How to attract the talent you need

Personnel Matters

While the future of today’s economy remains uncertain, we are currently experiencing an historically low unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, and due to various demographic trends and political actions, the pool of available talent is shrinking. These factors are producing a growing skills shortage in various industries. At the same time, today’s multigenerational job candidates expect more from their employers than their predecessors did, making it even harder for organizations to attract the talent they need.

To counter these trends, organizations of all sizes must become more proactive in how they present themselves to potential job candidates and how they manage the hiring process. Here are some suggestions for attracting the talent you need.

Get ahead of the curve.

Having an engaging company presence on the web is critical. It is especially important to have an easily accessible “careers” area that highlights the company’s purpose, culture, job opportunities and application process, benefits and other significant company attributes. Many companies today are also taking pre-emptive steps to increase pay and offer bonuses ahead of legislative attempts to increase the Federal minimum wage and the Department of Labor’s initiative to increase the salary threshold qualifying for exemption from overtime pay.

Offer a simple application process.

All job candidates prefer a simple and streamlined application process. Experts recommend creating an application that can be completed online in under 10 minutes. Today’s millennial generation prefers a process that can be completed on a smart phone.

Respond to applicants quickly.

Talent disappears quickly from the market. The best talent goes the fastest. So, it’s important to respond to applicants quickly, especially those in whom you are genuinely interested. Let applicants know that you have received their application and present a timetable for making a decision. This notification can be automated but some companies have found success using text messages to speed the process.

Keep applicants informed.

While you are considering your next step, keep applicants engaged in the hiring process. For example, periodically text or email applicants additional information about your company such as benefit programs, developmental opportunities and resources or recent company achievements. Also, continue to update applicants about where they are in the hiring process. Good talent will no longer wait months to hear from you about your decision.

Have a robust onboarding experience.

After a hiring decision has been made, do whatever is necessary to make the new hire feel welcome in your organization. Nothing helps reduce the need for hiring like a good retention process, and that begins with onboarding. It’s best to present the new employee with a planned onboarding schedule the first day on the job. This could include initial discussions with the supervisor, a lunch with co-workers, a tour of the facility, plans for future training and development, a schedule of periodic performance discussions, etc. While the experiences of the first day on the job are critical, a good onboarding process can take anywhere from three to six months.

Wow! Isn’t this a lot of work? What’s the payoff? Yes, it is a lot of work, but it is what’s necessary to fill positions in today’s job market, especially for skilled workers. However, the payoff is worth the effort: filled positions, higher productivity, more satisfied employees and higher retention. And it all begins with the hiring experience.

Dr. W. J. Heisler is professor of human resource management and director of the MSHRM program at Troy University. He operates out of TROY’s site based in Chesapeake, Va. He worked for more than 20 years in human resources at Newport News Shipbuilding. Contact:

About Dr. W. J. Heisler 14 Articles
Dr. W. J. Heisler is professor of human resource management and director of the MSHRM program at Troy University. He operates out of TROY’s site based in Chesapeake, Va. He holds Ph.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Syracuse University and worked for more than 20 years in management and executive positions in human resources at Newport News Shipbuilding. Contact:

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