It’s hard to hire the perfect person for a role – you know it, and we know it. Because of a combination of epic-low unemployment, an aging workforce and the lack of a trained pipeline (in construction, manufacturing and healthcare, in particular), the odds of landing the right candidate for a position can feel stacked against you. 

If your recruiting strategy is more than a year or two old, now’s a good time to give it a good once-over. In our fast-paced tech world, where new digital crazes take over the collective brain in just months (remember the Fortnite craze? Pokemon Go?) and Americans spend an average of two hours and 15 minutes on social media a day, a lot can change if you’re not constantly re-evaluating. 

But with all the escalating recruiting challenges, some things remain the same: 

  • The need for great employees 
  • The importance for an employer brand 
  • Finding the best place you post jobs 

We’ve got tips to improve your hiring with fast-action changes. Ready to jump-start your application numbers? Here’s where you should get started.


Step 1: Expand Your Wishlist for Perosnality vs. Skills

“We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if we don’t have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you’re going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.” – Warren Buffett 

When you’re in an applicant drought, you need to open the gates as wide as possible. Conventional HR wisdom has been to screen out applicants who don’t meet all of your wish-list criterion, but in today’s low-applicant environment, your hiring practices need to adjust. And, flooding your workforce by bringing on people of impressive character (despite a lack of ready-to-go-skills) is likely to pay off. Personality traits to look for:

  • Ambition
  • Enthusiasm 
  • Smarts
  • Willingness to learn
  • Demonstrated grit

Step 2: Make Your Applications Super Quick, Super Mobile

Fifty-five percent of job seekers say a long application process contributes to a negative experience (Software Advice).

The last thing you need is for interested potential candidates to take a look at your application and say: “I don’t have time to fill that out…I’ll come back later.” Guess what? They likely won’t. 

Social media sites are designed to keep you on their platform and entranced as you scroll. If your application requires things like a cover letter, attachments or – gasp – a desktop, you’re losing a lot of could-be applicants. Being mobile-optimized is especially important for blue-collar jobs, where rates of mobile job searching trend higher than desk-jockey jobs like accountants and engineers.

If you’re worried about being flooded with applicants who won’t work – literally or figuratively – your Applicant Tracking System needs to kick it up a notch. A smart ATS would include:

  • Resume parsing 
  • Candidate batching 
  • Reporting analytics
  • Centralized candidate management

Post Where the People Are

Americans on Facebook, by age (Pew):

  • 81% ages 18-29
  • 78% ages 30-49
  • 65% ages 50-64

Despite all the negative press about social media, most Americans’ lives are increasingly influenced by it. From YouTube and Facebook (the most popular social media sites in 2018) to Instagram (growing its audience massively year-over-year), and even LinkedIn (the most buttoned-up site in the category, but increasing users like crazy), social media impact has to factor in to your recruitment efforts.

Job sites are all well and good, but social recruiting has different benefits, like the ability to attract passive candidates. In a tough hiring market, passive candidates can open up a new avenue, especially if you’ve done your homework to position your employer brand attractively. Social media sites that have built-in job posting sections include Facebook and LinkedIn; Twitter is great for finding niche industry conversations; and YouTube and Instagram have a good reputation for building brand devotion … And you know where people like to work? Places they love.

Prioritize Employee Referrals

The No. 1 way people discover new jobs is from employee referrals, according to LinkedIn Talent Solutions.

Employee referrals are the gold standard of potential new hires. They’ve got a lot going for them:

  • A current employee wants to work with them
  • The potential candidate will likely be invested in the candidacy because they have a connection 
  • The current employee thinks they’d be a good fit 
  • The potential candidate likely has some familiarity with your workplace and expectations 

Employee referral programs are pretty simple. In fact, it’s probably one of the oldest forms of hiring. A quality employee referral program can make a big impact on your workforce. First, it shows a level of confidence and enthusiasm on the part of your current employees. No one wants to recommend a job or employer that won’t treat their friend or family member well. Second, with every referral, your employees boost your employer brand. If employees love working for you enough to invite others in, you must be doing something right.


The race for the best hires is on, and you’ve got to adapt to the market. Start with these tips to jump-start your hiring, but we’ve got more. Check out our free white paper, Top 5 Recruiting Secrets of HR Experts, or jump in: See a demo of our smart ATS system. Our built-in job distribution has the fastest one-click job distribution for unlimited users without a third-party.

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