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April 17, 2014

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Recruitment Marketing Ideas

We need candidates. We need candidates. We need candidates.

No question, candidates are once again in short supply. And while we’re not quite back to the talent shortages we faced in 1999, finding qualified candidates has become a major issue throughout the industry.

So, where can you find talent these days?

While there are no magic answers, there are four fundamental recruiting strategies you can implement:

  1. Attract new candidates
  2. Reduce attrition of current temporary employees
  3. Reactivate former candidates
  4. Develop candidates (via training)

Which will work best for your firm? Most likely, all of the above. Reactivation programs may be the fastest way to build your talent database. And developing talent via training (ranging from on-the-job experience to formal training classes and computer-based training) can be an effective long-term strategy.

But to keep job orders filled, most staffing and recruiting firms will need to rely on effective tactics for attracting and retaining candidates. So how can you get more people working for your firm?

Here are a few ideas to attract new talent, get more referrals, and improve retention:

  1. Write more compelling recruitment ads
    Include more selling points about the job, the client, and your firm. Include the client name when you can (and where it helps). In online postings, link directly to an online application, so it’s easy to apply. Include a clear call to action (invite people to apply). Write with a more warm, friendly, and conversational tone.

  2. Make your jobs more appealing
    Offer creative benefits. These can include cash incentives like assignment completion bonuses, performance bonuses, health insurance, 401Ks and profit sharing as well as non-cash incentives like company apparel, free training, access to preferred job opportunities, and even staff parties.

    Offer incentives to apply. Pay more (of course, you’re going to have to really partner with your clients to get them to see the value in also paying more to attract top talent).

  3. Become a “Best Place to Work”
    • Provide more opportunity to do meaningful work.
    • Set clear expectations.
    • Recognize and reward performance.
    • Create a fun environment.
    • Become more visible in your community via team participation in community events, PR, and advertising.
    • Make temporary employees and direct hire candidates feel like an important part of your organization.
    • Provide regular communication.
    • Stay in touch and nurture relationships, even when you don’t have a job that’s right for the candidate.
    • Pay attention to little details like being responsive to calls and e-mails and making the effort to remember each person’s birthday and work anniversary.
    • Shop the competition and make sure you’re treating people a little better than they are.
    • Improve your service process.
    • Expand free training programs.
    • Offer career management help.
    • Improve technology to make working with your firm easier.
    • Be more responsive to candidate calls and e-mails.
    • Invest more time into personal relationship building.

  4. Develop better relationships with candidates in your market
    Build a database of candidates you can regularly ask for referrals. You will need to create a tool like an e-newsletter for regular communication, and then build a database of people who want to receive your newsletter. Ideas to build your database include:

    • Add a sign-up box to your application form.
    • Direct mail to candidate influencers (e.g., college placement offices, training schools, etc.). Provide these people with sign-up cards for your candidate newsletter that they can give out.
    • Collect sign-ups at job fairs.
    • Promote your candidate newsletter on your website.
    • Direct mail to targeted lists of high skill candidates with incentives for applying and/or opting-in to your newsletter.
    • Provide current associates with sign-up cards that they can distribute.
    • Send e-mail to current candidates asking for referrals.
    • Ask for referrals in each issue of your candidate newsletter.
    • Promote your candidate newsletter and specific job opportunities via print advertising radio or outdoors (this would make the most sense if used in conjunction with a major cash contest – see below)...
  5. Formalize the process of asking for candidate referrals Look for every opportunity to ask for referrals, and then create structured processes to ensure you are consistently asking for them. Possible opportunities include:

    • During reference checks
    • On your application form
    • As part of the interview process
    • Setting up a regular schedule to ask existing candidates for referrals
    • Partner with clients to become a resource for candidates they recruit but do not want to hire
  6. Dramatically improve referral incentives
    • Provide a chance to win big prizes or cash for each referral submitted (e.g., instant win game). Note: We are talking about a significant prize such as the chance to win $10,000 or even $100,000 (this can be done with insurance).
    • Hold a monthly drawing for significant prizes; each referral a person provides earns that person one entry into the drawing.
    • Create a points system for referrals (a referral rewards program). Each person an individual refers earns that person points that can later be redeemed for prizes ranging from company branded items to higher value hard goods, trips, etc.
    • Hold a contest to win something candidates value greatly, e.g., free rent.
    • Offer special bonuses for referring candidates who are placed for direct hire positions ($500+). Use e-mail to solicit these referrals and tie bonuses to filling specific job openings.
  7. Start an alumni network
    • Monthly / Quarterly newsletter
    • Lists of current job openings
    • Ask for referrals (this can include client and candidate referrals)
  8. Improve the overall candidate experience
    In general, the experience of most job candidates is not very pleasant. They are asked to invest considerable amounts of time in a highly stressful environment, and then they may or may not be given the opportunity for employment. To improve the candidate experience:

    • Map every point of contact a candidate has with your organization, document what happens at each step, and then brainstorm ways to make each step easier or more enjoyable for the candidate.
    • Redo the décor in your waiting area to make it more welcoming and comfortable.
    • Redo the décor in interview rooms.
    • Put in a gourmet coffee machine.
    • Allow more of your application process to be completed online, so candidates can do most of the work at their own convenience.
    • Set up an area on your website just for candidates. Provide free job hunting tips, free training, and a portal where candidates can get updated information on your company (e.g., policies, orientation information, timesheet forms, etc.) and communicate with you regarding their availability.
  9. Another way to improve the candidate experience is by making candidates feel special. Some ideas include:

    • Creating business cards and ID tags for each associate to take out on assignment.
    • Developing a folder associates can use that contains information relevant to an assignment.
    • Offering enhanced training opportunities.
    • Ask your temporary associates for their opinions regarding your service and their experiences working with your clients.

    Be creative. Be persistent. And have fun.

    Recruiting in a tight labor market will always be challenging. While you can spend a fortune on job postings and other marketing, the secret to success is to become the place where the best candidates want to work.

    If you’re serious about providing your clients with the best talent, do what it takes to attract the best people. While there is no one right answer, the combination of a variety of small, consistent tactics that improve the candidate experience and nurture relationships will truly separate you from the competition.

    - David Searns

    David Searns is a member of the StaffingU Adjunct Faculty www.staffingu.net and is President of Haley Marketing Group www.haleymarketing.com, a relationship marketing services firm specializing in the staffing industry. Haley Marketing offers a unique relationship marketing process that helps staffing and search firms to stand out, stay top-of-mind, and win more business. They offer a range of services to satisfy the marketing needs (and budgets) of most types of staffing firms.

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