Four Secrets to Hiring Hard-to-Fill at Volume

After the housing bubble burst in 2007, banks were required to make several changes to address the needs of their customers. One major initiative that stemmed from this crisis was the single point of contact (SPOC) regulatory requirement, announced in 2011. The SPOC required banks to provide any borrower seeking to avoid foreclosure a one-on-one relationship with the organization. In response, banks were forced to make significant hires. To make matters more difficult, prior to 2011, there wasn't a defined career path or pre-existing role that fit the qualifications required for these positions, making them extremely hard to fill.

One example you may remember is Chase's announcement that it would hire 1,000 employees to its mortgage-servicing business in Ohio. Recruiting 1,000 new employees is a difficult task, however, finding financial services talent in Central Ohio made the task doubly difficult. This was no easy task, however challenges like Chase's have become commonplace in recent years.

Chances are, if you work in financial services, information technology, or manufacturing, you've been faced with a similar hiring challenge – perhaps you're in the midst of one right now. But while hiring under these circumstances can be a headache, there are a few tactics your team can employ to streamline your process and achieve success:

Tap Into Your ATS Information

The harder your positions are to fill, the more important it is to make sure you don't leave qualified talent on the table. When you're hiring at high volume, you need seamless access to the largest possible pool of talent. So where can you find that talent? Right under your nose, in your own Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Chances are these candidates have already submitted their resumes and are waiting for you to call.

Next, integrate your ATS data into a Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) system such as Avature, Salesforce, or NetSuite. This presents a big opportunity to drive efficiency in your hiring process. Not only will integrating these two systems help you maintain and rekindle relationships with candidates that have already expressed interest in your company, it will also help you stay organized and in constant communication with future applicants. The CRM system will allow you to track and manage proactive outreach campaigns to drive a steady stream of applicants to open positions.

Continue to Build a Qualified Candidate Pipeline

Once you've created a solid system for maintaining relationships with existing talent, it's important to pursue new talent to add to your pipeline. The best way to build up your talent pipeline is through candidate-facing social media channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. For example, we worked with General Motors (GM) to drive candidate engagement via social media channels to successfully secure hard-to-fill hires – and it paid off. In 2012, GM increased its year-over-year candidate engagement on LinkedIn by 202 percent, on Twitter by 173 percent, and Facebook by 97 percent.

We employed three tactics to increase GM's engagement on candidate-facing social media platforms:

  1. Maintain one-on-one, real-time candidate interactions: We worked with GM to implement a strict policy of responding to all social media interactions within 24 hours. This led to increased positive engagement and built a basis of trust with GM's massive social community.
  2. Build tracking and analytics into your program: We worked with GM to see where successful hires were coming from and what content initially drew them in. We provided GM with monthly reports detailing which social media communities were the best sources of candidates, and correlated that data with hires. Through these reports, GM found that 14 percent of applicants used the Company's social integration process in 2012.
  3. Use social media to build your employer brand: By promoting GM's culture via social content and pushing out their new IT messaging through a dedicated social media campaign titled, 'We are the driving force,' we branded GM as a big company, focused on IT, with an exciting and dynamic employee environment.

Maintain a Standard, Speedy Interview Process

Once you have a robust pipeline of uniquely-qualified candidates in place, forget everything you know about traditional recruiting – starting with your informal interview process. Gone are the days of casual desk-side conversations about an interview you've just conducted or taking weeks to schedule an in-person meeting. When you're hiring for hard-to-fill positions at high volume, efficiency and speed are critical. You'll need to put a uniform process in place in order to achieve success.

Since the qualified candidates for hard-to-fill positions are in high-demand, it's crucial to make the interview process as quick as possible to ensure that you don't lose the candidate to your competition. If you determine a candidate is a fit after the initial screening call, schedule an in-person interview within 24 hours. Require all hiring managers to complete a standardized online feedback form within 24 hours of the interview. If a candidate receives positive feedback, make your offer quickly so you can close the deal and move on to filling your next open position.

Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance

While the pressure of hiring for hard-to-fill positions at high volume can send even the best talent acquisition professionals into panic mode, it's important to think long-term to prevent these situations. This active pipeline you've now created needs to be maintained and cultivated to ensure it's useful the next time you're seeking new candidates.

The best way maintain your pipeline of qualified candidates is to proactively create and share content designed to engage and empower them with information on their highly-coveted experience and careers. This can include reports on hiring trends, salary surveys by region or industry, statistics on the best places to work, or reports on industry growth or decline. The most successful brands share these materials regularly through active, employee-focused social networks and proactive email outreach campaigns to build credibility and brand recognition over time. In fact, during our analysis of GM's career page traffic, we found that the second-highest driver of traffic to the site was from its email campaign.

For those of you who are in a hiring bind today and just starting to create a program for filling hard-to-fill positions at high volume, there are also an array of social media search tools that can help to unearth large volumes of qualified candidates quickly. LinkedIn's Signal can be used to uncover passive and uniquely-qualified talent; while Facebook's Graph Search can help you connect with one-of-a-kind candidates with specialized skills. Google+ has emerged as a key social network for sourcing tech savvy talent.

Whether you're facing a hiring challenge today, or preparing for the future, implementing these best practices will help to set you up for success.

What's your secret to addressing the high-volume hard-to-fill hiring demand?

Related: Best practices, ATS, Sourcing, Hard-to-fill

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Seven Step RPO is part of the Motion Recruitment Partners LLC family of innovative recruitment companies