3 Ways to Better Recruiting Results

By Erin Binney Jul 12, 2017

BOSTON—"Talent acquisition is hard, and it's getting harder," said Ronald Arigo to a roomful of talent management professionals at the Human Capital Institute's 2017 Strategic Talent Acquisition Conference.

He was preaching to the choir.

When the chief human resources officer (CHRO) for the commonwealth of Massachusetts went on to ask the audience if their organizations were on track to hire more people this year than last year, the vast majority raised their hands. He got a similar response when he asked how many think it is getting harder to hire for critical leadership skills and how many are engaged in discussions about how to make talent acquisition more effective.

Arigo then introduced a panel of HR executives who shared how their organizations are meeting the increasing demands of talent acquisition.

Look at multiple metrics. As CHRO for Lineage Logistics, Sean Vanderelzen faces recruiting and retention challenges when hiring hourly employees for the Irvine, Calif.-based temperature control company. It can be hard to get people in Southern California to get off their surfboards and into the warehouse, he said, where temperatures can be anywhere from 38 degrees to negative 40. Additionally, 40 percent of the company's turnover happens in the first 90 days.

[SHRM members-only how-to guide: How to Determine Turnover Rate]

In creating what it refers to as a "talent machine," one of the things Lineage does is look at the entire talent management cycle rather than focusing on one metric such as time-to-fill or cost-per-hire. Even if those metrics are solid, Vanderelzen explained, they don't mean a lot if new hires turn over quickly.

"Sometimes you have to pick your head up and really look at the whole end-to-end system," he said, adding that means hiring the right people for staying power.

Invest in recruiters. Good recruiters are hard to find, noted Greg Karr, executive vice president at Boston-based recruitment process outsourcing company Sevenstep, so if you find a good one, you want to hold on to him or her. One way to do that is to create a culture where recruiters' value is recognized and where they can learn new things, he said.

Sevenstep, which has about 300 recruiters who will fill between 35,000 and 40,000 positions for the company's clients this year, created a training curriculum for all new hires, Karr told SHRM Online. For the first few weeks on the job, new hires spend about half the day in classroom training and the other half job-shadowing and sitting in on team review sessions.

After this initial training period, managers continue to coach employees. Managers may listen in on recruiting calls, for example, and suggest where a conversation with a prospective candidate took a positive turn or where it could have been handled better.

Longer-term employees participate in 60 hours of ongoing training a year. Some of the training is mandatory; some is voluntary. It is often client- or industry-specific as the company takes on new clients or as recruiters take on new roles.

Leverage employer brand. Efforts to bolster employer brand shouldn't begin and end with HR, said Lisa Smith-Strother, senior director of global employer brand, recruitment marketing and diversity talent acquisition at technology communications company Ericsson, which is headquartered in Stockholm. HR will need to work closely with key partners to make sure the messaging is clear and consistent.

HR at Ericsson, for example, has collaborated with the marketing department to create Twitter campaigns. It has also provided hiring managers with talking points to share during interviews and has tapped employees to be brand ambassadors by featuring them in advertisements.

Leveraging employer brand also means paying attention to candidates—even unsuccessful ones. Ericsson recently developed a declined candidates platform, where people who didn't receive job offers can go to "build their CV skills, build their communication skills [and learn how to] be more prepared when it comes to interviewing," Smith-Strother said.

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