Against the backdrop of an increasingly competitive labour market, and an ever-changing political reality, employers will have to work harder than ever to hire top talent in 2020.
From writing the perfect job ad to preparing for Brexit, here are our 20 tips to help you compete in the coming year:
1. Choose a straightforward job title
Job search algorithms pick up significant keywords, so keep your title relevant and meaningful; words like ‘Hero’ or ‘Ninja’ get passed over. Avoid abbreviations for the same reason, write out ‘Senior’, not ‘Sr.’, ‘Vice President’ not ‘VP’, for the best search results. Also, be mindful that an internal job title may not be what the market calls it or how candidates search for it.
2. Be specific with role description
If your description is too broad, everyone in the market will apply and you’ll be sifting through hundreds of the wrong kinds of CVs. However, a description that’s too prescriptive may deter great candidates from applying. Enlist the help of those familiar with the role to ensure you strike the right balance.
3. Write an attention-grabbing intro
This is your sales pitch to potential candidates; don’t fall into the trap of putting the ‘About Us’ section first. Your opener should include three to five things that applicants will find exciting about the role (team, culture, challenges, goals) to hook them in, make them want to read the whole ad — then apply
4. Provide a clear offer
Job seekers take these five considerations into account, so make sure to cover them:1
- Salary and remuneration
- Location and commute
- Work-life balance
- Career advancement opportunities
5. Tell your company story
Are you an established company with a long history and tradition? Or are you a young start-up with unicorn ambitions? A company story markets your brand and injects personality into the ad. In your ‘About Us’ section, fly the flag for your organisation: who you are, where you’ve come from, and what makes you special.
6. Use effective language and formatting
Although search engines love text, dense and lengthy paragraphs are off-putting to read. Break up the text and make it scannable using subheads and bullet points. Less is more, so make every word count. Keep language plain and simple; address ‘the ideal applicant’ as ‘you’ and avoid internal jargon and acronyms. When you copy and paste text, avoid formatting errors. Finally, get someone else to proofread it before you post it.
7. Choose the right platform to attract the best candidates
Are you on the right platform to attract the best candidates? Can you target job seekers based on their occupation, location, behaviour, and interests? Glassdoor sees over 67 million unique visitors each month2 and 80% of UK users say they come to Glassdoor to search for jobs.3 9 in 10 of Glassdoor users in the UK have a university degree, too.4 These candidates have already done their research and are more likely to be the right fit you’re looking for — they’re the ones you need to get in front of.
8. Incorporate behavioural interviewing techniques
Behavioural interview questions help you assess a candidate’s suitability based on their past behaviours. Prompts like ‘Tell me about the biggest challenge you overcame in your past role’ or ‘Tell me about a time you had to balance multiple competing deadlines’ will show you how the candidates handled difficult situations in the real world, leaving little room for rehearsed platitudes.
9. Evaluate culture fit
A candidate may be perfectly qualified for the role on paper, but if they don’t feel at home in your organisation, they are likely to leave.5 Ask a few questions that give you an insight into their working preferences and how well they will fit in with your existing team, such as ‘What kind of management style do you prefer?’ or ‘Describe your perfect work environment’.
10. Assess emotional intelligence
People high in emotional intelligence, or EQ, tend to be more motivated, effective, and engaged. They form better relationships and work, and know how to influence others without causing offense or unnecessary conflict.6 Asking the right questions, like ‘How do you stay calm under pressure?’ or ‘Tell me about a time you had to resolve a disagreement with a colleague’ will let you know whether they have the self-awareness, self-control, positive outlook, and interpersonal skills that come with a high level of EQ.
11. Dive deeper with personality testing
Personality tests are an effective way to help you choose the right candidate — but you need to be clear on what you are measuring and why.7 Test your highest performing employees and see if you can spot any patterns — and then look for those same patterns in your candidates’ tests. There is no universal set of “right” or “wrong” traits; just better and worse fit.
12. Define your company’s mission
Your mission is a declaration of your company’s purpose – its true north. Consider your business proposition and the unique value you create for your customers. Combine this with employee survey data and what you read in your Glassdoor reviews to hone in on your mission. Identifying your mission is the first step in building belonging for employees – and will also help attract candidates who identify with your company’s core values and are therefore more likely to feel a greater sense of belonging at your company.
13. Make managers your cultural gatekeepers
Make sure managers encourage a sense of shared purpose and are explicit in promoting company values. If two or more people share a purpose and uphold the same company ethos, they immediately have something in common, and shared values are key to a team’s success. Encourage them to draw links between their team’s efforts and the company’s success. Employees who feel their work has a real impact on the outside world are more connected and engaged at work.
14. Empower your employees to form Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
ERGs provide employees of a similar background with a safe place to talk about the barriers they face in the workplace, together with social support and networking opportunities. When an employee discovers that others share their concerns, they’re more likely to feel they can raise difficult issues with managers and colleagues.
15. Encourage transparent communication
Open communication is the bedrock of a transparent workplace. Encourage your employees to be open communicators and encourage your gatekeepers to lead by example. You may also wish to hold constructive feedback training sessions to help both managers and employees approach difficult conversations more honestly and openly.
16. Continuously evaluate your hiring and onboarding process
Diversity training, interventions that help HR personnel tackle unconscious biases, assembling diverse hiring panels, and ensuring that job advertisements are written with inclusivity in mind are all sensible, practical steps. Seek regular feedback from your employees. You should also look at how existing team members and managers welcome a new hire. Put in place a set of standardised processes and checklists to ensure they are never left to just figure things out for themselves.
17. Conduct a Brexit impact assessment
Many businesses are conducting assessments on how Brexit will impact them in order to revise existing processes and plan any necessary changes — in every area from logistics to finance. HR should be no different. To get started, implement some forms of measurement (cost-per-hire, turnover, employee sentiment etc.) to help you identify trends or potential problem areas. Review your hiring roadmap and identify the roles you wish to hire for which may be affected by Brexit — is there a sufficient talent pool in the UK for the roles?
18. Define and enhance your EVP
To attract the best applicants, you need to have a strong employer value proposition (EVP) to set your business apart from other companies that may target the same type of candidates. Survey employees to find out what they value about your organisation and combine this data with what you see in your Glassdoor reviews. Does the feedback align with where you want to be? Will your current EVP resonate with the talent you want to attract? Identify the areas that fall short and begin implementing the necessary changes.
19. Upskill your workforce
With a potential scarcity of available skills and labour looming, as well as the falling numbers of EU workers, it’s time to invest in training and developing your existing workforce. Consider the current and potential skill gaps in your business that would typically require a new hire — are there existing employees who could upskill to fill the gap? As well as ensuring your business is functioning at its highest potential, training and development will be appreciated by your careerconscious employees and will make them more likely to stay.
20. Enhance your employee wellbeing offering
Take care to build a wellbeing package that provides the physical and emotional support that your workers need, especially in these times of heightened change and uncertainty. Recent survey evidence has shown that while 86% of UK employers recognised the benefits of wellbeing in the workplace, only 48% felt ready to implement such a package and only 59% had only the basics in place.8 Stand out from the crowd by building a wellbeing package that works for your employees and your organisation.
Hiring success in the coming year will be about understanding what candidates and employees really want, and crafting your strategy to meet them. Incorporate these tips into your planning to ensure your company makes 2020 its best hiring year yet.
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1.Glassdoor Site Survey, August 2017
2.Google Analytics, CQ1’19
3.Glassdoor.co.uk U.K. Site Survey, August 2018
4.Glassdoor Internal Data CQ2’19
5.Howard, S. (2019). Reason #4 why employees quit: Poor organizational fit. predictiveindex.com
6.Chignell, B. (2018). The importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. ciphr.com
7.Gassam, J. (2018). How To Avoid Discrimination When Assessing Culture Fit
8.Global Human Capital Trends Survey 2018, Deloitte