As the competition for talented employees increases, retaining employees is becoming more important than ever. Many companies are enacting incentive programs to increase retention: bonuses, increase in PTO, and various other perks (coffee bar, Friday afternoon happy hours). While these programs are important, organizations need to begin the retention process earlier in the employment process – beginning with recruiting.
Recruiting has become more challenging in recent years as companies are growing faster than the number of qualified people entering the workforce. Recruiters are more aggressive, often seeking out “passive” candidates (those who are currently employed and not actively looking for a new job) to persuade them to join their company.
Job seekers often apply for several jobs at one time. Unless your company is at the very top echelons of best employers (and it may be!), applicants are casting a wide net when they start applying for jobs. They have a variety of reasons for looking for a new job – some are unemployed, some are frustrated with their current job/company and want a better opportunity, and others are just “fishing” to see what’s out there. An effective recruiting process is critical to attracting candidates and keeping them interested in the position and your company.
Applicants start to form opinions about your company from their very first interaction with a company representative. Is the first contact friendly and inviting? Or stuffy, or rude? Does the recruiter who contacts them make them feel like the company is truly interested in them, and anxious to learn about them and their qualifications? These are the things the candidate is thinking about as they evaluate the company during these early stages of the process.
Beyond the obvious factors of pay and benefits (which need to be adequate before any of the rest of this matters), candidates want to feel that a company truly wants him/her to work for them. They want to feel needed, and that the contributions they can make to the company will be valued. Conveying this message to employees starts with the recruiting process.
“Back in the day…”, candidates were grateful to be asked to interview for a job and they worked hard to impress the company representatives they met during the selection process. While this is still true to a point, there’s also a “what’s it in for me” component. Candidates are evaluating the company, just as the hiring manager is evaluating the candidate. And if an offer is made to them, they’ll be taking into account their experience up to that point when making a decision about the offer.
This evaluation on the part of the candidates continues throughout the selection process – the initial offer, the pre-employment process and on-boarding. It’s very possible that candidates continue to search for other jobs and go on interviews, all while going through the selection and on-boarding processes with your company. That’s why it’s important to start thinking about retention from the very beginning.
Please keep this in mind as you begin the process of recruiting to fill new or recently vacated positions. A little extra effort and attention in these crucial beginning stages of the selection process could make all the difference in attaining and retaining talented employees.