Recruit Smarter, Not Harder

It’s happened to us all: That person—that star—the one who absolutely nailed their interview ends up being a dud. New hires end up in duds-ville for many reasons, including poor culture fit, temperament issues, “coach-ability” problems, and less than stellar technical competence. In fact, one recent survey revealed the number one reason for failed hires (performance issues aside) is a poor skills match, with unclear performance objectives sliding into second place. And, aside from hiring fails, recruiting itself is getting tougher. We need to recruit smarter in today’s marketplace.

Aside from hiring fails, recruiting itself is getting tougher. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (reporting on a recent survey by the DHI Group), “…half of respondents (45 percent)…said that the time to fill open positions has lengthened since 2014.

The primary reason cited is the inability to find qualified professionals (53 percent), followed by hiring managers saying they’re waiting for the perfect match (29 percent).”

Another important factor leading to longer fill times? Salary expectations, especially when it comes to tech positions, just aren’t being met.

We know how expensive the churn of hiring and re-hiring can be, so how can HR departments and recruitment specialists reduce the number of bad hires, get the right candidates matched and hired for the right positions, in a shorter amount of time?

The answer isn’t to recruit harder. The answer is to recruit smarter.

Recruit Smarter, Not Harder

Talent Analytics: Today’s smart recruiter uses technology and big data to help fine-tune hiring decisions, which brings us to talent analytics. Talent analytics, simply put, is the process of using big data to analyze the data of past, current, and potential employees. The insights gleaned help HR departments find top-notch cultural fits and hire for predicted success. Another bonus? Talent analytics helps keep employment costs low, by helping make the entire process more streamlined, and reducing the risk of a bad hiring decision.

Mobile and Social: According to a piece from, “The use of social media for recruitment has grown 54 percent in the past five years…84 percent of organizations are now recruiting on social media; only 56 percent of companies were hiring on social media in 2011.” The pool of online job-hunters has doubled in the last ten years, and today, online for the majority of people means mobile. Twenty-eight percent of job seekers use their smartphone for job hunting, and, not surprisingly, that number rises to 53 percent in the 18-to-29-year-old age bracket. Ensuring that your recruitment strategies are online, intertwined with your social media efforts, and mobile optimized will up your chances finding—or getting found by—the right person.

Employee/Candidate Review Websites: There are myriad job review websites out there today, and we should not ignore them. Nothing sells a company more than glowing reviews from actual employees. Being able to use various rating systems, and pro/con style feedback, employees using sites like Glassdoor, for example, are encouraged to be brutally honest in their reviews. But, if we want to get just a tiny bit Machiavellian for a minute? Scouring employment review websites can also alert you to which organizations are failing when it comes to workplace satisfaction and employee loyalty and happiness. These sites can also tip you off to who just might be amenable to ditching, and join your organization.

Create Clearly Defined Job Descriptions: Don’t rely on that same set of job specs you’ve been using since 2008. Today, with the tremendous impact technology is having on everyone’s roles, there’s a better than good chance that job spec is out of date. Instead, speak to departments managers and the people who are currently in the positions you are hiring for—before writing a job description. You’ll probably hear an entirely different account of what’s needed to perform successfully in the role than you might have expected, which can help you craft a job description that clearly outlines job responsibilities as well as the personality characteristics required. Even something this simple can help weed out applicants who don’t have what it takes—and pull in the candidates that do.

Stay Up to Date on the Latest Technology: I’ve written before about how important it is to adopt—and adapt to—as much HR technology as possible if you want to stay competitive. HR’s role in tech is what will separate the wheat from the chaff. From the initial search, recruitment, training, and bringing new recruits up to speed, HR’s effectiveness, in terms of functionality that supports an organization, is a matter of tailoring and customization. That tailoring and customization won’t happen until you dip both feet into the pool. Keep your ear to the ground, watch what your competitors are doing, read as much as you can about the latest innovations and updates, and start integrating HR technology into your hiring processes.

There’s a great old idiom about “flogging a dead horse.” And the last thing you want to do if it starts to feel like your recruiting efforts are floundering is to keep flogging. Harder doesn’t mean better. Flog as hard as you want, but until you start recruiting smarter, your efforts are going to go to waste.

What do you think? Have you explored new and exciting recruitment methods? Shaken off the old-fashioned “tried and true” for social outreach and HR big data? I would love to hear how you’re using technology in your smart HR recruiting efforts.