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This Is What You Need to Do to Find Awesome Talent Today Have you thought about 'pipelining'? What about social sourcing?

By Andre Lavoie Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Employers are struggling to recruit top talent and close the skills gap. Best-in-class companies are 31 percent more likely than others to increase hiring this year to combat the skills gap, according to a recent Adecco study that surveyed 536 executives. These companies also said they were experiencing a 9.4 percent unwanted turnover rate in new hires' first year of employment.

Related: How to Attract Awesome Talent During Employee Recruitment

To close the skills gap, employers should focus on recruiting best practices to make high-quality hires and implement training programs to retain top talent. Here are a few of those best practices to start with:

1. Social sourcing and 'pipelining'

When companies practice "pipelining," they build long-term professional relationships with passive talent for future hiring opportunities. In short, recruiters need to think long term and be proactive during their searches, instead of merely filling immediate needs.

Pipelining is beneficial because it shortens the amount of time needed to fill a position. It gives recruiters an idea of a candidate's cultural fit long before the first interview. It also creates a mutual level of trust comforting to the candidate, who will now know the person to contact when making a career change.

Adecco found that the best-in-class companies in its survey were 22 percent more likely to use social sourcing and pipelining for recruitment.

Social sourcing is a recruitment tactic that involves gathering candidates via social media platforms, taking referrals from current staff members and posting openings on social media. Again, these strategies can save time on researching candidates by ensuring cultural fit ahead of time and confirming the presence of skills needed for a role.

Engagement is another key to a successful social sourcing strategy. For example, some companies send emails inviting recent applicants to follow up on social media. Recruiters and hiring managers can use popular applications like Snapchat to engage with candidates. Candidates who connect via outlets like Twitter demonstrate in a unique way their continued interest in the company.

Employers should also consider providing applicants with access to online resources for education and training. Both parties benefit from this -- employers empower their candidates with tools for success, improving the quality of hire, and job seekers have a chance to grow and develop their skills before day one. Plus, the move demonstrates a company's investment in their workforce.

2. Employee-referral programs

Current employees can be an organization's best secret weapon for recruitment. Creating an employee-referral program with incentives can save hiring managers a lot of time and money. Referred candidates are typically faster and cheaper to hire.

The Global Recruiting Trends report found that 32 percent of the 3,894 leaders surveyed called their employee referral programs one of the top sources of quality hires. Quality of hire is one of the most important metrics to consider, and referred candidates typically stay longer than those hired through job boards, so leaders can be more confident about retention.

Related: How This Company Combines Qualities From Craigslist and Airbnb to Solve Staffing Issues

A clear vision is the first step toward an effective referral program. Team members should collaborate to find a specific goal, such as increasing diversity by 15 percent. With a defined goal, the company can guide its workforce. The next step is to implement a process that allows employees to do a minimal amount of work, which encourages engagement.

With a simple system in place, employers should train employees on its use and communicate exactly what the company is looking for and what the employees can expect from referring candidates. This requires an actionable vision and a time line for contacting the referred candidate. Employers should continue to follow up with their staff members and keep them aware of any and all open positions.

The employee-referral program should also integrate an incentive system to motivate employees to continue to participate. Examples of rewards can range from a sincere thank you from HR to cash bonuses, gift cards, vacation days and larger prizes like spa days or ski lessons. Positive recognition will keep employees referring.

3. Digital advertising

Employers should follow a strategic plan that utilizes social media and online resources to spread their employer brand. A simple LinkedIn page is not enough.

Social media plays a major role in digital advertising. In fact, LinkedIn and Altimeter Group conducted a recent study that found that socially engaged companies studied were 58 percent more likely to attract top talent.

Companies need to look at their network and ask their followers to share posted jobs. They can utilize social media tools to increase the reach of the message, by creating hashtags on Twitter, adding a jobs tab to the company Facebook page and highlighting the company culture with photos on Pinterest.

These best practices are sure to yield high quality-of-hire metrics and contribute to growing the internal pool of talent. They may further be important for empowering current staff with training programs to close the skills gap that may be plaguing companies like yours.

Related: 3 Keys to Hiring for Growth

How do you recruit for top talent and close the skills gap in your company?

Andre Lavoie

Entrepreneur; CEO and Co-Founder, ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the talent-management solution that helps companies identify, hire and retain more A players. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook LinkedIn and Twitter.


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