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What Recruiters Need to Know in 2023

Solid recruiting is the cornerstone of every growing team’s success. Companies are competing in a crowded field, and today’s talent has plenty of options. Whether it is a Fortune 500 company or a start-up, a non-profit or a healthcare organization, every organization is looking for the same thing: quality, top-notch talent.

The talent acquisition business is a competitive one. Recruiters need to be at the peak of their game to successfully grow their teams, especially this year. Attracting the best and the brightest means setting yourself apart from other companies and their recruiting experiences.

But how do you stand out? How do you improve your recruitment campaigns and increase the quality of talent you attract?

We asked top recruiting industry leaders for their advice on the subject, and here’s what they had to say.

Keep It Moving

Keep the interview process moving quickly and encourage your teams to carve out time in their busy schedules to do so. After all, you’re hiring because you need the help! Ghosting is real and keeping candidates engaged leads to a stronger connection to your brand, helps with retention, as well as your reputation. – Kat Stefanski, Sr. Recruiter at Creative Alignments

A key part of creating a positive recruiting experience is responding quickly and clearly. Work with your hiring managers on a strategy to prioritize timely communication, and create a few message templates to address some common scenarios. Moving the recruiting process along makes a huge difference to candidates, especially if they are weighing other roles at the same time. Prompt communication also cuts down on ghosting!

Opening new roles can be a good time to examine your own recruiting experience, as well. Consider the different touchpoints candidates experience, and evaluate whether they meet your standards. 

For example, is it easy to apply for your roles? How long do candidates have to wait before hearing back about their next step? Is there clear ownership of communication? Are you setting accurate expectations for the recruiting process?

Show the Role’s Impact

Recruiting now, more than ever, requires leaders to project humanity and vulnerability. Are you clear on the role’s “why” and how the role’s work impacts you, the organization, and the candidate? Today’s highly competitive market means leaders have to go beyond describing job tasks to articulating the role’s value-add, risks, and needs to the people involved. – Kalyn Wilson, CEO at Dream Forward Consulting

Articulating the impact of a role or project is not just a recruiting technique. It's a fundamental part of building relationships and a crucial tool for attracting top talent. Candidates want to know why they should work for you, not just what you expect them to do. To provide a strong picture of what candidates should expect, communicate the purpose of the role and how that role will impact others. This also shows that your company values trust and transparency in the organization.

Job seekers aren't just looking for a paycheck. More than ever, they're prioritizing positions that make a positive difference to their team and their company’s success. By highlighting a role’s impact on others, you can help candidates see the full opportunity and can envision themselves doing that work. Your company will be seen as one that values building strong relationships among team members.

Foster an Inclusive Candidate Experience

We should all strive to use the influence we have to make our workplaces more inclusive. Each person in the hiring process has the unique opportunity to do this. You do not need to be a Diversity practitioner to make meaningful change. – Marquis White, DEI / L&D Consultant at Perfeqta

Successful modern workplaces are inclusive.

When recruiting candidates, you’re responsible for their first impression of the organization. Are you creating an inclusive candidate experience?

From the first time they view a job description and look at your team’s About page, a candidate should understand your commitment to an inclusive workplace.

Start with your application pages. Ensure they meet web accessibility standards and that the language doesn’t contain any bias. Research inclusive ways to source candidates. Clearly communicate next steps to candidates so they can prepare for stages in the recruiting process. Before interviews, educate your team on how to be inclusive. In interviews, put them at ease and avoid overly stressful situations. Look for ways to connect with them on a personal level before their last round of interviews.

You’ll also want to see if a candidate’s views on inclusivity positively impact your company culture. If you don’t already, add standard interview questions around inclusivity. For managers, consider creating an entire interview section around inclusivity.

Offer Remote Work Options

The availability of a workplace outside their home is important to a lot of candidates. There may be more interest in options than in work from home. I'm keen to see what alternatives to co-working spaces pop up, like Workchew. For us, having offices in four small cities has caught the eye of a lot of applicants. Yes, I'm seeing a huge increase of remote applicants around the country, and I love how remote work gives us access to those people. But I'm also hearing from people local to our four cities craving a workplace. I'm curious to see how local community presence impacts job applicants' decisions. – Emily Bloom, People Director at Viget

Working from home can be a great experience for employees, and some candidates are definitely looking for that option. That said, remote work encompasses much more.

While you're re-evaluating your candidate experience this year, consider offering multiple remote work options, especially ones that foster a sense of community. By drastically opening up employment options, the shift to remote work has created new candidate expectations. If every organization in your industry allows employees to work from home, how can you go one step further? And how can you create a community for remote employees?

From workcations to coworking spaces, there are plenty of remote work flavors to consider. And providing options for remote work isn't just important for recruiting, it allows organizations to retain high performing employees who prefer or need to live in another geographical area.

Highlight Your Mission

It’s all about your mission and benefits. Given that our options have increased dramatically, candidates are gravitating towards mission-driven companies. Think: sustainability, intentional DEI and social impact initiatives, good work/life balance, robust benefits, and an overall commitment to your people. Clearly highlight (and genuinely act upon) that commitment in your job posting and marketing materials. – Kat Stefanski, Sr. Recruiter at Creative Alignments

Candidates will also be interviewing you. Recruiting candidates this year means selling yourself and your culture, and successful organizations will sell their mission. Think about the soul of your business and why it exists. Talk with your leadership to hone the right message and communicate an accurate description of your company's "why."

What makes you different from your competitors?
What is your company’s mission and values?
What is your company’s turnaround story?
What does the future hold for your employees, customers, and other stakeholders?
What do you stand for?

Today's candidates want a job that's fulfilling and contributes to a force greater than themselves.

Use the Right Tools

You can have the best recruiting processes, strategies and approaches, but if you aren’t using the right tools, you could be missing out on quality candidates. It's not just about Applicant Tracking Systems now, either. Top recruiters are using innovative tools, from sourcing to screening.

New tools geared towards recruiters are coming out every day. Find the right ones, and you'll see your recruiting process get a lot easier. Consider asking your network about their favorite tools, join a recruiter-specific community, or attend events around new tools. Even if you've been in the game for a while, you're bound to find something new!

Start by thinking about how you currently spend your time, then explore ways you could automate or improve processes. Unconscious bias contributes to inequity in the workforce, so how could you leverage technology to remove that bias? Are you spending too much time on reporting? Maybe it's time to move candidate information into a better tool. Not getting enough information on your sponsored job ads? Look for integrations that speed up analysis.

Personalize Outreach

Given that response rates have been so low, 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th round outreach can be critical. Though it takes time, it’s worth personalizing your messages vs. blasting out the same impersonal emails. Get hiring managers involved… Choose your top candidates, help craft the message, and have them reach out. We’ve seen response rates increase significantly with those personalized touchpoints. – Kat Stefanski, Sr. Recruiter at Creative Alignments

By personalizing candidate outreach, you’ll create a stronger foundation of trust compared to generic outreach. Personalizing communication doesn’t just make candidates feel special, it shows that you value their time and their skills as an individual.

Think about your own recruiting experiences. Did you feel more compelled to respond when you received a personalized email? You don’t have to craft a detailed letter back to every applicant, but consider how to incorporate a personalized touch. It may be through  acknowledging something unique in their application or a topic you discussed during a phone screen.

Consider how candidates prioritize their own communication. If it seems like a message is automated as opposed to personalized by another human, it’s more likely to get archived or pushed further down a to-do list.

Set Yourself Up for Recruiting Success this year

Expect the global talent marketplace to continue to evolve and adapt. The fast-changing nature of today’s workplace has created many challenges for recruiters, but more importantly, a whole new world of possibilities.

Fortunately, recruiters who can evolve with the needs of modern talent and foster excellent recruiting experiences will attract the top candidates. These are the kind of talent acquisition leaders with the power to change the way we fill jobs.

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Ben Travis

Ben is the founder of HR Chief. He enjoys working with passionate teams to solve impactful problems with technology.

He has a heart for HR/People Ops teams and uses his experience from the startup, agency, and nonprofit spaces to drive results.