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Adapting Hiring Practices to engage top talent

Luke Switkowski, CEO - Rooster by Kognitiv

The pandemic changed many lives, especially when it comes to work. Many are still re-evaluating where they want to work, who they want to work with, and searching for new opportunities. With turnover and open job requisitions at an all-time high, it’s time to meet candidates where they’re at.

As employers, we’ve been dealing with a ton of change over the past few years. Everyone has really. And in that sort of business environment, it’s hard to be intentional and strategic with things like hiring when you feel like you’re consistently just trying to keep your head above water. But I wholeheartedly believe that when you start getting intentional about hiring and engaging top talent, your entire business changes for the better. You get out of the weeds, and you’re able to finally deploy that team dynamic that allows you, your business, and your team to thrive. So, how do you start to do that? Here are 5 ways to start:

1. Empower candidates throughout your hiring process.
What does empowering your candidates mean? It means making every step of the process accessible while encouraging candidates to engage and show their true selves.

Make your hiring platform accessible for candidates to find what they’re searching for easily. Ensure your application process isn’t overly burdensome and allows for some open-ended responses where they can really show their skills and personality. Don’t start off with a super technical interview before doing a conversational interview where you really get to know the person first. Make scheduling and follow-up simple and accessible. Maybe even implement text and non-traditional communication methods that you know candidates are using most often.

2. If you don’t have an answer, update, don’t ignore.
While this seems like common sense, how many people actually do this? When you have a stellar candidate, you try as hard as possible to move them through your hiring process. Odds are if they’re one of your top choices, they’re someone else’s too. But there are policies and procedures, people go on vacation, you have staffing shortages—things happen. Rather than just letting the time pass, have the recruiter send them a quick, friendly note with a quick, “We didn’t forget about you. We’ll have the next steps for you within a week.” Pop a card or package with a little swag in the mail. Something along those lines. It’s a simple gesture, one that can even be automated in many cases but will go a long way.

3. Take a hard look at your corporate culture.
Gone are the days when interviews are one-sided, employers interviewing candidates. Every candidate that comes through your door (literal or figurative), is also interviewing you. They’re evaluating whether they agree with your mission, align with your values, and can see themselves being a part of this business family. 

Make sure you’re embracing candidates’ top values today, including pay transparency, solid benefits, flexibility, learning opportunities, and a career trajectory within the organization laid out from the get-go. Be intentional about making sure candidates know that they’re valued from that initial meeting and show them your company is a great place to work. 

Over half of job seekers won’t even apply to a company if they have bad reviews from employees on Glassdoor or sites like that, so take care of your people, and they’ll take care of the future of your business.

4. Use video to interview for early rounds, not phone or in-person.
Once a candidate has made it past the initial screening call, meet face-to-face. Whether that’s in-person or virtually for a lot of roles today. Even if it will be a hybrid or in-person role, don’t make them commute to an interview for the first round. Using video during your recruitment process allows you to create a deeper connection with your top talent and make it more accessible to a diverse pool of talent at the same time. It’s more efficient and just as effective. You’re able to see body language and really engage, and it’s easier to schedule when teams don’t have to be in the building together.

5. Ensure you’re being inclusive in every way.
As a part of your company’s DEI strategy, you need to look at your interview and hiring processes. Are your job descriptions written with gender-based or industry-centric language? Do you include EEOC compliance statements in all your job descriptions and make sure you are indeed compliant? Are you using fonts on your website that are accessible to those with common disorders like dyslexia? Do you have transcripts and closed captions for audio on your hiring marketing videos? Where are you advertising your job openings? Are you incorporating sites that target diverse demographics? 

Actions like this take intentionality and hard work but building an inclusive and diverse work environment will only benefit your company in the long run and engage top talent. Diverse teams are strong, powerful teams! 

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