Use a Variety of Recruitment Sources
Considering the current tight labor market, employers must be more creative and work harder than ever before to recruit and fill open positions. The best way to generate a qualified pool of applicants is to recruit from a variety of sources. This will also help to ensure there is no intentional or unintentional discrimination of protected groups.
Consider the following methods of recruiting:
*Internal Job Postings often yield the best candidates to fill the open position. Filling positions with internal candidates encourages career growth, professional development and cross training of employees. It's a big morale boost if your employees perceive that they have growth potential within the company.
*Employee Referrals are the best source of external candidates. There's a strong motivation for employees to refer good candidates lest they feel responsible for referring someone who turns out to be a poor performer. Also, employees tend to know others in the same field, either through professional associations, or by having worked with them at previous companies. Consider establishing a clear, understandable employee referral program with incentives for referrals that are hired and stay for at least six months.
*Newspaper Advertisements are overwhelmingly popular. Newspaper advertising typically generates a large applicant flow, although the overall quality of applicants is not always the best.
*College Campuses are another very popular recruitment source. New college hires are generally enthusiastic and eager to learn.
*Contract Recruiters are becoming much more prevalent. Because contract recruiters are not employees of the company, they can be brought on-board or released quickly. This is an advantage to the company because recruiting is generally a very cyclical function.
*Employment Agencies (Headhunters) are typically used to recruit candidates for top management positions and other positions that are difficult to fill. Employment agencies offer some unique advantages. They can typically conduct a confidential search and deliver candidates quickly (depending upon the size of their candidate pool). Their disadvantages include cost (20% to 30% of the hired candidates annual salary) and a high turnover of placements (hiring the candidate into your organization does not remove them from the headhunter's candidate pool).
*Job Fairs can be very effective. Hiring managers can meet multiple candidates and conduct on-the-spot interviews. Because the applicants may be interviewing with multiple employers, it is imperative to respond quickly with invitations for in-house interviews of qualified candidates.
*The Internet has quickly become a very popular source of employment advertising. Employers can post their openings on their own web site, or use an internet job posting site.
*State Employment Agencies provide an abundant source of applicants for predominantly lower skilled or entry-level positions.
*Rehires are another excellent source of candidates. Often employees leave only to find that the grass wasn't greener at their new company. Call them after a few months, and you might be surprised about their willingness to return.
*Temporary Agencies allows employers to "try out" job candidates prior to offering them employment. Although most agencies charge a fee for placement, employers find the cost nominal compared to conducting the hiring process themselves. In addition, employers can delay paying benefits, workers' compensation and other employee-related costs during the temporary employment period.
*Elderly Workers are another option for targeted recruiting. Often, the elderly work only limited schedules due to Social Security maximum income requirements; however, they are typically model employees, and employers can benefit from their knowledge and experience level.
*Handicapped Workers can often be found through agencies and shelters. Many times, very little accommodation is needed to allow a handicapped individual to perform the essential duties of a position.
*Welfare Recipients are another source of potential candidates. Hiring a welfare-to-work employee is no different than hiring any other worker, but there are added benefits, including tax credits and assistance with screening and training.
*Networking is one of the best, yet underutilized, methods of recruiting. Let your business associates, neighbors, church associates, local schools, community organizations, vendors, customers (and anyone else you can think of) know that you are looking for employees. It helps to have a written advertisement to distribute.
*Advertising in Trade Publications is another way of narrowing down the field. The candidates who read these magazines are more likely to have a strong commitment to the professional field you're recruiting for than would a candidate who responds to a newspaper ad.
Employee referral contests (significant prizes to those who successfully refer the most candidates over a period of time) Billboards Open houses Radio Television Direct mail campaigns Signs on delivery vehicles
Reduce the Risk of Discriminatory Hiring
In today's legal environment employers must be cautious in all phases of the hiring process to avoid claims of discrimination. Companies can use several tactics to reduce their risks for discrimination litigation during the recruitment phase:
*Clearly state the requirements and duties of the job (i.e. a job description), and make this information available to applicants
*Keep records of the various recruitment methods used-a variety of recruitment sources should be used to ensure a diverse pool of candidates
*Keep records of the applications received, candidates interviewed, and the candidates selected. Show clearly that the candidate selected was the best qualified for the position based on the job tasks and knowledge, skills, abilities and personal characteristics required of the job.
Portions excerpted from Kansas City Small Business Monthly, 97-98 Entrepreneur Resource Guide and the Auxillium West website.