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June 27, 2024

Find Better Employees, Faster: 7 Ways to Boost Your Quality of Hire

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In a world where bad hires cost an average of $17,000 each, every new hire needs to be the right one. According to LinkedIn’s latest Future of Recruiting report, quality of hire is the #1 challenge shaping the future of recruitment.

If you’re like the thousands of employers surveyed, you know that finding quality applicants is easier said than done – especially, if you don't have deep recruitment pockets for fancy perks and signing bonuses.

In this article, we’re sharing seven budget-friendly tactics to help you find qualified employees, spend more time with the right candidates, and improve your overall recruitment ROI.

7 free (or almost free) ways to find better employees

With 54% of talent acquisition experts citing quality of hire as the top issue impacting recruitment, there’s never been a better time to level up your recruitment strategies.

Here are seven simple ways to find better employees in less time.

1. Level up your employer branding

When it comes to your employer branding, like recognizes like.

To attract quality candidates, show them you’re a quality employer. If you haven’t already, this could be as simple as creating a branded career site on your company website.

“Build a dynamic career site that showcases your company culture, mission and vision and more,” advises Tammy Harper, Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at CAI. “When you clearly define your values and provide a glimpse into your employee experience, you attract top talent and thereby increase retention rates.” 

At Breezy, our own research revealed that company career portals are the top source of hire for growing employers, accounting for over 85% of offline and owned hires. A well-branded career site can help you ‘filter in’ the applicants willing to take the extra step to learn what you're about, while providing an opportunity for applicants coming from job posting sites and other sources to get to know you better (instead of getting sidetracked by competitor job openings). 

To upgrade your employer brand:

  • Start with a clear employer value proposition highlighting your culture, compensation and differentiators
  • Refresh your existing job descriptions and postings. Double-check for inclusive language to ensure traffic from the widest possible applicant pool.
  • Optimize your career portal for mobile. Over half of candidates apply on smartphones.
  • Share your updated career site across all your social media platforms to promote your open role.

2. Appeal to the "new collar" workforce

When the going gets tough, business owners and hiring managers get creative. In the future of recruitment, employers will increasingly focus on potential first, training second.

The term “new collar workforce” refers to the thousands of blue-collar or nontraditional workers who invested in learning in-demand digital skills during the pandemic, like software engineering, data analytics and digital marketing. 

These candidates are highly skilled, but few of them have degrees. According to experts like Don Gannon-Jones, Vice President of Content at Kara, that means companies could be missing out on major talent opportunities.

“When companies choose to put ‘four-year degree required’ (or even ‘preferred’) on a job listing, they're automatically shutting out a gigantic swath of the population,” Gannon-Jones tells Forbes. “[But] industries everywhere are realizing that for a lot of fields, colleges and universities aren't teaching what businesses actually need.”

When it comes to diversifying your candidate pipeline, skills-based hiring can more than double your talent pool and triple the number of underrepresented candidates in your pipeline. Big-name businesses from Walmart to Bank of America are now beginning to scrap degree requirements, paving the way for employers of all sizes to follow suit.

To attract new collar workers:

  • Use skills-based language in your job postings, emphasizing capabilities rather than credentials or degree requirements.
  • Create an apprenticeship or internship program for workers without degrees and actively advertise it in your recruitment branding and at local career fairs.
  • Outline role expectations clearly and offer on-the-job training over the first 90 days minimum to accelerate onboarding and ramp time.

3. Optimize your job posts for Google

Nearly 75% of candidates begin their job search on Google, but many businesses aren’t creating their job listings with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. 

According to Matt Adam, Chief Talent Strategist at NAS Recruitment, that’s because recruiters simply aren’t posting their open roles on their careers page. This makes it difficult for Google to index and serve the jobs in search results.

His advice? Host your job ads on your own site, then link back to your postings to boost organic traffic results and get in front of qualified job seekers.

Tips for optimizing your job posts for Google:

  • Boost local SEO by optimizing your Google My Business Profile with relevant keywords like “now hiring” or “manufacturing jobs”.
  • Create custom landing pages for important roles.
  • If you have multiple locations, create separate job postings for each city to capitalize on location-based keywords in the location and job title. 

4. Use premium boards for hard-to-fill roles

When hiring for a niche role, why not use a niche job board? While high-traffic sites like Indeed and ZipRecruiter can deliver unmatched quantity, niche and premium job boards offer specialized candidates. 

With a small investment in a niche or premium job board, you can save hours sorting through job applications because the basic skills don’t match. And with less traffic from your competitors, you also get a nice visibility boost amongst candidates in your sector. The result is higher-quality hires, faster.

In last year’s Source of Hire Report, we found that the average time to hire across all job boards was 91.5 days. But with premium sites like StackOverflow and WeWorkRemotely, the time to hire was under 35 days, nearly two months faster.

To make the most of niche job boards:

  • Do your research and find a job board that caters to your industry. From ConstructionJobs to HealthcareJobSite, there’s a job board for every niche.
  • Tailor your ads to your audience. A generic job posting won’t cut it for an in-the-know candidate pool. Be clear about your specific job requirements and expectations.
  • Prioritize speed in your candidate communications to make sure you’re connecting with the right talent faster than the competition.

5. Upgrade your employee referral program

As the old saying goes, good people know good people. Hire employees who already get what you’re about by tapping into your current employees’ professional networks.

An employee referral program connects you with potential candidates by incentivizing your current team members to refer their talented connections as potential employees for open positions. In a labor market where passive candidates are harder to find, 52% of employer respondents are leaning into referral programs – and reaping the benefits.

“It all goes back to the quality of the hire,” Founder of The Growth Co. David Folwell writes for Forbes. “Because someone they know has recommended referred hires, it’s not just another job to them. They didn’t come from a listing that happened to catch their attention. So referrals are more likely to be invested in the company and might even work alongside the person who referred them. Having more of these people on your team improves overall employee satisfaction and engagement.”

To improve your employee referral program:

  • Create a list of referral rules detailing when, where and how employees can refer job candidates.
  • Revamp your incentives. While everyone loves cash, rewards like extra vacation days and public recognition are good on a tight budget.
  • Drum up employee participation by sending out office bulletins that highlight your new perks.

6. Nurture your candidate database

Don’t let talented individuals slip through your fingers.

Whether you’re in the midst of a hiring freeze or just trying to fill your pipeline, good recruiters know that having the right candidates on deck is a great way to ensure you’re never caught short-staffed. It also means you don’t have to settle for the first passable candidate who comes along.

“Recruiting top talent is a long game,” says senior recruiting executive Richard Cho. “While it may seem counterintuitive for recruiters to reach out to prospective candidates before a role is open, this is precisely the time for recruiters to build real, genuine relationships without the pressure either side experiences when trying to fill a role or job hunt.”

Tips for nurturing your candidate pipeline:

  • Keep your messages and templates specific – never spammy or robotic. Think exciting company updates and personalized content, not vague “opportunities you might be interested in.”
  • Request permission to stay in touch with candidates. Wait until they agree, then start nurturing the connection.
  • Don’t make empty promises. Tell candidates upfront when conversations are exploratory vs. when they’re precursors to job offers.

7. Streamline the screening process

Although the typical hiring process lasts three to six weeks, top-quality candidates are often snapped up in just a few days. If you’re looking to find great employees before your competitors do, you can’t afford to waste time on a lengthy screening process. 

By leveraging candidate-friendly AI, you can zoom in on top candidates and schedule interviews with superstars ASAP – even if you’re a small business without a full-time tech specialist on your roster.

For example, Breezy users can activate Candidate Match Score to compare anonymized resumes with your job posting to help you find qualified candidates faster.

Tips to speed up your pre-screening process:

  • Incorporate AI-enhanced blind hiring practices to connect with candidates based on skills and capabilities instead of arbitrary identifying traits.
  • Send skills assessments to prequalify candidates and free up more time to focus on the best ones.
  • Streamline scheduling with an easy interview scheduling link so candidates can quickly pick a time that works for them.

Put the pedal to the metal with Breezy

Hiring is hard. And outdated recruitment processes only make it that much harder.

But when you take the time to assess, optimize, and refocus, you can create a modern recruiting process that consistently delivers the best employees for your business.

Ready to try something new? Breezy’s easy blind hiring, AI-driven candidate matching, and customizable interview scorecards have everything you need to connect with the best candidates faster. See what the candidate-friendly recruiting software can do for you. Try Breezy free for 14 days.