It’s no secret that companies today are struggling to find talent with the skills they need– despite the amount of available candidates. While many experts blame a lack of skills on the worker side, recent research indicates that the difference between how employers and candidates think and behave is contributing to the problem. In other words, there is a fundamental gap between how recruiters search for candidates and how candidates search for jobs. And this gap is causing a lot of missed opportunities for both recruiters and job candidates. To be more specific, I have outlined five key areas where the disconnect between recruiters and candidates is most seen:
Job Search Sources: Job candidates use an average of five sources in their job searches – including job boards, the company career site, social media, search engines and peer networks. Meanwhile, recruiters tend to be creatures of habit when it comes to sourcing. They tend to use one or two sources that worked for them previously; however, by not utilizing every possible touchpoint to connect with candidates, they may miss out on quality talent.
Job Titles: When it comes to job titles, recruiters and candidates tend to speak an entirely different language. Recruiters tend to fall into the trap of using job titles that are may be too broad (“nurse”, for example, could mean many different positions), too vague (are candidates really entering terms like “rock stars” or “evangelists” when searching for available positions?), or too internal (do people outside your company really know what a “project development manager – level II” is?). Many recruiters don’t even have the ability to change the titles of the jobs they post due to technology or process restrictions. Understanding how and where job seekers search for jobs is crucial to targeting the most qualified talent. Job candidates today use anywhere from seven to ten terms when searching for jobs, so recruiters should consider the different ways in which candidates might be entering these search terms and be as descriptive (but still concise!) as possible when creating job titles – and influence their hiring managers accordingly!
The Application Process: An estimated 34 percent of candidates who try to apply for jobs don’t even complete the application process. Thanks to technology like smartphones, which has accustomed people to seamless interaction and instant gratification, today’s candidates expect brevity and speed in the application process – and won’t tolerate anything else. The more hoops they have to jump through to apply for a job, the less likely they are to do so. Yet not only is it oftentimes hard for recruiters to view the application process objectively – as a candidate would – but even if they could see what the application process is really like, they often lack the resources and sufficient technology that would enable them to create a better process.
Brand Perception: Today’s most in-demand candidates aren’t just looking for jobs – they’re looking for a place to fit in. They want to work for companies where they feel they fit in culturally, and have opportunities to grow and develop; therefore, they do their research and carefully weigh an employer’s brand perception when considering where to work. Unfortunately, recruiters have limited control over how their brand is perceived. Just as candidates are “always on” in their job search, so is your brand. Social sites like Facebook, Glassdoor, YouTube and others are difficult to control and interested talent are on these sites researching various employers. By the time candidates apply, they’ve already done extensive research, and are actively engaged in the company. By this point, the job falls on the recruiters to keep that engagement – the last crucial area of disconnect between recruiters and candidates. Read on…
Engagement: Recruiters are unable to continuously engage candidates. They simply do not have the time, the resources and often, the technology to do so.. Today’s candidates seek – and expect – ongoing engagement throughout the recruitment process. They expect to receive emails and newsletters – even text messages – with information about their application status and new job opportunities they might be interested in. The traditional post-application auto-response email, followed by weeks of silence – simply doesn’t cut it for them anymore (as illustrated here). Staying connected with candidates is continuous reinforcement of your brand – the more you engage a candidate, the better their perception of your organization. Remember, too, candidates are also consumers!
Understanding where these gaps between recruiters and candidates lie will help recruiters navigate their recruitment challenges as they seek out new ways to connect with their ideal candidates. Even those who are strapped for time and resources can take advantage of new tools that create a faster, more efficient recruitment process that also allows for continuous engagement with candidates. One such tool is CareerBuilder’s Talent Network, which utilizes over 16 years of candidate job search behavior to help employers build a pipeline of relevant talent, integrate their various sourcing methods into one place, engage candidates, and measure the success of their efforts.
The marketplace for great talent is competitive, but those who make the effort to build their talent network by connecting with the right candidates – on their terms – and keeping them engaged will ultimately find themselves ahead of the curve. Keep an eye out for the second part of this three-part series, where I’ll talk more about talent networks and why they matter to your recruiting strategy.