Any company’s hiring process should give a hiring manager all the information he needs to assess a job applicant, but in today’s employment market, where the competition for qualified candidates can be intense, the job applicant isn’t the only one being put under a microscope.
Leila Haas, the director of human resources for Sprague Pest Solutions, said it’s becoming more common for job applicants to research prospective employers before submitting an application or showing up for an interview. According to a 2018 statistical reference guide for recruiters put out by Glassdoor, which allows employees to rate their employers, 83 percent of jobseekers say they research company reviews when deciding on where to apply for a job. That makes a company’s online ratings either an asset or a hindrance to online recruiting.
Through early January, Sprague Pest Solutions, a Tacoma, Washington-based company with more than 200 employees, had received 32 employee reviews on Glassdoor, with an average score of 4.7 out of five stars.
“Nine out of 10 interviews that I do, applicants mention our ratings and reviews on Glassdoor. It’s huge,” Haas said. “More and more these days, not only are we researching applicants and their résumés and their backgrounds, but they have turned the lens and are being more consumers of their workplace, meaning they are doing much more research on where they want to work. People want to get a full feeling for where they’re applying to before meeting in person.”
Haas said it’s important for companies to evaluate which job boards are consistently yielding the best candidates for each position and in each market so that the company doesn’t purchase listings on too many job boards. According to the Glassdoor report, the average cost per hire in the United States is $4,129, and job boards make up a significant portion of that cost.
Sprague Pest Solutions has learned, for example, that Indeed and Glassdoor are popular with qualified applicants seeking jobs as route managers or technicians, but to attract office and sales staff, it is optimal to also post on LinkedIn, CareerBuilder and Monster. Depending on the market, job boards such as Simply Hired, ZipRecruiter, Sales Gravy, Careerjet, Juju and even Craigslist may be used. Since just about all the job boards are similar in terms of functionality, the main thing that separates one from another is the type of jobseeker it attracts.
“Each job board kind of speaks to a different audience,” Haas said. “I think it’s all about alignment. You need to align your jobseekers with your resources—your time and money.”
Here are some other best practices for online recruiting cited by Haas:
• A strong website and social-media presence are essential for even small companies as job applicants increasingly research prospective employers. Using sites such as Twitter and Facebook to celebrate employee milestones such as anniversaries or awards, highlight the company’s accomplishments and communicate the benefits of working there can help a company build a brand as a desirable place to work.
• Have a strong employee referral program, and be sure the online application has a box where the referring employee can be named. Rewarding employees for referrals after new hires last three to six months on the job will motivate them to bring forth qualified applicants without encouraging them to vouch for everybody and anybody for a quick reward.
• Search for local job boards that in some markets may be almost as popular as the well-known national sites.
• To weed out serious candidates from those who may be applying to just about every job listing on the board, make the online application process somewhat rigorous, and consider having applicants take online career aptitude tests after a phone screening. Truly interested jobseekers who are most likely to be hard workers are willing to jump through a few hoops for a good job, and if an applicant is lazy or not serious about the job, that often is revealed early on.
• Conversely, companies in especially tight labor markets that aren’t getting enough applicants should consider shortening the application process and calling jobseekers as quickly as possible so that they aren’t snapped up by a competitor. According to Glassdoor’s report, 76 percent of U.S. hiring managers say that attracting quality candidates is their No. 1 challenge, and yet the average hire takes 23.8 days, meaning that some companies simply aren’t acting quickly enough.
“We really want to make sure that we’re doing a thorough job [evaluating applicants], but at the same time, we want to move people at a fast pace through the pipeline,” Haas said. “We’re trying to ensure that people are getting touches every few days so that they don’t feel that they’re kind of left out there hanging.”
• Be thorough and clear when describing what a job entails and what an applicant can expect both before and after getting the job. Make clear what skills and knowledge are required for the position. Amid strong competition for qualified workers, resist the temptation to oversell your company or the job position, or your company might be at risk for higher turnover and poor online reviews.
• Larger companies typically benefit from adopting an applicant-tracking software program, which allows the recruiter to post to many job boards at once instead of individually and collects data on which job boards are producing the most qualified candidates. Software programs such as ApplicantStack can generate reports showing which sites yield the most résumés, how many applicants from each site advance through each stage of the hiring process, and how long the hiring process takes for each candidate.
• Perform exit interviews and periodic interviews with long-term employees to find out what they like about their job and the company and what can be improved. Doing so will help the company get better reviews on sites like Glassdoor.
By Nick Fortuna