A smart recruitment strategy is vital to attracting — and retaining — the best employees.

Recruitment is the soul of every business larger than its founding members — which is to say, every business that has ever done anything worth mentioning. Bill Gates may have been the individual visionary behind Windows, but it was likely his ability to find and attract the world's best talent that let Microsoft truly take over the computing world. The Microsoft recruitment process most likely provided candidates with an understanding that coming on board would mean a better overall life and career. Research suggests this type of success is anything but a fluke.

According to the ADP Research Institute® (ADP RI) report, Fixing the Talent Management Disconnect: Employer Perception vs. Employee Reality in the U.S. Midsized Market, "Nearly half of employees are 'open' if the right opportunity were to pop up — even if they're not actively looking for jobs." That's twice the number of employees that employers predict.

The Oldest Strategies Are Often the Worst

Recruitment is an art as old as business itself, but it turns out that some of the best practices, especially those developed over the past decade, could be wasting precious resources on ineffective ad placement. ADP RI reports that social media is a powerful platform for reaching potential candidates, but only if those candidates have already decided to look for a new job. "Only 29% of employees say seeing job opportunities on social media makes them think about looking for a new job," reports ADP RI. That can be a problem, since many of the best hires are likely working happily at a competitor.

Breaking through to these vital candidates may take extremely accurate targeting; and a break from conventional wisdom that says base salary is most important. ADP RI found that about half of employees "would consider an opportunity that matched their current salary or even paid less."

A Recruitment Process That Actually Works

First and foremost, pay is still a major factor. "All other job factors remaining equal, the average employee would be enticed to leave with a pay increase of 12.5%," reports ADP RI. It's not as important as many HR experts have assumed, but it is still one of the pillars of a strong pitch.

"Employees highly value the work itself and the work hours. These two factors can keep them in their current position – or attract them to a new job that has better work and hours," reports ADP RI. Thankfully, this does seem to be something that can make an ad or pitch stand out from the crowd.

This focus on what employees actually want has to permeate the entire recruitment process, even after an employee has already expressed some interest in the position. "Employers know work hours are important to employees, but they think the time to discuss hours is during onboarding," notes ADP RI. "In fact, work hours may be among the most important issues for employers to bring up during an interview."

Focus on Keeping the People You Have

The most efficient hire is one you've already made. To avoid the loss of good employees, note what ADP RI says are some of the most common complaints from employees who choose to leave their job for a new one. Beyond the above-stated focus on hours (27 percent) and the experience of work (26 percent), it was poor direct manager relationships (36 percent) that topped the list, followed by a weak organizational culture (26 percent).

With a focus now on these aspects within the organization, the final step is to make sure that internal job postings are actively pitched to current employees. Hiring from within might seem like a push in terms of overall staffing, but allowing employees to move up (or even sideways) within the organization can stop them from seeking an opportunity elsewhere. According to MRINetwork, more than 80 percent of the people actually doing the recruiting believe the market is driven by candidates, not employers.

ADP RI reminds HR leaders that rival recruiters are always just a click away, and that "the ease with which employees can learn about outside opportunities while at the same time puzzling over how to advance where they are illustrates how social media can be a recruiting advantage — but a retention challenge." The key is to always be on the right side of that employee evaluation, which thanks to modern research we now know is ongoing every minute of every day.

Want to learn more? Download the ADP report: Are you a people-centric organization? Take the Talent Self-Assessment

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Tags: Recruiting retention