Recruiters, owners, hiring managers — how often have you tried to explain away an unsuccessful hire with “We had to fill the opening and we just didn’t have enough good applicants?”
If the answer is, “More than once!” you owe it to yourself and your company to get ahead of your hiring curve and build an inventory of qualified applicants to turn to when openings occur. If your application process is designed to gather the right information in the first place and then allows you to match the information to a suddenly-open position, you will seldom find it necessary to make a second-rate hire just to fill a seat in your organization.
What could you do to recruit applicants?
Hint: a stack of several hundred paper applications will not get you there regardless of how many good candidates are buried within. To accurately and quickly identify potentially great hires, you will need a system that can store the relevant information in a searchable database and identify potential matches between jobs and candidates in seconds. Whether the process begins with a paper application and is entered into a database, or the applicant enters their own information online or onsite, effective searchability is the key. Your chosen system should allow you to seamlessly integrate assessment information into the whole. Then, your valuable time can be spent in identifying, qualifying and contacting qualified candidates and convincing them your job is the right one for them!
Obviously, it will not help you much if you discover most of your qualified applicants are no longer in the market for a job. Your system must include an automated update feature, so you create a pool of candidates who are actually looking for a new job, or at least open to the possibility when you have one that is suitable.
A system that allows you to match a new applicant with your entire set of jobs is a great benefit in this process. You may not have an opening for a widget twister at the moment, but it is a job with high turnover. If you have a candidate who is a great match for the job, you may be able to keep their interest until it opens. You may be able to provide a temporary assignment until the inevitable opening occurs.
Build an inventory of candidates based on good and searchable information and you will find yourself ahead of the hiring curve, consistently making better hires — and apologizing a lot less!