Paul Peters from applicant tracking system Betterteam blogs on how a company’s current employees can be an untapped source of excellent job candidates.
We’re living in one of the toughest hiring climates of all time.
It’s taking a record 29 days to find employees and more job openings are going unfilled than ever before.
But what many companies are failing to realise is that current employees are an untapped source; they can identify the very best candidates for your business.
They can help you reach ‘passive’ candidates who are not yet on the market or who aren’t actively looking for jobs – and who make up about 75 per cent of your potential pool.
Leveraging employees can also give you inside information that helps you find and attract better candidates on LinkedIn and job boards, especially for competitive roles.
How to handle referrals
This is the most obvious, tried and tested way of leveraging current employees to attract new ones.
Many companies reward successful referrals, which may be expected in some industries. For me, this puts the emphasis in the wrong place.
You want employees recommending people not because of a bonus, but because they really want to work with those they’re recommending.
Working with great people improves everyone’s day and makes the company more profitable. In turn, people ideally get paid more, receive more promotions and have more job security.
That said, recognition doesn’t cost a thing and can go a long way towards making an employee happy. If a referral is successful, be sure to thank the referring employee when you announce the new hire.
How should you approach asking for referrals?
At an education startup I once ran, we found many of our best employees by putting out a message via email or Slack, informing employees that we were hiring and which positions we were hiring for.
We would generally ask: Where can we find the best person to do this job? Or: Do you know someone you would love to work with?
I’d also recommend sending employees some pre-written copy that they can post to social media to help put the word out. This is an effective way to reach passive candidates.
If you’re hiring engineers, for example, engineers at your company are likely to have contacts from their past or on social. Even if they aren’t seeking employment, they may see your employee’s post and get in touch.
Leverage employees to win at LinkedIn recruiting
This is a bit more proactive than asking for referrals and a great tactic in tough hiring times.
Talk to your very best hires and ask them about the best teams they’ve ever worked in, and where and when it was. It’s likely that their experience links to a high point at the company they worked for.
Through LinkedIn’s advanced search tool, you’ll be able to find out who else worked there at that time.
Ask your current employees to introduce you to anyone who looks like they might be a good fit. Talk to them about why the potential candidate might like the position and use that when you make contact.
How your employees can help you write killer job postings
If there’s any risk to getting help from your employees with recruiting, it’s becoming too dependent on it.
By failing to post your job elsewhere, you may not reach a diverse enough audience and could miss out on potentially great hires.
But yet again, your current employees can help you succeed, by influencing your job board postings.
Nearly all job postings are the same; they read like a bullet pointed list of demands by the employer. This gives you a terrific opportunity to set yourself apart.
Forget writing out all the possible qualifications and requirements for a job – keep them to a minimum.
Instead, ask current employees what it is about the job, the workplace, their fellow employees and the location of your business that would make someone want to work there. That’s what to include in your job posting.
Potential applicants are like customers you’re trying sell to. A little effort into this part of the recruiting process will reap big rewards.
At Betterteam, we’ve helped several clients rewrite their job postings this way.
After taking this approach to an endodontist position that hadn’t received an applicant in months, the company received two well-qualified applicants within three days, and hired a great employee a short time later.
Don’t let this tough hiring climate hold you back! Improve communication with your employees and let them show you the way to making your next great hire.