It’s not just you.
Everyone is having trouble hiring these days. A report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that we’ve got more unfilled job openings than any other time in our history.
Jobs around the office, such as receptionists and administrative assistants, seem to be especially hard to hire for right now.
Part of the problem is that the best employees have jobs. Unemployment is low, demand is high. If they want a job, they’ve got it.
In the meantime, a lot of employers tell us that they’re still getting applications, but the quality is low, and they end up with people who no-show their first interview, quit days after starting, or just don’t have the skills they need.
So we’re going to show you some advanced techniques that will reach the best candidates, even the ones that are already working, and help you to screen out the low-quality ones faster and more efficiently.
1. Finding Candidates Who are Ready for a Change
What if you could find potential candidates who are unhappy with their current job, learn exactly why they feel that way, and attract them to you?
Turns out Glassdoor lets you do just that. Go to Glassdoor.com and do a search for the position you’re hiring for. On the next screen, you’ll see employers in the left sidebar, along with the rating employees have given them.
Look for companies with low ratings. That’s usually a sign that there’s a problem, and that there are employees who want out. Click on one of these companies and read the reviews. These will list “Cons” about the company – basically, the reasons employees don’t like it there.
Can you answer any of these cons with a pro? For example, if everyone is complaining about a lack of benefits or no paid time off, and you offer these things, that will be good to note.
Now you can jump on Linkedin and do a search for people who work at these companies, in the position you need to hire for, and contact them with a message like, “Interested in new opportunities? We offer our administrative assistants great benefits and generous paid time off. Get in touch on how to apply.”
2. Let Google Tell You When there are Hiring Opportunities
Even during good economic times, companies lay workers off for all kinds of reasons. Be the first to know when there’s a layoff for positions you need, and you’ll snag the best employees before they even come on the market.
Go to Google’s alerts page, and create an alert that looks like “layoffs [your region].”
Now you’ll get alerts about layoffs in your region automatically emailed to you. You can scan them and see if they’re likely to have the types of employees you need to hire, then use Linkedin to get in touch.
3. Write Job Descriptions that Work Now
Times may have changed, but employers still write job descriptions like it’s 2008.
Back when the job market was flooded with people looking for any work at all, you could get away with just posting a list of things you expected an employee to be able to do, and required experience.
But now there’s a good chance that the best possible applicants who see your job postings already have work, and are just shopping around for something better.
You’re not going to convince them to go through the trouble of applying for a new job, being interviewed and then quitting their job just by showing them a list of things you expect out of them.
Instead, you need to focus your job description on a list of reasons why they’ll love working for you.
4. Find your niche for job postings
Once you’ve got a great job post, you’ll need to get it in front of people. There are some great job boards where you can still post jobs for free, including Indeed JobisJob.com, and Doostang. These sites can help you get in front of general job seekers.
But for just about any job you can think of, there’s a niche job board that caters to that group. Often times people who don’t consider themselves to be actively job seeking will keep tabs on these boards, just to know what’s happening in their industry and who’s hiring.
Hit them with the right job posting, and you can turn those people into active candidates.
To find these boards, just Google “[position you’re hiring for] job board.”
If you’re still hunting for options, you might want to check into posting jobs to social media. A surprising 94 percent of recruiters are using it to find candidates these days.
5. Screening that Finds the Best Candidates Faster
With hiring being so competitive right now, the best candidates aren’t usually on the market too long. If you can identify top talent and focus on them faster than your competition, you’ll have a shot at hiring them before anyone even knows they’re on the market.
Here’s a simple way to do that.
First though, we’re going to be asking applicants to jump through a few hoops during the process. Great applicants are already busy with the jobs they have, so if you want them to do this, you’ll need to write the great job description we talked about in tip 3.
If your applicants are convinced there’s something great waiting on the other side, they’ll put some effort into your process.
Now with that out of the way, here’s what you’ll do. The next time you’re hiring, every time you receive an application, immediately send an email with 5 questions.
These should be questions that should take some thought to answer and require about 20 minutes of applicants’ time. Basically, you don’t want any “yes or no” questions, or questions that invite a generic answer.
Ask them to describe how they’ve handled situations that are likely to come up on the job, how they would handle other situations, what they think success in this job looks like, and how to know when someone’s not successful at it.
Part of what you want to see are the answers they provided. But equally as important is how much effort they put into it.
The low quality, low motivation applicants won’t even bother responding to your questions. Then you’ll get some who try to do the bare minimum possible. What you want are the ones who obviously put some time and thought into their answers.
These are the motivated candidates who really want the job. Because you asked all of them the same question, it’ll be easy to compare and spot the good ones.
Now you can sort these people right to the top of your queue and get in contact with them while your competitors are still digging through a pile of resumes and trying to decide who’s worth bringing in for an interview.
To move top applicants along even faster, I recommend making the first interview just 15 minutes, by phone. Because these applicants are likely to already have jobs, scheduling a long, in-person interview is going to be complicated for them.
But most people should be able to get away for 15 minutes, during which time you can ask the important questions that help you decide whether to pursue them as a candidate.
If you’ve followed all of these tips, you’ll have made some major improvements in your hiring process that will help you hire much better. If you’re strapped for time, try implementing tips 3 and 5 first. These alone will bring in more candidates and help you get through them faster.