5 Tips to Help HR Beat the Talent Shortage in 2017

Mar 15, 2017 - Joe Matar
If you were working in HR and recruiting during 2016, you probably felt the pinch of the talent shortage.   That makes it hard to believe that we were in the midst of a recession just a few years ago, when employees were considerably easier to hire.   Now we’ve got the lowest number of jobless claims in the U.S. since 1973, along with the most job postings going unfilled in U.S. history and the lowest unemployment rate in 10 years.   It’s a stressful time to be recruiting, and according to the latest jobs report, there aren’t any indications that it will ease up in 2017.   So what can you do, other than stress about unfilled jobs?   Here are 5 tips that will improve your hiring quickly, and help make 2017 a better year for you.

1. Use Glassdoor and forums to know exactly what recruits want

What if you could peer inside the ideal recruit’s head and know exactly what it is that they want out of a job?   Knowing what your audience wants is essential, even in recruiting. I’ll show you two simple tricks for researching your potential applicants.   First, go to Glassdoor and type in the name of the position you’re hiring for. HR & Recruiting Click on a company in the left margin, then click “Reviews” and read them, paying attention to the “Cons” section. HR Recruiting Usually if you read a few of these for almost any position, you’ll start seeing some of the same cons repeated, such as “the benefits are terrible,” or “not enough paid time off.” Get as many of these as you can, and see if you can flip them into “pros” for working at your company. For instance, if a lot of people are complaining about the lack of PTO, can you offer more than your competitors? Getting the best recruits will almost surely make it worth the cost.   If Glassdoor doesn’t produce results for you, go to Google and do this search: inurl:forum [position]. HR   For example, inurl:forum nurse. This will dig up any forums related to the position. Most professions have at least one online forum where people go to talk shop, and often discuss what they love and hate about their profession. A few minutes on one of these should give you a similar list of “cons.”

2. Fight for job postings that really draw talent

In recent months I’ve been in several conversations with HR workers in which I recommended that they alter the style of their job postings like this to get better results.   This is a place where recruiting efforts can see huge wins. Most job postings are really drab. They’re typically a long list of duties and responsibilities, without much info about why someone should want to work at a particular company.   Imagine you’re one of the many talented potential applicants who already has a job, but is just doing a little window shopping on a job board. What’s going to get your attention? A list of demands from an employer, or information like what we gathered in tip 1?   If you can turn your job postings into a list of great reasons to work with you, you’ll stand out and get the attention of the best people on the market.   The problem I hear, when I recommend this, is that the company they work for has strict guidelines about job descriptions, and they’ve got to follow a format. I say now is the time to lobby for change. With the talent shortage so acute, this is when more companies might be open to loosening up their policy on job descriptions.   Also, it’s good to remember that small companies with few HR rules in place are already starting to do this. Soon larger ones will follow suit. Don’t be the last company to start writing better job posts.

3. Automatically get notified of industry layoffs

Whether we’re in a recession or not, companies go out of business and layoffs happen. While sad, they can represent opportunities to pick up employees that are just about to come on the job market.   Here’s a neat trick that will automate it for you: Go to Google Alerts and create an alert for each position you need to hire for, along with “layoffs.” You may also want to do one for the business type and “closings” or “out of business.” So, for example, you could have an alert for “nurse layoffs” and “hospital layoffs” and “hospital closing.” Now when there’s a news story about nurses being laid off, a hospital that’s laying off workers, or a hospital that’s closing, you’ll get an email with the article. You could then send recruiters to that area, or get in contact with employees from the company via LinkedIn.

4. Use Facebook to reach passive recruits

In our current job market, the best talent is likely already employed somewhere. So there’s a good chance they’re not spending time on job boards, and therefore not seeing your postings. How can you reach them?   While they may not be on job boards, just about everyone is on Facebook. On top of that, the social network has some pretty powerful tools that can help you target people that are very likely to accept jobs, such as Lead Gen ads.   You can have your ads shown to people who have listed the position you’re hiring for as their job title, and who live in a specific area.   You can also target by interests. So, say you are based in an area that’s known for a great music scene. You could target music lovers in your profession, and use an image and text in the ad that promotes this aspect of the job’s location. The possibilities to use this tool are limited only to your imagination.

5. How to spot opportunities with competitors

If all the talented people are already working, at some point you’re going to have to reach out to people who have jobs and try to lure them away.   Headhunting. I know, it sounds unsavory. But let’s go back to Glassdoor and look at ways of finding people who might be really glad to hear from you.   When you’re looking at company’s reviews, keep an eye out for ones that have received a lot of negative reviews lately, and for signs of general discontent at the company. This is a clear signal that there are problems, and some of their best employees may be open to hearing about new opportunities.   I really recommend trying to get tip 2 done soon. If you’re ever going to get the rules changed so that you can write job postings that actually work, now is the time to do it.   Paul Peters is content marketer and job ad writer with Betterteam. Before Betterteam he spent 6 years building an education startup, where he was was involved with many aspects of the business, including hiring and marketing.

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