5 New Year’s resolutions for recruiters

Christina Pavlou | |

As we enter the holiday season, naturally our minds wander to vacation plans, tree decorations, cookies and our favorite movie. It’s also the time to reflect on the year that’s about to end, thinking about our biggest hits – and maybe a couple of misses. But, enough with the reminiscences. The new year also marks a fresh start; it means setting new goals and stepping into the next year with a positive attitude.

This includes our professional lives as well. For those of you who want to become better recruiters in 2019, now it’s the time to start writing down your goals. We know, though, that new year’s resolutions can be intimidating, or unrealistic at times: “Quit bad habits.” “Travel the world.” “Lose those extra 10 pounds.” That’s why we’re starting you off with these five New Year’s resolutions for recruiters, along with smaller, tangible ideas, that will help you reach your professional goals:

New Year’s Resolutions for recruiters

1. Learn a new skill or hobby

Whether you want to cover a skills gap or simply expand your knowledge, learning something new can make the difference in your job. It doesn’t have to be a formal training or a totally new field of study. Pick something that you’ve always wanted to learn, ask a coworker to share some bits of expertise with you, or enroll in an online course.

Here are some ideas:

  • Take a basic coding course, if you’re usually hiring or plan to hire many tech employees. You’ll understand how to write better, buzzword-free job descriptions that give candidates a clear picture of the position.
  • Shadow colleagues from different departments. Next time you’re hiring a new employee for their team, you’ll know which candidates will be a good culture fit/add.
  • Refresh your labor legislation knowledge. With new regulations like GDPR, political changes like Brexit and social movements like #metoo that impact our lives, it’s important to ensure that you and your company are compliant.
  • Review and improve your company’s onboarding session. While your job technically ends with hiring, what happens after that is also important for your employer brand.

2. Save some money

Spreadsheets full of numbers, complex calculations and cost forecasting reviews are never fun. But expense reports are an integral part of HR. For example, if you want to buy a new ATS that’ll make your life easier, you have to first build a case to get your manager’s approval. Or, if you want to hire a junior recruiter to assist with administrative tasks, you need to calculate their salary range based on the value they’ll bring to the team.

Here are some ideas to reduce some of the pain associated with costs and will help you allocate budgets to your benefit:

  • First, calculate how much you’re spending on recruiting. Break down costs by category, like job boards, recruitment events and HR software. This will help you prepare and track your recruiting budget.
  • Cut – or reduce – unnecessary expenses. For example, work with agency recruiters only for specific, hard-to-fill roles or stop publishing job ads on sites that don’t bring you qualified applicants.
  • Set up a referral program. Getting referrals from your current employees on a regular basis can have a great impact on your recruiting budget – even if you offer a referral bonus. You’re saving from job advertising expenses and you’ll reduce turnover (and the costs that are tied to it) as referred employees tend to stay longer.
  • Invest in smart HR technology. We don’t recommend buying the most modern software just for the sake of it; it’s all about being strategic. If 2019 is the year that you want to double headcount, it makes sense to purchase a sourcing tool. This way, you’ll reach your goals faster and save money in the long run.

3. Be healthier

Bad recruiting habits tackle your career, without you even realizing it. These habits could be outdated methods to evaluate candidates (see personality tests) or long application forms and drawn-out hiring stages that make candidates lose interest. On the other hand, a positive candidate experience will make your company more attractive for job seekers and you, the recruiter, a more trustworthy professional.

Here are a few things you could try:

  • Apply for one of your open positions – as a test. What do you notice? Are there perhaps some questions that are not mandatory? Also, make sure to use your mobile to apply, too. Job seekers tend to look for new opportunities on their phone, so it’s important that your application form is optimized for mobile.
  • Redesign your careers page. Or give it a fresh look. An outdated careers page sends the wrong message to potential candidates. Think of ways to make it more appealing, like adding employee testimonials or pictures from your offices.
  • Introduce structured interviews. It may look like a lot of work, but once you put your questions in place, you will interview candidates faster and more objectively.
  • Revisit your job descriptions. If you’re using the same templates for too long, you probably need to re-write some of the job duties, the requirements, or even the “About us” section. Get rid of any buzzwords that may sound cool but don’t really describe the position, use gender-neutral language, and consider including the salary to increase transparency.

4. Nurture strong relationships

Toxic relationships don’t refer only to our personal lives; they can be work-related, as well. This year, try to build healthy relationships with everyone you interact with, from colleagues and candidates to hiring managers and other HR professionals. Relationships, though, require you to invest time; it’s not a one-time thing you can cross off your list.

Here are some ideas you can implement throughout the year:

  • Have regular informal meetings – such as on your lunch break – with team leaders. Your first meeting shouldn’t be when a new job opens. Instead, you should get to know each other and establish a solid, trusting relationship before you end up needing them in your work.
  • Book a “sourcing time” in your calendar. It could be an hour or two in your week when you’ll proactively look for potential hires online or reach out to passive candidates, or send a quick email to catch up with past applicants who might qualify for another role in the future.
  • Attend at least one local job fair every few months and host a career day at your offices. Not only you’ll get the chance to meet job seekers and see the world through their eyes, but you’ll also build your employer brand.
  • Set up a process for communicating promptly with candidates, even the ones you reject. Book some time in your schedule and respond or reach out to people who are in your hiring pipeline. If you have an ATS, simply double-check the settings to ensure that candidates get automated replies when necessary.

5. Exercise more

A mindset of continuous improvement is what separates a good recruiter from a great recruiter. Measure your successes and failures, experiment with different techniques and find your most effective ways of working. Starting this year, track the metrics that matter to you (e.g. email response rates, quality of hires and yield ratios.) These measurements will serve as your guide to determine which methods are working for you and where there’s more room for improvement.

Set tangible sub-goals like:

  • This year, I want to decrease time to hire from X days to Y, so I will advertise open roles in more channels including social media.
  • By Q3, I’d like to increase my email response rate by X%, so I will personalize my messages to passive candidates and test new subject lines.
  • I want to build more diverse teams, that’s why I will connect with local communities that support minorities and host career days specifically for under-represented candidates, such as women and people with disabilities.
  • I aim to improve the overall candidate experience, so I’ll design and distribute candidate experience surveys to get a better idea of what’s working and what could be improved in our hiring process.

Bonus goal: Enjoy your life to the fullest

And your job. You’ll have better results if you put your passion into your work. Take a moment to reflect on why you chose this field, in the first place. Stay positive and look for the best – in yourself and in others. Happy recruiting in 2019!

What’s your resolution for the new year? Share with us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

The holiday season and New Year go hand-in-hand for many people. If that’s the case for you, too, then check out our list of 5 holiday gifts for recruiters.

Looking for an all-in-one recruiting solution? Workable can improve candidate sourcing, interviewing and applicant tracking for a streamlined hiring process. Sign up for our 15-day free trial today.

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Christina Pavlou

Christina is a writer at Workable, previously a recruiter. She writes about diversity in the workplace and reports on the shape of things to come. She tweets @ChristinaPaulou.

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