master recruitmentSince September, I am working with a client in a plant in Virginia. This opportunity takes me back to in-person HR. As luck would have it, this site is looking to recruit a number of new associates by year end.

One position in particularly (production technician) has proven to be difficult to fill. Like many employers across the country, this business has had a tough time filling its jobs with the right candidates. 

Employers who continuously recruit the same skill sets can create a recruitment strategy to reach prospective employees. Do you know where your “prospects” go to find a job? How do you reach them when a vacancy opens? Online job posting has become the go-to option for all employers. 

Location matters even online. Sourcing talent has now become a science. Each job board (Indeed, LinkedIn Recruiter, Craig’s List) is driven by an algorithm. The fee paid to post plays a role as to which jobs come up at the top of a search. But there is more to it. The algorithm powering the search engine plays an important role. It appears the algorithm varies by location. Clients in Colorado get most of their leads through Craig’s List while in Connecticut they have discontinued using it because of poor quality. In most locations, is a sure bet but again not everywhere. So even with online job posting, location matters!

But in our current economy of (almost) full-employment, most prospective employees have a job. And unless they are actively looking for a new job, online job postings might not be enough to attract them to you jobs. You need to get out of the office and into your community!

What does community-based recruitment look like? Consider your current employee population. How did they find you as an employer? If you have a reliable HR Information System, run a report for a given time frame (e.g. last 6 months, last year). If not  – and most employers regrettably do not have good HR technology – ask your current employees.

In a study done by Leading Home Care among employees of home health agencies, we learn that the best employees heard about their employer from other employees. Word-of-mouth referral is still one the best (and cheapest) way to recruit top-notch staff across sectors, not just home health. Knowing this, consider what you can do to encourage employee referrals. Many employers offer a referral incentive to their employees, often in the form of a cash referral.

Another recruitment avenue: affinity groups. Think ethnic communities (e.g. Nepalese in pockets of New Hampshire, Hawaiian in Utah, Indian in New Jersey) or affinity-based groups (think Hispanic chamber of commerce, LGBT-minded business groups). Being known as an employer of choice within their community can provide a pipeline of applicants. Get involved in the events sponsored by those groups. Advertise your jobs in their publications (paper and online). Be a sponsor on their Facebook page and website.

Your location really matters even in a national search for candidates. In this case, finding the right candidate is only half of the battle. The other half is convincing them to relocate to YOUR location. Look for resources at the local chamber of commerce, the tourism board and the department for economic development. They are experts are attracting businesses and skills to your area. Contact them and learn what they can do to assist. Ask what works for your area. Look for best practices from other successful employers.

Not sure if it’s worthwhile? If you track your recruitment data, you will be able to see how many new hires came to you through those local channels and where your best employees first discovered you. What you will probably find is that not one singular approach works all the time. It’s usually a combination of touchpoints and messages that turn strangers into employees.

I help employers across the country create their recruitment strategy. Contact me if you want to explore your options.