With PwC’s most recent Annual Global CEO Survey revealing that over 70 percent of CEOs identify the “availability of key skills” as one of the top three threats to their companies – an eight-year high for that question – recruiting top talent stands out as a particularly daunting challenge for HR practitioners.
In fact, according to SHRM’s LINE Employment Report for January 2016, late 2015 was the most difficult hiring period in four years. Across all industries, it’s becoming increasingly hard to find skilled candidates that have the right attitude, the required appetite for growth and who are compatible with that company’s culture. The bar is getting higher and the efforts for retrieving and hiring these talented people are also on the rise.
“Talent, not capital, will be the key factor linking innovation, competitiveness and growth in the 21st century. More than a third of employers globally reported facing difficulties in finding talent last year and nearly half expected talent shortages to have a negative impact on their business results.“
The Human Capital Report 2015 – World Economic Forum in collaboration with Mercer
How to appeal to top talent
An important aspect of positioning your openings is to concentrate on the job itself. Instead of focusing on the required skills, which usually involves listing the same cliche requirements such as: the ability to multitask, great organisational skills, good communication skills, passionate and enthusiastic, dynamic, a fast learner… etc., focus on what makes that job great.
The top employees you’re looking for already have those skills and they will probably be unimpressed or even annoyed if they have to go through that list again and again. Why not attract them in the real sense of the word with the challenges and opportunities that this new job will bring for them?
In a recent article for SHRM, Lou Adler, CEO and founder of The Adler Group, points out that the best people need to be attracted in, not weeded out.
“There is no law that job descriptions need to be boring nor that they should list every skill and competency. Instead, emphasize what the person will be doing and how this work ties into an important project or is part of the company’s overall strategy or mission. As a top labor attorney at Littler told me, performance objectives are more objective than a list of skills subjectively determined.”
Be creative in your search for talent
Another SHRM report shows that although the majority of HR professionals say they are using social media for talent recruitment, some of them are not actually doing this either due to a lack of resources or a lack of know how. The report puts the official numbers at 84% of organizations using social media for recruitment and 9% planning to use it.
While these stats may seem high, as Erica Dhawan cleverly points out in her HBR article, this means that on the most popular social media platforms — LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter — you’re already vying with your competition for the same pool of expertise.
Make your campaigns relevant to your target audience, just like a marketer would do. It has become increasingly important that you segment and research your target audience before launching a full scale recruitment campaign. That also involved going where your star candidates are.
This is recruitment marketing and it’s the future of talent acquisition. Finding the right candidate is a very similar process to acquiring ideal customers. That means that if you market your company to the applicants you want, using the same channels they use and leveraging their interests and pain points, you can attract the right people.
Take this example from the advertising industry – Minneapolis-based agency Space150 started using the recently launched Snapchat on-demand geofilters to enlist interns for its summer program at college campuses across the country. With a smart targeting of Millennials, they went where their audience is, using relevant messaging and taking creativity to a whole new level with geofiltering.
Finding the right talent for your company is perhaps the biggest strategic advantage you can have. Big players like Facebook acknowledge this to such a degree that they reputedly acquire businesses for their human capital. This clever strategy lets them acquire an entire team that already works well together instead of piecing together something new.
Brainstorm creative ways to match these strategies and let us know which ideas performed well for your company.
If you’re already successful in attracting exceptional talent and are now focusing on engaging and retaining it, download our latest white paper on how you can leverage people analytics to create amazing employee experiences.