Leading On Careers: How to Compete for Talent in 2015

Year after year businesses claim that one of the largest challenges they face is competing for top talent. Finding individuals that not only have the right skill set, but the right personality to fit into the businesses overall culture can be difficult. While the hype about a war for talent is overstated, finding the right person can be daunting. The talent is available but businesses have to be able to find them.TALENT2015

The New Year will be no different. In 2015 companies across the nation will have open positions that they struggle to fill. Candidates are poised and ready to contribute, but will not be willing to jump at anything. They expect different things from companies and the businesses that are able to offer these things will have the candidates they need to fill critical positions.

A 2015 recruitment process will look a bit different than one in previous years. Things have changed in the last several years and recruiters have to be savvier in how they go about marketing their open roles. The advent of social media and the increase in its use for recruitment purposes have created the need for recruiters to think and act like marketers. While posting a job on a job board and having an abundance of great candidates apply worked a few years ago, the truly great talent rarely peruses job boards these days.

In short, truly great talent has to be found.

To compete for talent in 2015 companies need to focus on the following factors and ensure that they are showcased to potential employees at every step of the recruitment process. The more information a business can provide about what it means to work for their company the better.

Employment Brand

Every business has a consumer brand. They know what it is, they can describe it and they build marketing plans around it. Every company also has an employment brand. What type of employer are you? What can potential employees expect from a cultural standpoint? The employment brand should be thought of the same as a consumer brand. It should be defined, refined and then used in targeted recruiting campaigns. Employment branding is the single way employers can control or manage the perceptions that the general public, and current employees for that matter, have about them as an employer. This takes strategy and companies who do this well are on the most desired places to work for lists year after year.

The Unique Opportunity

Cash may always be king when it comes to things that attract individuals to certain workplaces, but more and more employees are looking for places that allow them to do something unique. A company that can offer employees the opportunity to work on projects that they could not do elsewhere will always be highly sought after positions. Companies should exploit the uniqueness of their firm’s opportunities as much as possible throughout the employment branding process.

The interesting thing about a unique opportunity is that it doesn’t always have to be the end product that is unique. Maybe it is software used or a process that is different than anything else even if the product is not that different. Giving people an opportunity that is different than the competition will set a company aside as an employer of choice.

The Opportunity to Make a Difference

For years people have said in interviews that what they really want in a job is to feel like they are making a difference. Now, more than ever, those answers are sincere. People are taking lesser paying jobs, driving further for work and making other personal sacrifices if they work they are doing is emotionally rewarding. Feeling as though one is making a difference or contributing at a high level to society allows us to look beyond hardships as long as the end result is positive. A company who can showcase how what an individual is doing contributes to society at large or makes a difference in the lives of individuals will be at the top of many candidates list.

In 2015 recruiters are going to need to be much more proactive in their recruiting process. Planning ahead, building relationships with candidates that could be potential fits down the road and keeping lines of communication open with a constant stream of individuals will be necessary to compete. Using social media to find and interact with talent will be a must for many recruiters. Companies just now starting to recruit for positions that will be open in January are already behind. It is important to look 3, 6 and 9 months down the road, anticipate what may be open and start the recruiting process now.

The steps are easy to articulate, but harder to execute. Decide what the employment branding strategy is, conduct workforce planning for at least the next 90 days (ideally longer) and then start to source candidates who you want to start dialogues with (even if the position is months away). The faster businesses think about recruiting as a strategy and a marketing process, the faster they will be considered an employer of choice and no longer have to compete for top talent.

Sabrina Baker
Sabrina Baker, PHR is the founder and CEO of Acacia HR Solutions, a human resource outsourcing, consulting and recruiting firm located outside of Chicago, IL. Sabrina was a human resource leader for eleven years before starting her own business in 2011. She serves on the Illinois Society of Human Resources Council board and holds the position of Annual Conference Chair. She is also a member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) press team and is a regular contributor to their We Know Next blog. After experiencing her own layoff in 2010, Sabrina became very passionate about helping job seekers find work. Through her business and volunteer efforts she makes helping people find jobs a priority. Sabrina was named one of the Top 100 HR Influencers to follow on Twitter via the Huffington Post in 2013 and one of the Faces of Recruiting and Staffing by HR Marketer in 2014.
Sabrina Baker
Sabrina Baker

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