Why You Need to Think 'Tools' When Hiring, Not Just 'the Job Post'

Tools like Comparably's new Career Matching platform are changing the focus.

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By Heather R. Huhman

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It's been a tough year for talent. ManpowerGroup's 2016/2017 Talent Shortage survey found that 46 percent of U.S. employers surveyed reported having difficulty filling jobs -- an all-time high since 2007.

And there's more bad news. Among recruiters surveyed by Jobvite this year, 95 percent expected recruiting to be as or more challenging in 2017.

Why is recruiting so hard? Because employers are still relying on traditional job ads, even though they're no longer the best way to find talent. The online job search has evolved over the years. While professionals are changing their strategies to find jobs, many employers aren't doing the same.

It's time to start thinking beyond the job post and to work to actively form connections with talent. Here's why:

1. The company is just as important as the job.

Professionals don't want to just apply to jobs -- they want to apply to companies. In a survey of 7,700 millennials from 29 countries around the world conducted by Deloitte, 56 percent said they had ruled out working for an organization because of its values.

When looking for a new job, employees will look for companies that resonate with them and fit their work style. Employees want an environment in which they feel comfortable. But most job posts focus on the job itself, not the company.

Related: In the World of Recruiting, 3 Leadership Qualities to Look for

Then there are tools like Comparably's new Career Matching platform, which change the focus. Employees anonymously indicate which companies they want to work for, instead of applying to jobs. As employees give more information on the type of employer they want, and employers indicate the types of candidates they're interested in, candidates and companies are matched.

That way, employers and employees can make connections based on their needs, not the needs of a job post.

2. Relationships matter.

Professionals understand that relationships are the best way to get through the door and land an opportunity. In fact, a 2015 survey conducted by the Talent Board found that 50 percent of candidates surveyed had had a previous relationship with employers.

What's more, a 2016 survey conducted by SilkRoad found that while job-search engines lead to the most job interviews, employee referrals lead to the most hires.

Applying to a job post is a shot in the dark for most professionals -- they know they have a greater chance of getting hired when they have a relationship with an employer or hiring manager. And while job posts bring in candidates, relationships typically bring in high-quality professionals.

Related: 5 Ways to Cut Down the Cost of Recruiting

But job-seekers prefer to apply to employers with whom they have a relationship for another reason -- they want inside information. They want to get a sense of the culture, the people who work there and more. They want to talk to someone who actually works for the company, instead of reading another job ad.

Comparably's platform allows candidates to do just that. When candidates and employers are matched and both are interested in working together, they can message each other through the platform. Candidates remain anonymous unless they choose to reveal their personal information to an employer, which means they can start to build relationships with potential employers without any commitment or pressure.

At the same time, Comparably's anonymous nature can help to tackle big industry issues like gender bias and diversity hiring.

3. Talent is everywhere.

There are countless job boards, websites and apps available to professionals. Candidates are doing their own research to find jobs, instead of relying heavily on job boards the way they used to. And social media play a huge role.

Adecco's 2015 Work Trends Study found that the probability of being contacted by a recruiter increases with the number of social networks used by a candidate. So it's no surprise that 67 percent of job seekers surveyed in Jobvite's 2016 Job Seeker Nation survey use Facebook to find jobs.

Social media is the place to find employers, do research about them and get hired. So, given this cultural change, posting a job ad on one website isn't going to produce the same reach it once did. A job post isn't enough anymore. Employers need to be where their talent is, whether that's on social media, within online professional communities or on other platforms.

4. Professionals aren't always looking for new jobs.

While employees keep tabs on the job market, many aren't going to jump at the first opportunity they find. After all, the Jobvite survey found that 51 percent of workers surveyed were satisfied with their current jobs but were open to new opportunities.

That means these professionals are less likely to be actively searching for and applying to jobs. Instead, they are more casually networking and maintaining profiles on professional websites. They don't want to do all the work, and appreciate when employers reach out to them.

Using Comparably's platform, for example, professionals can build profiles of their skills and experience and casually look for an employer who seems like a good fit. At the same time, employers can reach out if they're interested in a candidate. Now, the hiring process is two-sided.

Related: From the World of Recruiting, 4 Tips to Help You Rethink How to Attract Talent

Although the tool appears focused on the tech industry for now, it has huge implications for the direction in which hiring is headed. It puts employees and employers on equal footing, empowering both with data to help make the best decisions. This is the future of recruiting, and it's time for employers to get on board.

Heather R. Huhman

Career and Workplace Expert; Founder and President, Come Recommended

Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, the PR solution for job search and HR tech companies. She writes about issues impacting the modern workplace.

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