Why You Need to Rethink Your Recruiting Strategy

Unfilled jobs. High unemployment. Not enough talent to go around. Does this mismatch sound familiar?

Companies across the country are feeling the pressure of too many openings and not enough skilled candidates. To address this challenge, leading companies are taking a second look at their recruiting practices. It’s time to ask yourself: Does your approach still fit your needs? Is your recruiting strategy positioning your company for success?

To start the process, the first question you really need to ask yourself is:

What’s Ahead?

The process begins with assessing your business’s employee needs in the context of your organizational priorities. You need to identify everything that may affect your company’s operational efficiency, in the long term and the short term. Being prepared is better than being surprised.

For example, few people forecasted the most recent recession. Nobody wants to be surprised again by that dramatic of an economic decline. And when the downturn came, organizations found themselves overstaffed but had no carefully planned process for painlessly cutting staff. Part of your new strategy should include having plans in place for the next drop.

And with the official end of the recession in sight, you’ll want to be ready to “explode out of the box” and be in the forefront of hiring–experts are predicting that up to 65 percent of top employees are getting ready to make a career move in the near future. But how? Find the answers to these three questions:

  • How can we leverage our current employees’ connections?
  • Are we focused on the right areas?
  • What’s our recruiting brand?

How Can We Leverage Our Current Employees’ Connections?

Each of your employees has a unique network of contacts, friends and family members–and these networks are an excellent place to find qualified candidates. To encourage your employees to refer candidates for your open positions, start or reenergize a formal referral program–and add a new twist: Social media. Leading companies are encouraging their employees to participate in social networks, even on company time. Some even set aside weekly time for their employees to get on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other sites to work their connections.

Encouraging your employees to be involved in online networking groups creates another path to qualified candidates, one that is unique to your company and your employees. One that just may give your company an edge over the competition.

Are We Focused On The Right Areas?

Talent is scarce right now, so you may be concentrating your efforts on passive job seekers–those top performers who are already working for your competitors and aren’t looking to make a change. They require a different, less straightforward approach.

You’ll need to be more discreet and more patient to find passive candidates, and you may need to create a mixed-approach recruiting style that includes database mining, competitive intelligence and participation in associations. Social media participation and employee referrals can also play a big role in finding passive candidates.

What’s Our Recruiting Brand?

And then there’s your employment brand–which now plays a key role in your recruiting efforts. Many companies still treat the recruiting process like just another business transaction. But today’s candidates are looking for a different experience. It’s not only about what they can do for you, but also what you can do for them.

Companies need to spend the time and effort to make themselves more attractive to potential candidates. What will job seekers see when they research your company or go on your website to apply for a job? What image does your company’s online presence convey?

You need to make your company stand out to encourage candidates to come to you. Show candidates your culture and your mission, and what they will gain by working for you. And make sure to be consistent: you don’t want to brag about your state-of-the-art technology in a job posting, but have a woefully outdated website.

As the new economy emerges from the recession, it’s obvious that old recruiting methods are no longer working. There are new attitudes in place that require new approaches. It’s time to adapt, so your company can thrive.

Adapted from “Viva La Revolution! The 5 C’s to Recruit, Engage and Retain in a Post Industrial World” by Kim Seeling Smith, a Sydney-based, international consultant on Employee Recruitment, Engagement and Retention. Visit for more.