10 Tips for Recruiting Top Talent

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The landscape of frontline recruiting was turned upside down by the pandemic, with turnover rising to historic highs—and then, as things started to wind down, businesses everywhere struggled to find talent.

That struggle to find the best talent is ongoing, but the good news is that frontline businesses have plenty of options for ramping up recruitment strategies. Implementing those tactics can help you hire top candidates before your competitors do. 

Below, we’ll talk about everything from making your brand more attractive to using automation and artificial intelligence to streamline recruiting.

Defining “top talent”

While there are many ways companies define talented frontline workers, many would agree that they usually share the following qualities:

  • Prompt
  • Engaged
  • Committed
  • Refer friends to bring in more high-quality talent

Those are all great characteristics to form a baseline definition of what it means to be top talent. But there are other qualities that are just as important:

  • Ambitious: These are the employees who work hard to not only meet your expectations but exceed them. They have initiative and are willing to jump in and try new things when needed.
  • Self-motivated: They don’t wait for a manager to tell them what to do. When they see something that needs doing, they do it, and do it right.
  • Willingness to learn: Under your guidance, they’ll continue to build their skills. Eventually, their willingness to learn will see them take up different positions within your organization.
  • Good cultural fit: If a person has all of the qualities described above but doesn't "click" with other team members, they might not perform as well as someone who meshes easily with your company culture.

Why is it important to recruit top talent?

Some of the reasons why it’s crucial to hire top talent wherever possible are obvious: These people will be more productive and less likely to turn over as time goes on.

Other reasons are less obvious. For example, employees who don’t have the “top talent” qualities discussed above are likely to be less engaged in their work, meaning they’re likely to put in fewer hours, resulting in greater hiring needs to cover all shifts. 

Worse, people who aren’t a great fit for your workplace tend to show it, often with negative attitudes or other problematic behavior. In frontline work like customer service or restaurant work, this can make a bad impression on customers.

Even though the goal of high volume hiring is to bring in many employees quickly, it’s important to remain selective. When you recruit anyone who applies rather than the best talent possible, you can end up in a situation that drastically affects your bottom line: high turnover, increased hiring and onboarding costs, and poor perception among clientele.

10 key strategies to recruit and retain top talent

Recruiting and retaining top talent isn’t easy. A recent report indicates 40% of employees globally plan to leave their jobs within the next three to six months. While this means your business is at risk for losing employees, it also means that many quality candidates are entering the job market. 

Here’s how to attract and keep the most talented candidates long-term.

1. Cultivate a strong company culture

In Glassdoor’s Mission & Culture Survey 2019, they find that more than 77% of people consider a company’s culture before applying for a job. 

The simple truth is that happy employees will spread the word about how much they like their workplace, just like unhappy employees will complain to their friends about poor workplaces. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, one in five Americans report leaving a job in the last five years because of bad company culture. A great culture helps you keep the talent you have and helps you build a reputation that attracts even more great new hires.

2. Establish a talent pipeline

A talent pipeline is a steady stream of qualified candidates that you can choose from when you have open positions. When you have a healthy candidate pipeline, you don't have to spend so much time sourcing top talent from scratch. Instead, you can just reach into your "pool" and pull out vetted candidates you already know will be a great fit.  

Here's a high-level approach to establishing a pipeline:

  • Determine which roles are critical to reaching company goals (including future growth and expansion plans) and align hiring needs with business strategies in mind.
  • Find the right sourcing methods that consistently bring in top-quality candidates.
  • Build (and maintain) relationships with potential candidates who stand out—even if you don’t currently have an opening for them.
  • Plan to over-recruit, particularly in high-volume and high-turnover industries. This helps stay ahead of challenges with turnover, no-shows, offer rejections, and rescinded acceptances.

Looking for more actionable steps for building a talent pipeline? Check out this helpful resource.

3. Improve your application and hiring processes

The biggest barriers to hiring great talent often lie in the hiring process. To improve your recruitment strategy, consider doing the following:

Make your application process appealing

Up to 80% of applicants abandon job applications without finishing them. This is known as the “candidate drop-off rate,” and it generally happens when applications are too complex or time-consuming to fill out.

To make your application process appealing, keep it simple. In 2021, 67% of job applications were completed via mobile devices, and this number is expected to continue climbing. Be sure to make it easy to navigate career pages and the application portal on mobile. 

Similarly, simplify the resume process as much as possible:

  • Make it easy to upload resumes and, wherever possible, use the information on the resume to fill out application fields rather than making applicants enter repetitive information. 
  • Consider not requiring a formal resume: Many frontline workers don’t have formal resumes, so asking for one may drive candidates away from an application.

Streamline your hiring process

Many employers are turning to artificial intelligence to help optimize the hiring process. Businesses are optimizing the candidate screening process, saving recruiters time by automating high-volume tasks, and boosting chances of hiring high-quality candidates. 

Employed candidates will need to schedule interviews around their current positions, so be flexible where interviews are concerned. Embrace video interviews, particularly for first-round interviews, which can help schedule interviews faster: It’s much easier (and faster) to jump on a video call with a candidate than it is to coordinate a time to meet in person—especially if they’re currently employed.

And, when you have a new hire, make onboarding simple. Do as much as possible before the new hire’s first day, like completing essential new hire paperwork and setting up video tutorials. This will help make a great impression and prevent day-one chaos.

4. Create appealing job descriptions

Think of your job descriptions as advertisements: You want them to grab people’s attention and encourage them to apply. Here are a few actionable tips for creating amazing job descriptions:

  • Hook your readers with an attention-grabbing first sentence.
  • Skip the generic language and show your company's personality.
  • Write in second-person POV, using “you” statements. 
  • Showcase what’s in it for them. Qualified candidates will already know the basics about your open role, but they don't know why your company is better than competitors.  

5. Boost your brand’s reach and reputation through social media

Social media should be a vital part of your marketing strategy—including your employer branding. 

  • Post employee testimonials to share the positive environment you’ve created.
  • Share company events, hiring events, and other opportunities to network.
  • Don’t be shy—reach out and connect to top talent so that you can build a relationship.

Because different social media channels work better for some industries than others, it’s important to consider which platforms your audience uses the most. Focus on building a credible, active presence on these sites with content that resonates with your audience. Create posts that showcase your company’s personality and illustrate why it’s a great place to work. Be engaged with your followers, responding to comments and messages quickly and effectively. With these practices in place, over time, you’ll begin to see results in the form of lots of qualified candidates each time you post job openings. 

6 Build a high-quality talent pool

We discussed how to build a talent pipeline above—and the result of a great talent pipeline is a robust talent pool. The next step is refining that pool to produce amazing new hires consistently.

Analytics will be your friend here. Keep track of the sources that produce the right talent and the talent acquisition and recruitment techniques you used to draw in the largest number of qualified candidates. This will let you continuously adjust your approach, ultimately bringing in better candidates as time goes on.

7. Leverage your current employees

If you want more like them, an employee referral program is one of the best ways to find these people. Offer incentives to encourage your current staff to recommend their friends. 

There is some research that suggests that employee referral programs can sometimes adversely affect diversity. However, the advantages of good employee referrals? Lower recruitment costs, reduced hiring and onboarding time, and employees who are more likely to stay long term.

8. Offer job flexibility, good benefits, and overtime (where applicable)

People are much more willing to work for companies that offer great benefits than companies that offer base pay and platitudes. In their “Attracting and Retaining Hourly Employees and Their Managers” report, Legion finds that 82% of surveyed employees are more likely to work for a business with benefits like better communication and schedule flexibility.

If you really want to ramp up your recruitment tactics to attract talent and stand out from competitors, offer perks like:

  • Job flexibility
  • Great benefits package
  • Overtime pay
  • Plenty of paid vacation and sick time
  • Opportunities for learning and skill building
  • Opportunities for advancement

Where frontline work is concerned, the reality is that you may not be able to offer some of the most sought-after benefits (like flexible scheduling), but you can offer other benefits to make up for it. Doing so will set you above the competition and empower you to pull in the best candidates. 

9. Identify passive candidates

Passive candidates aren’t active job seekers, but might be interested in switching jobs should the right opportunity arise. They can be some of the most lucrative candidates since you can often hire them quickly without scouring job boards or making postings.

When you spot these people through referrals, networking, or social media. Keep their contact information and check in from time to time. When an opening comes up and someone on your passive list looks like the ideal candidate, reach out to see if they’re interested.

10. Automate your recruitment process

The recruitment process can be a huge burden on hiring managers and human resources departments. Automation and artificial intelligence can cut out time-consuming tasks so that you can focus on the human side of hiring—bringing in the right candidates quickly and more efficiently.

Automated recruiting platforms can help businesses:

  • Distribute job postings on job boards and social media.
  • Streamline communication and scheduling with candidates.
  • Use chatbots to provide status updates, scheduling tools, and application help.
  • Monitor and track social networking opportunities.
  • Screen candidates for the right skill sets based on keywords or experience.
  • Automate background checks.

With Emi’s automated interview scheduling, Burger King was able to recover up to 10% of their store managers’ and HR team’s time previously spent screening, scheduling, and coordinating interviews. In the process, they improved their time to hire by 30%! Danone used Emi’s AI candidate scoring to identify top talent and schedule interviews immediately, increasing the number of candidates sourced by 5x. Learn more about how to leverage AI in the hiring process.

Succeed in recruiting top talent with Emi

Ready to see how we can help? Emi helps you engage with candidates, tailor your interactions, and boost your hiring results. We can help you make quality hires faster using sophisticated automation, analytics, and artificial intelligence.

Request a demo here to learn how you can drive better high-volume frontline recruitment results with Emi.

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