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How Big Business Is Recruiting Talent in the 21st Century

David Trounce
David Trounce

Employers have had to rethink processes for attracting, engaging and retaining workers.

Prior to the internet, the process of job hunting meant reading the paper, hitting the pavement and networking face-to-face.

It wasn't until 1998 that Google became an internet powerhouse that enabled us to seek and find career opportunities at the push of a button, and LinkedIn didn't come on the scene offering the same opportunity until 2003.

One wonders how companies were able to find talent with little more than a phone book and fax machines. While technology has made sourcing talent easier, the importance of an effective employee recruitment process has not changed. Big businesses understand that if they don't hire the best talent, their company won't be able to deliver the products or services their customers expect. To that end, companies have sought to address these key areas as they concern recruitment and staff retention:

  • Understanding modern workforce expectations
  • Evaluating more flexible work options
  • Determining the best channels for recruitment
  • Utilizing communication channels such as video to connect with your workforce
  • Increasing staff participation
  • Creating an opportunity for internal promotion

Recruiting talent has been revolutionized by digital media. Keeping up with the trends in best hiring practices is imperative to remain competitive in today's workplace environment. How does big business stay on top of the trends leveraging technology while boosting recruiting productivity?

1. Understanding the current workforce

Not only has recruiting changed over the last decade – so has the potential pool of candidates. The changes in today's workforce are significant. Big businesses understand they must align their working environments with the expectations of the employees they seek to hire. People who weren't even old enough to work 10 years ago now make up much of the workforce.

With these changes come new expectations. Employers are looking beyond rubber-stamped qualifications to employee soft skills that bring greater value to the team, while employees are looking for better work conditions, flexible hours and opportunities for innovation. The pressure to develop successful employer branding, which focuses on employee perceptions, has also meant a shift in the power base, with employees now pursuing companies beyond wages, hours and opportunities and focusing on company culture.

Employee satisfaction is a win-win proposition. Staff members who are happy with their jobs will perform better than those who aren't. Big businesses know this and have, therefore, become more employee-focused than in the past. A study by BambooHR, conducted in 2006 and repeated in 2016, asked respondents how they felt about the companies they worked for. It also asked about the recognition the company gave its employees.

There was an increase in the overall number of employees with a favorable response from the answers to the same questions in 2006. The same survey found that 66% of employees would rather stay at their current job than look elsewhere. However, the study also found that fewer employees felt their interests and skills were matched well to the job they were doing. Businesses need to carefully review and update their job descriptions to accurately reflect the duties of open positions.

2. Offering more flexible working options

More employees today are looking for companies that allow them to work remotely or have flexible work hours. Big businesses recognize these employee expectations and are placing fewer restrictions on where their staff can work.

Physical presence is not as important as motivation and job performance. Technology has made remote work easier with video conferencing applications, project management tools and collaboration platforms. A Gallup survey found that 43% of employees in the United States spend some of their time working from home.

The same survey showed that being able to work remotely and have flexible work hours plays a significant role in a candidate's decision to accept a job offer as well as whether to leave their current position. Hiring the best talent is only half of the equation. Businesses must also understand the importance of retaining them.

When recruiting, it's about seeing more in a resume. It's not as much about their prior experience as it is about their wiring and their skill sets. When retaining, it's about really understanding the individual goals and motivations of each team member and creating personalized growth plans for them. 

3. Using the best channels to look in the right places

The rise in technology and social media has made it easier to reach a broader audience quickly. However, there is also a downside. Because there are so many places online to post jobs, it's increasingly challenging to find the right job board or social media site. Posting a job opening on a social media channel that doesn't attract the ideal candidate is a waste of time.

Businesses need to carefully select which channels or job boards are most likely to be visited by candidates with the desired background, experience and skills. For example, LinkedIn enables hiring managers to narrow their searches by desired skill set and other criteria. Another option for businesses with open positions that require specific degrees is to use university job boards to target graduates.

There are so many job boards available today for businesses to advertise position openings and for job seekers to search. A study by CareerBuilder found that those looking for jobs are using 16 resources in their search for employment.

This makes it more difficult for businesses to sort through the vast number of potential employees to find the best fit. Sourcing talent on niche platforms would be a more effective use of your time. Match the qualifications needed for each job opening and find the best resource for that niche.

4. Using video to connect with candidates

The Society for Human Resource Management suggests using video in several ways to improve the recruitment process. The article points out that using the visual web enables businesses of all sizes to enhance traditional HR functions with video tools. Telling your business story, displaying your company culture, and highlighting events in videos shows potential employees why your company is the place they want to work.

Potential candidates will get an idea of what it would be like to work for your company through the videos you create. Not only should you embed or post your videos on your webpages, but sharing them to social networks will allow even more people to visually experience the culture of your company.

Another popular trend is using video to conduct initial interviews. Video interviews save time and money, make the recruitment process more efficient, and are a convenient way to get to know job applicants.

5. Involving employees more

Businesses that recognize that engaged employees perform better understand the importance of increased employee engagement and job satisfaction. Here are some suggestions to increase employee involvement:

  • Ask for feedback and suggestions.
  • Mentor your employees.
  • Hold social gatherings and events.
  • Implement work teams.
  • Show gratitude and appreciation.
  • Build relationships and promote communication.

Create an environment where employees can have a direct impact on actions and decisions that affect their jobs.

6. Promoting from within

If your business needs to fill a high-level position, before you look outside, look at your current reliable talent. A focus on career development, mentorship and training should already be part of your business environment. If it's not, it isn't too late to start.

Companies that promote their culture of advancement opportunities will be more attractive to the talent pool of employees not looking for dead-end jobs. Businesses that strategically leverage these three main sources of talent will see the most success:

  1. Move current employees into open positions within your company.
  2. Look to "alternative workforces" such as freelancers and contractors.
  3. Use technology to improve the recruitment process.

Big business needs to understand how finding the right talent has changed over the years and keep up with the trends. It requires not only a change in the recruitment process but also an understanding of the new workforce and work environment preferences. No longer do companies have complete control of the recruitment process. It used to be that those offering the jobs held all the cards. Now, employers need to focus on what they can offer top talent and compete with other businesses looking for the same candidates.

Image Credit: Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock
David Trounce
David Trounce Member
David is a small business marketing and web design consultant and the founder of Mallee Blue Media. David lives in Australia and is also a contributor to Lendio, Power Retail and Digital Marketing Magazine.