Recruiting Best Practices: Treat Employees Like Customers

Talent Acquisition

As Human Resources leaders trying to win the talent war, you are shifting your mindset about employee engagement and experience. While you are aiming to find the best people to execute your business strategy and achieve positive business outcomes, you are also trying to keep those go-getters happy. It’s a juggling act.

The answer is treating your employees like customers, says Saleem Khaja, the COO and Co-founder of WorkLLama, who recently spoke at the HR Exchange Network’s Recruiting and Talent Acquisition online event.

“We built a platform focused on treating employees like customers,” says Khaja.

WATCH: Elevating Talent Acquisition: From Transactional to Transformational

Khaja points to the current landscape for Human Resources. There are 10.6 million unfilled jobs, and 365,000 recruiter jobs open. He shared that 27 million people in the United States can be considered “untapped talent.” Consider changing demographics of the workforce and inefficient, outdated, or under-utilized technology, and you can see that HR is overwhelmed during a historic labor shortage.

A solid talent acquisition system needs people, processes, and technology, says Khaja. To take action, you must look at your talent acquisition strategy in a holistic way. Learn his step-by-step guide:  

Build Your Employer Brand

Everything you need to build a powerful brand is already at your fingertips. Khaja suggests showcasing your mission, vision, values, and culture. You can bring in the marketing function, even temporarily, to market your brand to potential job candidates. Use the value proposition that you’ve already established to win over customers, says Khaja.

“Marketing becomes an extremely critical function in talent acquisition if you’re trying to move from being transactional to transformational,” he says.

Create a Dialogue with Talent

Marketers have been personalizing content for customers for years. Now, you should do the same when broaching conversations with potential job applicants and recruits. Provide them with meaningful conversation that pinpoints what they need and want in an employer.

You can ask recruiters and hiring managers to consider themselves as employees first.  

“When we talk about talent experience, we’re not just talking about candidates who are looking for a job in your company,” says Khaja. “We’re also talking about your recruiters, who are also your employees, your hiring managers. You need to keep in mind the experience you deliver to those internal stakeholders as they participate in this process of bringing talent into your organization.”

In other words, the employee experience translates to the recruiter experience. People talk about what is happening on the ground as they are applying to work for different companies. They make observations about what they see as they go through the application process.

Technology can help you. Use chatbots on career sites to keep the application process open virtually 24/7. The bots can boost applicant flow, accelerate hiring, increase engagement, shrink time-to-interview, and eliminate bias, says Khaja.  

Of course, you should meet applicants where they are. Determine their preferred modes of communication and devices, such as text, phone, laptop, email, chat, etc. Discover where potential candidates live, work, and play to gain visibility and interact with them.

Leverage Existing Talent Data

Everyone is looking beyond their usual sources for talent. After all, this is a shortage and redefining the profile of candidates is a must. Consider what Khaja calls silver medalists, those who might have been the runner-up for a particular position but still have strong skills and qualifications. Return to alumni, who might come back to your organization with a fresh outlook and less of a need for intense training. Or they might just provide referrals that are a great fit for your organization.

“If you have these talent pools in your talent community, and you’re nurturing them post their application and hiring process, then you have a workbench of engaged talent that at some point has expressed an interest in working for your brand, and you can always tap into it when there are those unforeseen spikes in demand,” says Khaja.

In addition, you can use talent profiles to seek certain skill sets and experience internally. Determine if current employees fit the bill for job openings. Make it easy for anyone in these various talent pools to recommend other candidates. You may consider, as Khaja suggests, creating an internal talent marketplace that includes the chance for mobility, career pathing, and upskilling.

Recognize Referrals

Referrals are nine times more likely to be hired. Again, you should put your branding cap on and think about this as you would a brand referral. Just as you would with customers, you should make it easy for those in your talent pool to share jobs via email, text, and social media. Track referrals and incentives. Devise these talent pools by skill, location, availability, or rankings. Use bots to instantly welcome a referred candidate and encourage the best referral sources.

Make the Most of Technology

Investing in great technology isn’t enough. People need to know how to use it.

“You need to have the right people with the right training to get the most of those tools,” says Khaja. “One example we talk about is two people driving the same car in a race won’t end up being the winners of the race. One driver probably knows a lot more about how to harness the true potential of the car and ends up winning.”

Therefore, you can have chat bots and data analytics technology to help you with recruiting and talent acquisition, but you have to know how to make it useful. Of course, you must maintain the human touch for it to be effective.

“The challenges seem daunting, but it’s the perfect time, perfect place,” says Khaja. “You can use technology to achieve these objectives. HR tech used to be fragmented. Now, the technology lets us work on these things in harmony.”

Treating employees as you would customers influences recruiting in an era when everyone shares their experiences on social media. Considering the hiring process through the lens of marketing and brand management is a way to get an edge in the war for talent that was brought on by the Great Resignation. The key is to effectively use technology, while also nurturing human relationships and responding to the preferences of candidates.  

Photo by Canva Studio from Pexels

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