Schedule time with the hiring manager to discuss the opening. Do we need to actively recruit? Is the position still budgeted for (position control question)? How is the role staffed today without this position?
If the manager isn’t ready to actively recruit and fill but wants to leave it open “in case” someone applies, create a dummy/evergreen posting instead of using that live vacancy requisition to create a pipelining for future needs. This also works well for per diem-type of positions that may not be a priority.
If the hiring manager is using contract/supplemental/agency staff or overtime to cover the vacancy, it should be prioritized to fill asap.
If the need still exists, ask if the req can be withdrawn and new req submitted. The fresh req number and posting should improve applicant flow and rankings on job boards and websites like Indeed and Google. The older a req is, the less visibility it has, if at all, on job sites.
Come to the meeting prepared to discuss past recruitment efforts/strategies, ROI, applicant flow, any market data you have, previously submitted candidates, and possible reconsideration of those who may have 80-90 percent of the skills the manager is seeking. If those former candidates meet the soft skills desired, encourage them to consider training for the 10-20 percent skill gap.
If the manager wants to continue recruiting but you lack strong candidates, start a new “campaign” — an organized initiative to fill that req using your centers of influence, and posting practices with some back-to-basics sourcing techniques.
Here are some campaign strategy best practices that are sure to yield results:
Start with a re-intake meeting with the client — there may be details missed before or details may have changed. This step is underestimated in its impact. Things to ask about may include:
- What is unique about the role vs. at competitor organization
- Changes in the department (technology, structure, new initiatives, goals)
- “Selling points” about the department that you can promote
- Attributes sought in the ideal candidate
- New sourcing channels
Having a robust intake guide is an extremely beneficial tool in these conversations. Don’t forget to verify the job requirements. The formal HR job description doesn’t include everything and may be outdated!
- Encourage your client to consider internal talent or external candidates who have the soft skills desired and 80 percent of the hard skills and train for the other 20 percent. The team could be missing out on great quality hire who would excel if provided a little training.
- Conduct a brainstorming session — use your centers of influence and conduct a brainstorming session with both the hiring leader and a colleague to identify all possible keywords/synonyms that are relevant to the position and the most appropriate sourcing channels. Work with the manager to identify the top performer and speak to that person to gain additional insights. Search your competitor’s career sites and Indeed for other possible job titles.
- Create a brand new job posting — use input from the re-intake and brainstorm to ensure the post is visually compelling, in a best-practice template format, and includes the right keywords. If you’re able to post a new req and pull down an old posting, you’ll dramatically improve the job’s visibility on job boards, likely increasing the number of applications you receive.
- Start your search with the basics — referral sourcing; talk with top performing employees in the role; mine old reqs to find prospects or those who might likely be qualified now that a year or two has passed since their initial application; and inbound sourcing efforts such as SEM and advertising if necessary.
- Call recent hires in the role and connect with them on LinkedIn. Use their networks in your search. Inquire about who they’ve worked with previously that they would love to work with again. You’re looking for great talent and great people know other great people. Referrals, as you know, are a top source of quality hires.
- If you have dedicated sources supporting recruitment, meet with them to discuss your campaign initiative and how they can help support it. Schedule weekly or biweekly check-ins.
Schedule 30 minutes several times a week to perform these activities and you’ll see results. Be sure to update your client weekly on efforts of the campaign. Creating this energy will give you momentum that your client will appreciate, ultimately building trust and an improved partnership.