March 25, 2022

It’s no secret that companies are struggling to attract and hold onto top talent in the wake of the Great Resignation, which has seen millions of employees around the world quit their jobs.

There have been few conclusive answers as to why workers are asking for their P45s but one thing is for sure: the Great Resignation has been anything but ‘great’ for recruiters.

Make no mistake: recruiters and TA folk alike have never experienced this much difficulty finding (and keeping) good talent.

It’s an employee’s market right now and recruiters are facing pandemic-weary candidates who have reevaluated their work life – and have no issue walking away from a role or an offer letter that they have signed, or even ghosting an employer during the hiring process.

As such, the playbook for competing for and winning new talent is constantly evolving. Here our CEO and founder, Dan Fellows, shares his top three battle-tested tips to improve your recruiting efforts and meet the moment.

1. Make your Job Ad inclusive and empathetic

There’s an art but more importantly a science to creating a catchy, compelling Job Ad that attracts a diverse pool of talented applicants. Unfortunately most recruiters and TA folk have yet to master it.

One of the main reasons is because far too many organisations recycle old Job Ads instead of crafting new ones. Their workplace may well have evolved, but their core values aren’t reflected in their job listings.

Case in point? A company might promote and support a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the office but fail to use inclusive language in their Job Ads.

Inclusive language shows potential employees that you are a modern, forward-think business committed to considering candidates regardless of their gender, race, disability or age.

The lion’s share of Job Ads that land in our inbox here at Optimal HQ contain aggressive and discriminatory language, due to them being outdated, which implies that the organisation isn’t an inclusive workplace.

Why does this matter? It matters because DE&I is not only a moral imperative and a commercial advantage – according to research carried out by McKinsey & Company, organisations with diverse executive teams are 33 percent more likely to outperform their peers – but also because it’s important to your future workers. 

A recent survey showed that the majority of employees say it’s vital for them to work at an organisation that prioritises diversity and inclusion.

At Optimal, we reduce bias across all ‘Protected Characteristics’ (a gimmicky gender decoder isn’t sufficient or the correct approach) as part of our core product. 

2. Make your Job Ads searchable

Once upon a time, Job Ads were posted in the classifieds section of newspapers. Fast forward to today and job vacancies are ALL published online.

The problem? You may well have written a fantastic, inclusive Job Ad but, if it can’t be easily found online by the algorithms that dictate every search result, no one will be flocking to apply. 

* Please search online for the last Job Ad that you posted. You can’t use your company name in the search. Can you find it? 95 per cent of consultants can’t find locate last Job Ad they posted. How do we expect candidates to find our Job Ads if we can’t?

And, as we have established earlier, employees are calling the shots in the current job market. No longer can you afford to sit and wait for candidates to come to you – today’s recruitment process is all about driving candidates towards your vacancies.

Getting found online starts with great Search Engine Optimisation. SEO in job postings is the art of ensuring your Ad appears when a job seeker searches for a certain keyword or keyword phrase. 

Seems simple enough, right? Not quite. Choosing keywords that rank is harder than you’d think.

And once you have your keywords, you need to be careful not to overstuff your Job Ad: search engines are quick to spot when you repeat a keyword too often  – and just as quick to penalise you.

Readability is also important – not only for readers but search engines. Long, flowing paragraphs, free from bullet points, are a turn-off. The aim is to create a visual experience for both the job hunter and the search engine site.

The new Optimal software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform automatically optimises your Ad for SEO so that it reaches as many talented and experienced candidates as possible.

3. Simplify the hiring process

A copy of a letter, reportedly sent by Ubuntu developer, Canonical, to an applicant gained attention on the internet last weekend – for all the wrong reasons. The document informed the candidate, whose CV had sparked the company’s interest, that four steps now separated them and the coveted role.

The first step? To answer almost 40 questions, we kid you not, as part of a written interview. The questionnaire included gems such as “What would your high school peers remember you for, if we asked them?” and “How did you fare in High School mathematics?”

The third step was a ‘standardised aptitude and personality assessment’, the fourth a ‘culture, HR, peer interviews and tech assessment’ and the fifth and final step, ‘hiring manager and senior lead interviews."

One former Canonical employee didn’t seem too surprised that candidates were being asked to jump through so many hoops. Hayden Barnes, Windows Subsystem for Linux enthusiast and former Canonical employee, tweeted: “The recruiting email for the WSL position that’s gone viral is accurate. Some reasons I left are that as a hiring manager I couldn’t in good conscience put people through that process and, to advance, I’d have to go through it.”

Ben Hillis, Microsoft manager of the Linux on Windows team, was similarly astounded. He took to Twitter to express his views: “Yikes, that’s problematic. I’d probably refuse too.”

My underlying message? Learn from Canonical and make your application process simpler – it shouldn’t be an obstacle.

Too many rounds and hurdles could be a red flag – and even drive candidates away. Just ask Mike Conley, a software engineering manager based in Indiana, who made the decision to withdraw from an arduous application process.

Conley shared his experience in a LinkedIn post that clearly resonated with fellow job-seekers, and he isn’t alone. The web is awash with stories from job hunters who’ve become annoyed with companies insistent upon turning the recruitment process into a marathon.

Yes, it shouldn’t be a sprint. You need to check credentials, assess a candidate’s job capabilities, obtain references and discover whether an applicant would be a good fit for your team.

However, if you stretch out the hiring process, you risk losing candidates. And with businesses around the world facing recruitment problems, can you honestly afford to do so?

Final thoughts
If you’re looking to grow and sustain your business and hire in these tough times, then writing engaging, optimised, and bias-reduced Job Ads can be your first step to attracting quality and inclusive talent. Remember, a Job Ad is often the first contact your company will have with a potential employee. 

Once you’ve caught the attention of a talented and experienced candidate who would be an asset to your organisation, don’t scare them away!                                          
If you’re ready to make a real, authentic and lasting change to your recruitment process, it’s time to reach out to Optimal.

We specialise in reducing all kinds of bias, including gender bias, in addition to optimising your Job Ads for SEO. Working and collaborating with Get-Optimal is about taking control, not giving up control. Make the change and make the change today.

*Image courtesy of Unsplash