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Working on talent acquisition and recruitment

With the decreases in unemployment the job market is becoming more competitive. Enhancing the candidate experience has risen to the top of priority lists for many companies.

There is a labor shortage for many jobs in various markets. There are fewer employees available to fill all the open positions.

Marketing your business has moved higher up on the list of goals to be accomplished. Targeting the right and best candidates for jobs has recruiters and hiring managers working on improving and expediting the hiring process.

There are higher earning positions available but there is a serious shortage of qualified, skilled, motivated workers for those positions.Many fields are experiencing a drought in qualified applicants.

There is a growing need for craft and service employees in a more competitive environment than has ever existed in the past. The basics of communicating, both verbally and in writing, as well as math skills are essential.

However, a good attitude, work ethic, cooperation, motivation and teamwork supersede the hard skills. Hard skills can be trained, but the soft skills are either there or not, having been developed for many years in an individual.

Following are some of the crucial requirements for HR professionals, owners and managers in this more robust economy that brings with it a much busier recruiting time.

1. Increase competency in evaluating candidates — There is a shift from screening by phone to instead utilize emails and text messaging. This facilitates the elimination of any unconscious biases by the interviewer. Building the employment brand will attract candidates better suited to the culture of the company. Retooling recruiters should be high on the training list.

2. Consider the candidate like a customer — Sourcing for candidates should focus more on quality than quantity. Using the best software will improve candidate matching and recruiting efficiency. It is valuable to allow for more accurately and quickly sourcing and screening candidates that match job requirements. This is true for entry level positions as well as management openings.

3. Utilize social networks in recruiting — The target market for Millenials and Gen Z’ers account for a much larger portion of the job seekers. Many of these are currently in a job and seeking a better opportunity. It is easier and less expensive to get your jobs out on social networks where many more candidates are looking.

4. Be aware of skills gaps — Most recruiters will tell you that they are finding a shortage of skills gaps in candidates. This demands for identifying “passive” candidates for your open positions. Tracking them down and “selling” them on the job opportunity is critical in order to build the best talent pipeline possible.

5. Make data driven decisions — These decisions can be very difficult to make given the incredible amount of information needed and the complicated analyses required. Identify the inefficiencies in your recruitment strategies and retool your talent acquisition staff.

6. Increase focus on diversity in the workplace — Inclusivity and an increase in diversity is good for business. The better employers will adopt the trend toward a more diverse workforce not only because of social pressure but also because of the value it builds.

7. Develop a proactive approach — Your HR department should be playing a more strategic role in your business. This includes retention strategies and plans.

8. Analyze the best places to find talent — Even though social networking has come into the forefront in recruiting there are still certain types of businesses recruiting for specialty positions who still successfully utilize newspaper and radio advertising.

9. Understand and analyze your hiring process — Tracking of the following metrics is important.

• Time to pursue.

• Moving candidates through the process.

• Approval and tracking open requisitions.

• Time to fill.

• Turnover rates.

10. Ensure compliance — Understand and comply with all regulations of the Equal Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contractors Compliance Programs. It is costly to have violations. Ensure your processes for hiring and rejecting candidates is legal.

The recruiting, hiring and retaining of employees is still one of the most challenging parts of running a business. It is a very time consuming, costly, pressure packed part of business. Take every means possible to avoid hiring mistakes. The Department of Labor estimates replacing a bad hire can cost on the average of 1/3 their annual salary as well as the negative impact on employee morale.

Do not rush into bad decisions no matter how badly you need to fill a position. The Harvard Business Review indicates that as much as 80 percent of employee turnover is a direct result of poor hiring decisions.

Best practices are important to navigate and ensure good hires, onboarding and training to complete the process of acquiring and maintaining the most efficient and qualified workforce. The pay off is worth the effort and will have widespread and a long lasting impact on your business.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.