Based on recent news reports, recruiting new employees hardly seems like an intimidating prospect for most managers. With so many candidates out there, you just place an online ad, meet with a few applicants and select a new hire to join your team within the month, right?
The reality is that hiring conditions are changing and recruiting is frequently not that simple. Nearly half (49 per cent) of executives surveyed for the Robert Half Professional Employment Report for the first quarter of 2011 said it is at least somewhat challenging for their companies to find skilled professionals – a 9-point increase from the previous quarter.
Beware of these myths about recruiting today:
Myth #1: Finding the right candidate is as simple as placing an online ad.
It’s no secret that if you place an online ad, you’re likely to receive a lot of resumes. In fact, you may be bombarded with applications from people with all sorts of backgrounds – none of which may match your hiring criteria.
The ease of applying online has encouraged desperate job seekers to hit “send” for just about any opening in their area. So, while you may receive a large quantity of resumes, it may take a significant amount of time just to sort through them all, and then you’re still not guaranteed to find qualified candidates among them.
Myth #2: It’s easy to identify star applicants based on their resumes.
Often, applicants with well-written resumes are simply skilled at writing resumes. They may know just the right words to use and exactly how to format and present their qualifications to impress managers. Yet, this doesn’t always mean they’re a good fit for your job openings.
Make sure you’re looking for the right things in a resume. Candidates worth interviewing tend to include more specifics about their accomplishments in resumes, show a history of stability and advancement and a strong, well-written cover letter. To minimize disappointments, once you’ve narrowed the applicants to a smaller pool of contenders, call each of them first for a brief, informal phone interview. Doing so can eliminate time-consuming meetings with those who, despite seemingly strong resumes, don’t meet all your needs.
Myth #3: Interviewing is a breeze, since managers have the upper hand.
The burden of interview preparation falls entirely on candidates, since it’s up to them to impress, right? Not necessarily. Savvy applicants will no doubt invest time getting ready for the interview, and managers must do the same.
The best professionals may be meeting with multiple employers, so you also need to convince these candidates they want to work for you. If it’s clear you didn’t re-read the person’s resume before the interview, you ask too many difficult questions and you fail to sell people on the benefits of joining your team, you may leave a bad impression. Even worse, unhappy applicants may take their feedback online through social media and share their negative perceptions.
Myth #4: I can take my time in finding exactly the person I want.
You’ve narrowed your contenders to the top few and now you want them to meet with others on the team. So, you schedule several more interviews over the course of weeks. By the end, though, you may find that your list of front-runners is smaller, and not by your choice.
If you drag out the hiring process too long, in-demand professionals may have already accepted offers by the time you’re ready to extend yours. So, streamline interview practices as much as possible. Also enter salary negotiations armed with current information about compensation trends to make a competitive offer.
Successful Recruiting Strategies
Following are some additional tips for securing the right candidate for the job in the current environment:
Know your real hiring criteria
What are desired qualifications and what are essential ones? Make sure you’re not eliminating promising candidates by setting overly strict standards. For instance, you might prefer to hire an executive assistant with a bachelor’s degree, but make it a requirement that applicants possess advanced Excel and PowerPoint skills. Identify what’s critical to performing the job effectively.
Tap into multiple recruiting sources
The best recruitment strategy is a diversified one. In addition to the popular online ads, consider spreading word of your hiring needs to all of your contacts, attending networking events through professional associations and offering referral bonuses to current employees.
Know when you need assistance
Also recognize when you require additional help with your candidate search. Recruiters specializing in the roles you need to fill can assume responsibility for locating qualified applicants, sorting resumes and conducting initial screenings, saving you valuable time.
The best recruiters maintain large networks in the local community that allow them to find candidates who may not be actively in the job market but who would be willing to consider other opportunities. This is a key way recruiters can find people with in-demand or hard-to-find skills.
If recruiting is on your agenda in 2011, make sure you have a solid understanding of hiring trends. Take the time to read through government and association reports, local business publications and the latest salary surveys so you know the reality of today’s market. You’ll give yourself the best possible chance of securing the talent you need to complete your team.
About Robert Half International
Founded in 1948, Robert Half International, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm, is a recognized leader in professional staffing services. The company’s specialized staffing divisions include Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources, for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively, in the fields of accounting and finance; OfficeTeam, for highly skilled temporary administrative support personnel; Robert Half Technology, for information technology professionals; Robert Half Legal, for legal personnel; and The Creative Group, for advertising, marketing and web design professionals. Robert Half International has staffing and consulting operations in more than 400 locations worldwide. Find more information at http://www.roberthalf.com/, and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/accountemps, www.twitter.com/roberthalffa and www.twitter.com/roberthalfmr.