One of the biggest complaints I'm hearing from executive teams across the country right now is, "We can't find the right talent." A new report validates their concern. According to a chart from Deutsche Bank economist Torsten Sløk, it now takes 31 days to fill an open job in America, up from 23 days in 2006 and about 15 days in 2009. Meanwhile, another report indicates 85% of those hiring or trying to hire [reported] few or no qualified applicants for their open positions. It's true. It's never been harder to fill a position in America.
But, it's not because there aren't enough qualified workers. Trust me. They're out there. They're just not bothering to apply to your jobs. Here's why...
Informed Candidates Don't Work For Losers
In the last five years, the evolution of social media and access to information has changed the employment game. Job seekers have the ability to do their homework on an employer before they bother to apply. If they don't like what they learn about your company online, they skip applying. 95 percent of job seekers surveyed say an employer's reputation impacts their decision. This should be a wake-up call for employers. The best talent doesn't waste their time on companies that seem like losers. Which means, the only people bothering to apply to your jobs are the less qualified, desperate job seekers - the ones you don't want to hire! That's the real reason you can't find qualified talent.
Lower Pay + Poor Reputation = Bad Employer
Glassdoor, the fastest growing job seeker site is also the home to the one place where informed candidates can do comprehensive research on an employer by reading anonymous reviews by current and former employees. The site has exploded in growth as the rise of the informed candidate has created a need for this type of insider information. According to their research, the two factors that steer top talent away from your company are:
A) lower pay rates compared to the industry average, and
B) poor management reviews.
In fact, those surveyed said they wouldn't even consider a job with a bad company unless they offered at least a 50 percent pay increase over what they were currently making. A fact that many companies with bad reputations are now figuring out. I spoke with one employer recently (they asked to be anonymous for this interview), who has a terrible rating on Glassdoor (2.1). They've had to raise base salaries on their sales roles by 30 percent just to get people to apply.
Tips To Improve Your Online Reputation As An Employer
1) Take online review sites very seriously. While Glassdoor is the leading destination for employer research by informed candidates, sites like Indeed have places where employees can post reviews too. A regular monitoring of your online reputation and a proactive strategy for properly responding to them is a must-do. Glassdoor's research indicates responding to every review on their sites results in an average of a 5 percent lift in employer rating. Why? Paying attention and responding quickly shows top talent you care about what they think. Especially, when you thoughtfully respond to negative reviews. I can confirm their research. My own company has worked with lots of employers recently, teaching them how to properly respond to bad Glassdoor reviews. These companies have seen as high as a 22% increase in as little as thirty days. The effort pays off.
2) Analyze and improve your employer 'top fold.' Informed candidates like to Google search your company name and the word "employer" to see what comes up. The first five to six things are what we call the 'top fold' and it's what they'll spend the most time looking at. Making sure the search gives them lots of places to go and learn about you as an employer will help them form a positive impression. A lack of relevant information indicates you either A) don't care about your employer reputation, B) have something to hide, or C) are so boring there's nothing worth sharing. None of those will help you get top talent applying to your company.
3) Build a strategy to showcase your employer brand. In the same way you have carefully crafted and promoted a brand to gain customers, you must also do the same to attract top talent. It's called an employer brand. Really good workers find and follow companies that have great employer brands on social media. Our studies at Work It Daily show the best employer brands answer the following five questions:
- Who's driving the bus? (Leadership)
- Who will I spend 8+ hours/day with? (Co-workers)
- How do they bond as a team? (Fun Factor)
- What will make me proud to work there? (WOW Factor)
- What do they stand for? (Values & Beliefs)
When your company creates and distributes content online that showcases those five elements of your employer brand, you will find it much easier to convince top talent to work for you. Especially, the millennial workforce, which studies show care the most about employer brand.
PS - Don't Think A Market Adjustment Will Fix Your Problem
I've heard some short-sighted executives say, "Just wait until the market adjustment hits and unemployment goes back up. Then we won't have a recruiting problem." While you may have more people applying, the best-of-the-best will still avoid working for you once they learn you have a bad reputation. If productivity matters to your company, then a shift in mindset towards building and marketing an exceptional employer brand is the most cost-effective way to ensure you're capable of hiring the best at all times.