As Baby Boomers continue to leave the work force in large numbers, many organizations are trying to figure out how to fill their shoes. And desks.

With so many positions being vacated, companies must compete for talent to fill the void, which means qualified candidates are gaining the upper hand when it comes to job search and recruitment. And yes, they’re taking advantage of it.

According to a 2015 Jobvite study:

  • 50% of employed job seekers see their current positions as temporary
  • 45% of workers will jump ship for a new job— even if they are happy in their current position
  • Employed job seekers fessed up to searching for new positions during their commute (38%), on the job (30%) and even in the bathroom (18%)
  • Money is still the number one factor in the decision to leave or accept a position

The reality is, you’re going to have to work harder than ever to find, hire, and hang on to your best people. In other words, it’s time to get serious about effective employee recruitment and retention. Here are a few ways to get started.

Re-evaluate your hiring processes

According to Career Builder, only 31 percent of employers have actually tried applying to one of their company’s open jobs to see what the process is like. It’s time to put on your job seeker hat and get rid of any painful, outdated, and inefficient hiring practices.

Are you dragging an admin candidate through 4 interviews? Taking way too long to move people through the process? Sitting around waiting for that hand-written thank you note before you make an offer? Of course you need to evaluate your applicants for certain qualities, but guess what? They’re evaluating you, too. If your hiring process doesn’t add up, they’ll scratch you off their lists.

Re-think who is and isn’t an acceptable candidate

There was a time when you had 500 applications coming in for every job and the luxury of picking and choosing your staff based on all kinds of details, whether they made sense or not. It’s time to evaluate the merit of those filtering mechanisms with the new candidate reality in mind. The truth is, they may be doing more harm than good.

Are you requiring an advanced degree for a position that really doesn’t need one? Are you tossing out resumes because of a single typo, even when the candidate’s native language isn’t English? Still afraid of jeans, tattoos, or purple hair? Get over it. This is the new normal.

It’s time to put the value on substance over appearance.

Depending on what industry you’re in, this could be an easy fix or a slow and incremental change. The point is, if you wait to start re-thinking your requirements, you will eventually find yourself with fewer candidate choices as more and more talented individuals opt out of traditional cultures and into less restrictive environments.

Re-write those job descriptions and postings

Very few dynamic individuals I know get super excited about seeing an extensive laundry list of tasks and a bunch of corporate jargon.

If you want someone to be enthusiastic about your position, write the description to get at the kind of person you want to hire, then follow up with an exciting job posting. Looking for an editor? Ask interested applicants to re-write the job listing. Looking for a salesperson? Ask them to sell you on why they should get a call back.

And don’t be afraid to talk money. The cat and mouse game has gone on long enough.

We’ve already confirmed this is still a huge motivator for job seekers. The Career Builder study only makes the case stronger, with 74% of survey respondents saying they expect to see salary information in the job posting, and 61% expecting to see information on total benefits.

Speaking of benefits…

Yes, money matters. But things like a great employee benefits plan, flexible work schedules, and generous paid time off can be the difference makers to an up and coming employee.

Today’s job seekers genuinely care about company values and culture. They want to work for an organization that values them as people and not just units of production. Approximately one-third of today’s applicants want to see something about work-at-home options and the company’s approach to work/life balance in the actual job listing. That’s huge. 

And, based on the number of job seekers who view their current positions as temporary, today’s talent also values new experiences and advanced career options. Build those things into your culture as well, and talk about them as early as possible. In the job listing, even.

If your future employees see exciting career options from the start, they’re more likely to look to you rather than someone else for that next big move.

Take a look at yourself

Want to position yourself to be an employer of choice? Pay close attention to your organization’s values, processes, and culture. Some questions to ask include:

  • Does leadership exemplify the core company values and vision?
  • Is your company attracting a talented and diverse candidate pool?
  • Are your current employees engaged and excited about working for you?
  • Do you offer career mentoring and professional development opportunities?
  • Are you empowering your team and giving them the tools they need to succeed?
  • Do you pay your staff what they’re worth and recognize them when they do great things?
  • Are you remembering to have some fun on a regular basis?

These are the kinds of things today’s employees are looking for. If you’re not there yet, it’s time to get started.

Lead by example and build an organization that attracts talent rather than sends it running. Hire for substance and cultural fit, and promote from within whenever possible. Your employees will benefit and so will you.

This is part two of a series on talent acquisition and retention. For more on this topic, read Having Difficulty Recruiting and Retaining Talent? Here's Why. Subscribe to this blog for more on a variety of HR focused topics.

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