incumbent retires. Before HR starts the typical recruitment process of posting the position, screening resumes and applicants (which if they use platforms like LinkedIn will provide them with an unmanageable list), they conduct a diagnostic review of the current position with this manager. They see them as their client and discuss with them the reason why the role exists. Should it stay the same? What value does the current position bring to the team and the organization? Should it be something different? The HR person demonstrates curiosity by investigating the situation, asking questions, and stepping back to look at the role in a different light. They focus on the mindset being sought for the role, while challenging assumptions and changing perspective.

Be creative.

Where does the type of person you are seeking hang out? Are they social media junkies? Go beyond LinkedIn and find ways to reach out to those on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites. When reaching out to different sites, consider the site’s audience then create a marketing plan to attract them. You need to sell to get them involved and engaged. Work with your marketing and communications people to position the opportunity.

  • Consider developing and using taglines in your advertisements – something that tells potential candidates about the opportunity.
  • Describe what they will experience in their first few months. Is there a project or initiative they can be part of, right away – that will excite them?
  • Tell your story, about your culture and the value of your brand. Be passionate in your descriptions.
  • Conduct information/training sessions (online) on what your organization does and what potential candidates filling the position will be doing – to contribute to your organization’s success.
  • Complete the entire recruitment process on mobile devices. Utilize text, video chat, etc. to reach out and communicate with potential candidates. Interviews can be conducted virtually allowing for more flexibility for both you and the candidate.
  • Determine the lifestyle you are offering. Many candidates today are seeking their lifestyle job. Help them design the right environment for them.
  • Compile a shortlist of your “dream” candidates for a position. Create messaging and outreach uniquely for each of them. If you know what you want, and you know who can fill that need, then go after them.

Always be recruiting.

Develop a pipeline of potential candidates. Leverage your professional networks by building relationships with qualified but inactive candidates. Building these relationships via social media will put your organization at the top of the candidate’s mind when they decide to start looking for a new job.

What about those who used to work in your organization? They are already a good fit and already know your processes, goals, and direction. Maintain connections with them while they are developing expertise outside your organization.

Consider longer-term intern programs. Four-month cooperative terms are great, but neither party has enough time to access the expertise of one another. Consider utilizing the 12-to-18-month intern program. Some post-secondary institutions will do the upfront work for you, from screening to setting up interviews, job fairs, etc. Benefits are accrued because they promote you and you can involve their students in a variety of projects rather than just one role for four months. If you like them and they like you, there is a role for them when they complete their degree.

Being innovative in your recruitment strategies will help you to fill that bus with the right people and place them in the right seats.

Donna Stevenson is an Instructional Designer and Facilitator who works with Mohawk College Enterprise to enhance the skills of clients in the area of leadership development.

Photo by Van Tay Media on Unsplash

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