Retention Begins With a High-tech High-touch Hiring Process

Two challenges in today’s competitive job market are how to find the BEST talent and how to retain the candidates hired. The demand for top talent will continue to increase as companies compete for highly skilled employees who possess both technical as well as soft skills. Worldwide, an estimated $200 billion is spent annually to attract and retain the best talent.

we-are-hiring-keyboardRecruiting was a very high-touch relationship building process until technology introduced high-tech into the traditional hiring process. Technology helped streamline sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding. To further improve efficiency human interaction and relationship building began to decrease. One job posting can generate hundreds of resumes which is why automated systems are used for initial screening. However, great candidates are often screened out, because of a lack of specific keywords on their resume or CV.

Unfortunately, the perception of many candidates is recruiters only represent the best interest of their company and do not make much effort to identify their priorities during interviews. Most passive candidates are willing to listen to a new opportunity if it represents career advancement but pitching a job too fast is not effective. Potential hires are not interested in making a lateral move, even for more money.

Candidates want to enhance their marketability and continue to learn while advancing their career.

An important question for you to answer is “When was the last time your hiring process was reviewed?” Your current process is either enhancing or sabotaging your recruiting and retention efforts. You may have invested in high-tech software, utilize big data and AI to identify qualified candidates quickly. However, human interaction is critical to create a hiring process that assists your recruiters in attracting the BEST talent, aligns job requirements with internal stakeholder needs and ensures that candidates have a positive experience.

Throughout my career in recruiting, I have observed that most companies waste time, energy, and money on five aspects of the hiring process.

First is the job requisition, which should be a type of marketing collateral rather than a laundry list of skills and credentials required. Requisitions should provide candidates with a sense of your company culture and outline opportunities for professional development. Millennials who now represent more than 50% of the workforce also want to understand how the work they do contributes to the company goals and mission.

Second are hiring parameters that give your company a competitive edge or can cause top talent to be screened out. Covid-19 changed hiring parameters for many companies almost overnight. Many companies began to offer flextime, virtual opportunities, and customized work arrangements around the needs of their employees. As a result, many qualified employees will request those same parameters post-Covid-19.

Third is the lack of performance objectives. When performance objectives are created up front, everyone involved in the hiring process knows how the new hire will be evaluated in six or twelve months. Too often there is a huge disconnect between the laundry list of skills on a job requisition and how a candidate will be evaluated. After writing performance objectives I have seen hiring authorities delete many of the required skills on a requisition that will not be utilized on the job, while adding other skills that are relevant to the new hire’s success.

Fourth is the interview process itself. I was hired by a Fortune 100 company to train their recruiters who were failing to identify female and diverse candidates. It became obvious very quickly that it was not the recruiters who were at fault, it was the interview process. A telephone screen followed by a panel interview can help reduce bias and emotion from the hiring process. This along with a standardized consistent appraisal process prevents one person from eliminating highly qualified candidates.

Fifth is the candidate appraisal process which can be easily influenced by the personalities of individuals included in the interview process. Consistent questions and a score card system grading answers provided, will upgrade the appraisal process. Even minor changes in these five areas will help eliminate the waste of time, energy and money that occurs in most hiring processes.

Lastly is the importance of recruiters nurturing their candidates pre- and post-hire. Most new hires have developed their strongest relationship with their recruiter during the hiring process. In any type of relationship, people want the answers to three questions: Can I trust you? Do you care about me? Will you deliver what you promise? If a recruiter drops the ball the minute an offer is accepted, the answers to those questions is “no.”

Recruiters should assist candidates with their resignation and then ask to check a reference at their current employer, to make sure they did in fact, resign. The new hire could be asked to fill out paperwork, tax forms or benefit information prior to their start date. They could suggest the new hire participate virtually in meetings or zoom calls or have lunch with their future boss or one of their co-workers. These actions help align your new hire and greatly reduce the occurrence of counteroffers being accepted.

Embracing a high-tech high-touch approach will provide your company with a competitive edge to attract, hire and retain the BEST talent.



Barbara Bruno

Barbara Bruno

Barbara Bruno, author of HIGH-TECH HIGH-TOUCH RECRUITING: How To Attract And Retain The Best Talent By Improving The Candidate Experience, is an internationally recognized recruiting expert who has a proven track record of helping recruiters and talent acquisition professionals become more successful and less stressed. She has created several popular LinkedIn Learning courses and is president of Good As Gold Training, HR Search, Inc., and Happy Candidates.

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