Moving beyond the 'post-and-pray' recruiting strategy

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Posted by Mindy Fineout

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September 6, 2011

Recruiters are among the many people who have been impacted by the economic downturn. The days of easy-to-fill requisitions with reasonable requirements and matching salaries are long past. Instead, when a job opening populates our Applicant Tracking System file, it is often an opening that is next to impossible to fill. These days, there are few openings for mid-level managers for which a company is willing to pay top dollar as well as provide relocation and pension.

Candidates for the hard-to-fill are also few and far between, as qualified candidates are usually already employed and in this economic climate, unwilling to move to a new position. With 30 of these purple squirrel openings in your queue, what's a recruiter to do?

To some extent, you need to post and hope, and post and pray.

We've all recruited like this before, usually in the beginning of our career before being creative was absolutely necessary. We'd get the posting on the job boards, social media sites, and company career sites and then wait for it to get picked up by Indeed and Simply Hired. A few days later, we'd check the folder for applicants, hoping and praying that the perfect candidate would be waiting for us. Back then, Applicant A was nearly always perfect -- she lived in the area, met salary requirements, had the experience, and worked for a direct competitor but did not have a non-compete to worry about. Today, not so much.

While post and pray can get you started, alone it just isn't enough to fulfill the challenging needs of companies. You have to have a specific strategy for each requisition. The intake meeting is a crucial part of the recruiting process, as it's a chance for recruiters to gain all the information and knowledge needed from hiring managers that will help you build the strategy to hunt for the purple squirrel.

Today, creativity is the key to finding hard-to-find candidates and building a candidate pipeline. Recently, a Fortune 500 corporation thought out of the box and has been successful. This company, along with its recruiters, went to local technical schools and community colleges to recruit students on an engineering track. Once the student is selected, the company trains them specifically for the hard-to-fill openings and teaches them company-specific engineering schematics, design, and maintenance. This recruiting practice has received positive feedback and recognition as a long-term commitment from the company to the candidate.

For recruiters, being over-tasked with too many openings and hard-to-fill positions is part of the job. Ingenuity, as demonstrated by the organization above, is going to be the key to successfully filling the job with the best candidate in the least amount of time.

This post was written by former Seamless Workforce contributor Donna Vespe.

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