Revitalize Your Recruiting for 2005

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Happy New Year! The forecasts are in agreement: Hiring is on the rise. 2005 will mark the revitalization of our economy. In fact, hiring plans may rival 1999 statistics, when the economy was at its strongest.

The beginning of the year is a time for renewal and an opportunity to make positive changes. Will you keep doing what you did in 2004? Or are you ready to change the direction of your recruiting and staffing model?

Journal and newspaper ads continue to deluge hiring managers with resumes by the pound. The "Big 3" internet job boards just aren't getting it done. Everyone has a "Careers" page on their corporate web site, but I'm guessing that most of you aren't exactly overwhelmed with the results.

It's time for some fresh ideas.

Here are seven recruiting tips you can consider to blend into your existing arsenal:

1) Start a blog. By now we've all heard a lot about blogging. That's because this is a very cost effective communications tool. Every time I write an entry to my blog, Googlebot (Google's spider) crawls my blog. Corporations can blog to drive traffic to a Careers page where the exact audience you are targeting can then apply for open positions.

Remember to optimize your headline; write about what people are surfing for on the web. Then watch your audience grow (I don't know about you, but I like it when my reading audience increases every week). Next month's article will cover blogging tools, traffic conversion and SEM/SEO tools. And most of these tools are FREE.

2) Publish an e-newsletter. What better way to keep in touch with current employees and be sure they are aware of plans to expand, new projects underway, or changes to your employee referral plan? This is another extremely favorable cost-benefit tool; if you set this up properly, it shouldn't be a drain on your resources or time.

In fact, why stop at only one e-newsletter? Why not create an alternate version to communicate with former alumni who have left your organization? The people that you'd hire back in a heartbeat if given the opportunity. Share all of the hot news, and publish photos and audio testimonials from current employees who miss working with them.

Are there a few individuals in particular who you would love to have back into your organization? Consider sending them personalized audio postcards from your CEO. No one is doing this (yet), so you will really stand out and make a strong impression.

3) Engage in regular direct mail campaigns. Use postcard marketing to:

? Drive traffic to a website where you may have jobs posted.

? Announce the location of your booth at the next trade show.

? Advertise and promote your Employee Referral Program (ERP).

You can also use postcard campaigns to reach profile candidates regularly. Profile candidates are those people you would hire any day of the week because there are constant needs for these positions (e.g. nurses, SAS programmers, CRAs, etc.). Run a campaign designed to encourage people to apply for specialized positions which they may not have otherwise heard about.

4) Make your corporate Careers page a priority. Be sure jobs are updated frequently and that positions that have been filled are removed. Consider using a pop-under box when a visitor leaves your site; ask them (with audio) "Are you sure you are ready to leave the site? How can we make our site better?" Then read and act on the feedback that people will readily share with you.

In addition, review your site to make sure you're speaking to specific skill sets and audiences. For example, do you address different types of candidates (diversity, current employees, part-time, contract, allied health, nursing, physicians, military, summer jobs, internships)? Do you engage them in conversations specific to your needs and theirs?

5) Learn to throw a boomerang. Actually, "the boomerang effect" is a relatively new trend of inviting back talented former employees into the fold. Surveys indicate 12% of employers cautiously admit they would re-hire ex-employees (alumni). An additional 21% say they welcome back alumni without hesitation because of the time and dollar savings. In fact, the Gartner Group estimated that by 2003, 60% of mid to large-sized companies will have routinely hired back former employees.

6) Try CEO Campaigns (a hidden secret that costs $0.09 a minute!). Okay, I admit that the actual costs to apply this tip depend on your phone plan charges! But let's ignore that detail for a moment.

Have you ever received a call from someone at a senior level in your profession ? just to talk about YOU? It's flattering. It sure doesn't happen every day. And you won't soon forget it. Have your senior management team make three calls each month without fail to hot candidates. Then delegate the follow-up contact work to someone who can act as a peer ambassador. This no-pressure approach will build good will and portray your place of work as being a progressive, in-demand, and creative place to work.

7) Give your ERP a tune-up. Do you have an ERP (Employee Referral Program)? If you don't, you need to develop one. It doesn't have to be complicated, but essentially your current employees should be rewarded for recommending friends and peers to apply for open position needs you have. Some clients I've worked with developed very successful programs paying $1,000.00 to $5,000.00 per employee referred who was a successful hire. Does that sound like a lot of money? Compare it to the drain of not having critical, hard-to-fill positions remain open month after month. You'll find this level of cash reward to be quite a bargain.

I've also seen other organizations give away $50.00 movie certificates, or $500.00 towards personal expenses, for more common position needs.

Top companies find many of their hires through well-developed referral structures, combining exciting programs, innovative technology, and constant communication. Often, these hires are more loyal and get up to speed faster. A successful ERP also boosts morale and will serve as a means for your employees to directly contribute to your organizational success.

Biography: Lucia Apollo Shaw is the President and CEO of HireWorks, Inc. HireWorks is a professional search firm specializing in the Life Sciences. HireWorks offers research services, contract staffing, and permanent placement services. She has been helping her customers for nearly 9 years - working both as a third party recruiter for CDI Corp (staffing customers like IBM), Trilogy Consulting (now Venturi Partners) staffing the Biotech and Pharmaceutical industry and in places like Duke University where she was a corporate recruiter and Team Leader for recruitment for Duke University Hospital. Lucia earned a B.A. from the State University of NY (University Center at Albany) and pursued Graduate Studies in Public Administration at the Sage Graduate School in Albany, NY.

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