In a 2019 study, organizations adept at hiring talent also had two times better profit margins than those that were less capable in recruitment. The reason why recruiting remains so powerful is that if you don’t bring in the right players, the other operational functions suffer. When those departments suffer you diminish the company’s ability to retain workers and your overall employer brand deteriorates eroding your bottom-line.

The current big recruitment question is, will the coronavirus outbreak turn the remote workforce into the new reality for most businesses long-term? The full verdict is out, but I think we can all agree that things will never be the same again. That means for your business to succeed now, and post COVID, you will need a recruitment process that’s on the leading edge of things.

“The RONA” has made minimal impact on Leading Edge Connections. We were 100% virtual with all our practices and processes supporting team members at home from the get go, a few years before all this. With that experience in mind we wanted to share some valuable tips during this time that are all based on our experience and expertise in recruiting, hiring and onboarding in the space.

Here are our top 7 tips for 2020 recruiting and beyond!

  1. Get excited and challenge the status quo!

The first thing to do in this process is enlist the right people and get the right mindset engaged. It’s been said, “you can’t fix a problem with the same thinking that got you into trouble” or “if nothing changes, then nothing changes”. We cannot afford to pretend that nothing has changed. Acceptance that we are in a new world is beyond crucial. The second thing to do here is to ensure your people are excited about this new potential world. It’s discovery time. It’s creative time. Those are exciting places to be. Having a team start this process in fear and clinging to the past is a sure-fire way to fail.

One thing we did to start with was look at recruitment through a different lens. We said let’s look at this as if it was a sales process. We are all familiar with sales and we are evolving our sales functions for our clients quickly during COVID. What have we learned works in a customer journey? What has changed? What engagement tools are best? Before we got stuck discussing the practicalities of building this into HR we just freely built something that made sense if we were selling. After we all agreed on that we had legal and HR pick through it for holes. Via the collaboration we came up with something new, fresh and unchained from yesterday’s thinking.

There’s an exercise we love to do regarding capacity. If you haven’t ever done something like this I would highly recommend it. Get your newly selected team together and start leveraging an infinite possibilities exercise. The rule here is that any idea is a good idea. Just free people up to throw anything constructive up on the board. Don’t discuss limitations. Just stay in the lane of free-flowing ideas. You’ll be amazed at what people can come up with. After the ideas are done then you can start peeling layers off to find a formula that works for you. Get people excited! Mindset matters!

  1. Refine your ICPs (Ideal Candidate Profiles)

The second piece of advice we have is redefining your ICPs. Because the roles have changed due to virtual work, or new technologies, the ideal candidate may have changed a bit or a great deal. What once was a great ideal candidate and hire may now be a subpar delivery to a sales, operations or leadership team. Who are your new targets? If you don’t define the targets clearly you will never be able to find them adequately.

If you have never built an ICP here are 5 quick steps to do so:

  1. Define the job content and duties
  2. Consider the company culture and vision
  3. Learn from your top and bottom performers
  4. Define key hard and soft skills
  5. Evaluate methods of connection to candidates

If you want to be productive in sourcing, screening and assessing candidates, you should take the time to develop an ideal candidate profile. This strategy will help you attract better candidates, speed up your recruitment process and get better hires—without breaking the bank.

  1. Reevaluate your job postings & marketing

Now that you have the ICPs built its time to look at job postings and marketing. Based on who you are looking for, where is the most optimal place to connect with them? What type of connection should be made? How can you speak their language and gain their interest? How can you add value to their world?

Once you have some of those answers, and more, you will better know your approach. Should you use Indeed or LinkedIn? Should you take a passive approach or go mining? Will you run ads or used content-based info to connect? Again, think of this like a sales process. What will attract your ideal candidate?

I will say there is NO single silver bullet! It’s generally a multi-channel, multi-messaged approach. If you are fortunate enough to have a marketing team, or a marketing firm to lean on, it’s extremely helpful to leverage their assistance with social media, copyrighting, and positioning.

  1. Evolve your candidate journey experience

This is the one I see organizations skip over the most. They either don’t have one at all, or they are married to a standardized version that is outdated. That’s why we engaged our sales people to get creative. They are familiar with sales funnels, sales processes and customer journey creation. We invited customer care teams because they are familiar with customer experience and customer satisfaction. The trick here is to view candidates as potential long-term customers that you need to convert. What do you want their experience to be like?

As an example, we’ve included a funnel and candidate experience process for you. The key is to tailor this to be in lockstep with your business, culture and end goal in mind. Get granular. What activities need to take place in each stage or phase. Who is involved? What is the timeline? We use what we call the five T’s when evaluating this build. The five T’s are Tools, Techniques, Technologies, Talent and Timeline. We use a SMART approach to answering these categorical questions to build out the pathway.

  1. Leverage new technology in your interview process

Applicant tracking systems are easy to find. Finding the one that works for your business and your specific workflows is a different question. Most of them are built with traditional configurations created with HR processes in mind vs sales type processes in mind. Some are extremely agile, most aren’t. It’s crucial to vet out and confirm if your current ATS will work, or if you need a new solution.

In addition to ATS platforms you need to really look into technology for conducting solid video interviews with candidates. Zoom is the obvious front runner here but there are many other great options. There are also video email platforms, like Covideo, that can add some flavor into your communication process. These allow for more personal interaction.

The third key component is procuring technology for hard and soft skill testing. Software that can test Emotional Intelligence is a great addition for some roles. Predictive Index is another great tool that’s been around forever to help determine the PDNA (performance DNA) of your candidates. We love to use sandbox situations with our candidates too. This enables us to see real time how they navigate certain technologies and if there are baseline struggles or strengths. The real focus needs to remain on the candidate experience and having that experience yield you qualitative and quantitative data for decision making.

  1. Test, train, and reconsider your recruiting team

One of the biggest mistakes we make as business leaders is knowing when to cut someone loose or move someone. It’s hard parting with people we like. But, when things change, things change. If you have followed the first 5 steps then the logical conclusion would be to take a deep hard look at your team to ensure you have the right people doing the right job. Will they be able to perform with this new process? Are their soft skills adequate to handle the new work? Does their technical skill level measure up with the new platforms and processes?

The best way to test your new processes is to first test it on the people who would be using it. Would you select them after going through your processes? Does current recruiter A make the cut? If the answer is yes then great. If the answer is no, great. If the answer is maybe but with additional training, at least you know. It’s paramount that they are the masters of the domain that is the gateway to your organization. Go cheap or easy here and you have wasted your time on every other step and investment prior.

  1. Consider Outsourcing

Some of you may look at all this and just say “it’s too much”, and that’s okay. If it is, you have another option. More and more organizations are exploring outsourcing key functions like recruitment. If your hiring volumes are lower this may be a very viable and more cost-effective option. You can find fantastic experts to lean on in locating, and landing your optimal talent. Do the research and make sure they specialize in the type of recruitment you need. Shop around and get multiple bids to ensure you are positioning yourself properly.

Due to higher volumes or locational challenges, many companies decided to outsource the entire piece of the pie. At Leading Edge Connections, we have clients who outsource their entire sales department to us. This eliminates the struggle with recruitment and the costs of attrition, oversight, and technology. Others decide to outsource a portion or all of their customer care department to us. The ability to scale on demand, pull from a global geo-footprint and train efficiently in a virtual model far outweigh the journey they need to take to complete all this internally. The beauty of outsourcing is you maximize your performance reach, leverage expertise, and lower costs!

Recruitment, like sales, is a forever evolving branch of the business. Changing your company’s focus on the importance of this department may be your first step toward the evolutionary success needed to thrive in this new world we all live in. The Coronavirus, and post COVID world will require all of us to rethink what’s possible, and force all of us out of our comfort zones. Sure, it’s scary in the moment, but at LEC we choose to look at that scariness and redefine it as “excitement”. So, get excited about change, get passionate about that evolution, because that passion can catapult you and your teams to the next level of success!