In today’s competitive recruiting environment, attracting and hiring the right candidates has never been more important: the top talent that fits with your organization’s culture and will stay with your organization long term. Your recruiting strategies can make the difference between success and retention versus high employee turnover.

Finding the right employees — the ones who fit with your team and are most likely to stay with your organization long term — has never been more important. As the way we do work continues to evolve, so too do our recruitment strategies. Sure, there are tried and true strategies and must-dos, but today’s most successful recruiters are always one step ahead of the recruitment trends and ready to capture the interest of top talent.

As the world adjusts to life post-pandemic, candidate expectations are much different today than they were two, five, ten years ago. The “Great Resignation” of 2020–2021 saw a mass employee exodus — about 40% of the workforce — and left recruiters wondering what they could do to attract this talent.

Now, recruiters are moving into a new period of time: one many are calling the “Great Rehire”. While this is an exciting opportunity for recruiters, it’s essential you’re getting it right and making the best possible hires to take advantage of this new chapter. This means making quality hires who will stay with your company, add to the corporate culture, and help you hit your growth targets.

The importance of hiring with retention in mind

A big mistake recruiters make is simply looking to fill a position as quickly as they can without considering the likelihood of that hire using the position as a launch-point to another opportunity with another company. When a vacancy is looming over your days, it can be tempting to focus solely on getting it filled. But, retention should always be at the forefront of every recruiter’s mind.

Employee turnover costs your organization

When companies have high attrition rates, the cost to the organization is enormous. The recruitment costs alone can account for as much as 150% of the role’s annual salary depending on seniority, experience, and technical skill. And that’s just the dollar cost. There are the additional but less tangible costs to your culture, employee satisfaction, and your company’s reputation as an employer.

Loyal employees reduce recruitment expenses

With the average cost of hiring a new employee ranging anywhere from USD$4,000 to USD$7,645 and beyond, it’s no surprise that hiring for loyalty and retention is at the top of any HR department’s agenda.

The benefits of a loyal employee extend far beyond the costs of recruiting their replacement. A loyal employee also brings:

  • Efficiency – the longer someone is in their role, the more efficient they become at tasks
  • Progression – long-serving employees tend to build their careers within a company, bringing you home-grown talent
  • Performance – loyal employees care about the growth of the company
  • Culture – loyal employees help to maintain a positive workplace culture.

How to hire for loyalty

The benefits are clear, but hiring for loyalty is easier said than done — with even your most promising long-term staff unexpectedly handing in their notice. The problem is that many companies focus on only one aspect of recruiting for loyalty when, in fact, they should be focusing on three.

1) Attraction

First, you need to attract loyal candidates to your vacancy by encouraging them to apply. Do this by:

  • Building an employer brand through recommendations, a dedicated careers webpage, and social media — somewhere that people aspire to work
  • Offering a competitive salary – it’s not the biggest driver of employee satisfaction, but it’s a driver nonetheless
  • Offering worthwhile benefits – sure, artificial grass and an indoor slide are fun, but top employee perks such as flexible working, free childcare, and remote working are better long term
  • Making the interview process as flexible as you can – it’s your first impression after all.

2) Selection

Once you’ve attracted candidates to apply to your position, next, you need to decide which of those candidates will be most loyal, while still fulfilling the requirements of the role.

Achieve this by:

  • Looking beyond qualifications – while skills matching is important, you also want to see qualities such as a willingness to learn, a passion for performance, and an ability to get on with people
  • Asking candidates for the reasons behind leaving previous positions – previous job hopping isn’t necessarily a bad sign. It might be that there wasn’t a career for life for them there
  • Assessing cultural fit – we all know how difficult it is to stay loyal when you really don’t fit in
  • Requesting employee referrals – current employees will refer family and friends because they see them fitting in, doing well, and staying.

3) Retention

Finally, once you’ve attracted and hired your employee, you then need to make them want to stay. Demonstrate the company’s loyalty and trustworthiness by:

  • Keeping salaries competitive – conduct regular market reviews
  • Delivering the benefits promised – if you said you offered free breakfast on a Friday, offer free breakfast on a Friday
  • Using employee engagement techniques to empower them to perform, learn, and progress — and rewarding them when they do 
  • Ensuring that everyone has the tools to do their job and a voice to contribute to the company’s strategy.

Read on to learn how you can attract the right candidates, wow them throughout the interview and hiring process, and keep them on board for longer.

Attracting the right candidates

One of the most critical pieces of the recruitment puzzle is getting the right candidates to apply in the first place. It can be difficult to find the right candidates with the education, experience, skills, and personality traits that match both the role for which you are hiring and the organizational culture as a whole.

There is no doubt that you will hear from candidates who are not a good fit, no matter how intentional your recruiting process is.

1) Write killer job descriptions

One of the best ways to uncover your ideal candidates is to write a fantastic job description that accurately describes the role and the opportunity within your organization. To write that job description, you must profile the role. 

That is, you need to clearly define and document the role: responsibilities and deliverables, expected output and key performance indicators, performance criteria, authority, and value-added activities. 

This will enable the new employee to understand what is expected from them, and give managers a way to measure success in the role, and to recognize high or low performance.

The most effective job profiles define what the employee should know, what they can do, and what targets will be used to track their outcomes. A good job profile will:

Define expectations: Employers who don’t have a job profile will often introduce a new employee into a team, and leave the team to introduce responsibilities and offer training. This often results in the new employee doing too little, or taking on more responsibilities than they should — which limits effectiveness over time.

New employees cannot know what is expected from them, even if they have done a similar role. A job profile gives them relevant and accurate information regarding their performance and deliverables, with no room for confusion.

Measure performance: A good job profile can eventually become a framework for job evaluation and, therefore, pay structures. Integrating job profiles into the performance management process allows you and the employee to see job progress and performance. 

For example, by listing expected tasks and defining key performance indicators, you can easily track if the employee is successful in their role. This makes it easy to set tangible targets against which new employees can be measured — which is especially useful for short-term contracts before a permanent contract is issued and for year-end performance review.

2) Market your culture

Top talent wants to work at the best workplaces. Having a great company culture is more than just a key aspect of recruitment; it’s one of the best ways of retaining employees. In today’s market, candidates have high expectations of their workplace.

To hire the best talent, you must promote your company culture. You can do this by using:

Social media: Social media is the perfect place to show off your company culture, and there are infinite ways to do it. You can post photos and videos of your company’s events, share employee stories, or even have your employees take over Instagram for a week. Showcasing your corporate culture gives candidates a glimpse into who you are as a brand and you the chance to shine the spotlight on your existing employees.

Your company website: When a candidate is looking for information about your company, where’s the first place they’ll look? Your website. Communicate your company vision, mission, and values here and tell potential employees how you will nurture their learning and development. You can include testimonials from recent hires and veteran employees for validation.

Job postings: Employment listings on your company careers page or a third-party site are likely the first thing a potential candidate will see. Use these listings as a chance to promote how great your company is and tell employees why they want to work for you.

3) Selecting contractors vs. in-house

When hiring for a particular role, ask yourself: Do I need an in-house employee or a contractor for this job? In some cases, you might choose to hire an independent contractor.

Independent contractors are a versatile and flexible workforce, brought into organizations for both short- and long-term projects. While independent contractors are largely seen as a readily available source of highly skilled labor, many organizations also see them as a risk, which impacts decision-making a great deal.

Independent contractors or freelancers are fast, efficient, and cost-effective. They aren’t typically entitled to the same benefits as regular employees, such as healthcare or paid leave. They also provide their own laptops, software or office space. Freelancers are flexible and usually hired on a project basis to get a job done with minimal supervision. (Although keep in mind that contractors or freelancers might be working with many clients at any given time.)

Hiring independent contractors or freelancers can benefit your organization in a lot of ways.

Flexibility – Independent contractors can be hired quickly and brought in on a needs basis to fill flexible and versatile roles. It’s a very low-cost way to complete short- and mid-term projects and goals, and gives you the freedom to bring skills into your organization without creating permanent roles or positions. This increases your organization’s agility because you can quickly adapt and meet needs by hiring someone from an external talent pool.

Reduced training costs – Bringing an independent contractor into your organization means hiring someone who is ready for your role or project there and then. You won’t have to adapt internal structure, offer training, or provide coaching to get them up to speed because you’re hiring someone who’s already there.

Reduced office costs – Independent contractors work remotely, in-office, and in flex situations and tend to bring their own equipment, supply their own tools and software, and aren’t covered by office benefits and perks. The result is a worker who operates with significantly lower costs, although this may be offset by a higher hourly wage.

Diverse experience – Freelance workers typically operate at high volume, taking on very diverse roles in organizations of all sizes. The end result is very flexible employees who are able to leverage their diverse experience for your benefit.

While hiring independent contractors offers a great deal in terms of pros, there are cons as well.

Complex office integration – Most organizations work to separate independent contractors in terms of software, tooling, and systems. This is especially true when contractors bring their own equipment. However, this can result in isolation. You could hire an excellent UX designer to support your design teams, but if that person isn’t in the same system as everyone else, you won’t use them to their full potential. If you do integrate independent contractors, ensure you treat them like employees rather than outsiders so that they can contribute to their fullest.

Difficult to invest in – Full employees give you opportunities to invest in their development and future, because it has a high chance of benefiting your organization. This means that independent contractors will limit your ability to invest in leadership development, employee skills, and training because that person can simply take those skills elsewhere at any time.

Short-term risk — Full-time employees are more likely to remain with a single company for years on account of salary and benefits. They’re typically more costly, because in exchange for their time, a company must provide support such as hardware, software, stipends, office space, government contributions, and paid leave. However, full-time employees are usually only employed by one company at a time and can be trained to fill a higher position, eventually landing in management.

The interview and job offer process

Once you have attracted top talent, it’s important you continue to deliver a great experience while also capturing the information you need to make the best possible hiring decisions. The interview and subsequent job offer process can make or break a candidate’s experience and serve as a precursor to whether an employee will stay with your company long term.

During the interview process, there are things you will want to consider carefully. Are you hiring for culture or talent or for skill and/or experience? Depending on the nature of the position, such as the department or the work environment (hybrid, in-office, remote), you will need to tweak your approach.

Hiring for culture fit vs. skill

The question of whether to hire for skill, education, and experience or for cultural fit is one that is raised often in recruiting. The biggest proponents of cultural fit hiring will say “You can teach a skill but you can’t teach fit”, and this is often true. But, you need to look at the full picture and understand the implications of hiring for either.

Hiring for culture or talent

Hiring for culture or talent means that you’re hiring a person whose personality and values are aligned with those of your corporate culture. A technology start-up might look for eager, driven, entrepreneurial employees who like to work hard and have fun — a candidate who has a great sense of humor and isn’t afraid of a challenge.

When hiring for culture, you’re hiring based on “soft skills”. These are skills that, though attained and honed over years of experience, are not necessarily “learnable”; interpersonal skills like being easygoing and jovial or quiet and serious.

Talented people display the behaviors and competencies that contribute to learning skills, to acting in ways that benefit teamwork and productivity, and to continuing to learn. Your hires might not have the exact skills to meet your needs in the short term but they will learn them over time. For some companies, this adaptability and commitment to learning gives both the individual and the team the opportunity to grow.

Hiring for skill or experience

Many modern HR and employee assessments define skills as hard skills, which are learnable and trainable technical skills. Hard skills are undeniably valuable in any organization: people need to be able to handle the software and tasks associated with their jobs and to do so in a timely and high-quality fashion. When you hire for skill, you’re hiring an individual who can immediately step into the role and begin producing quality work.

Chances are, you will need to pay a highly skilled person a higher salary than that of a lower-skilled individual. Further, if the person is highly skilled but has limited interest in learning more or is a poor cultural fit with your organization, it can stifle team growth and even lead to dissatisfaction and cultural issues.

So, how do you choose what to hire for?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. At the end of the day, it’s likely that a very skilled person is also a very talented person, who has committed considerable time, dedication, and learning to their skillset. A young, trainable person with a lot of talent may still have a lot to learn compared to a more senior person.

But, hiring a person with talent and a behavioral profile that meets your company’s needs will allow you to steer that person in a way that best benefits the organization, guiding their growth to help them be and do more with what they have, and to expand beyond the boundaries of where simply excelling in the technical application of their field would take them.

Look at the roles you’re hiring for and ask yourself: Do I need someone who can immediately begin producing work or do I have time to develop a new hire? The answer will likely differ based on the role, and you can make the best decision for each role by carefully assessing your needs.

Interview questions

Interviews can be unnecessarily long. To ensure you don’t waste your time (as well as your candidates’), try to narrow down your hiring questions to allow for more discussion. Here are three simple hiring questions that will go a long way to helping you gauge culture fit and get to the core of what your candidate is all about.

1) Why did you decide to become a [position]?

This question digs into your candidate’s motivations. Their answers will give you insight into what drives them and whether they will fit in with your high-achieving team. Does your company need someone who is driven by their peers, or a self-starter? Do you want someone who loves their role and learning new skills related to their job, or someone who values stability and monetary reward?

Learning why a marketer got into marketing, or a manager into management, can show you how they might interact with their colleagues and position. If someone became a digital marketer because they enjoy writing, that would indicate high-quality writing skills. If someone applied for a leadership position because they value organization and teamwork, it’s a good sign that they will fit in with, and optimize, a collaborative team.

2) Why do you want to work with our company?

This question provides insight into what the candidate knows about your brand and company in particular. You want to hire people who want to work with your brand rather than simply earn a paycheck. If they’re well researched and understand your company culture, brand vision, and overall mission, it’s a good sign they’ll probably do well with your company.

Look for answers that demonstrate why they want to work with [your brand], not just why they want to work.

3) What’s your ideal work environment?

This is a more general question that will give you insight into how your candidate prefers to work (alone, surrounded by mentors, something else) and whether they’ll be a good fit with the working environment you can provide. They might mention working hours, equipment, availability of mentors, company hierarchy, and project management tools. Take note of how many of their “ideals” align with the work environment your teams already thrive in.

These three questions are by no means an exhaustive list of everything you should ask to gauge culture fit. However, they provide a good starting place if you’re in the early hiring stages or only have time to ask a few questions per candidate.

How to hire remote workers

Remote work has become increasingly popular in recent years and it’s no surprise why. A multitude of benefits come to mind when preparing to hire remote employees: working with people around the world, not having to commute, finding a balance between work and travel, and not having to pay for an office or facilities. The list goes on.

If companies want a great reputation for hiring remote employees, they need to read reviews and be aware of how they’re perceived online. If they do, applicants will be reassured they’re applying for a well-respected job.

This includes updating your About or Careers sections with information specifically designed for remote workers. When describing your company, be sure to:

  • Describe your way of working. Describe what the job entails and what employees’ obligations will be. Explain the level of flexibility you offer, paid and unpaid vacations, set hours, and so on.
  • Include employee testimonials. Ask your current remote employees to tell their story: what made them choose a remote job, and why they have stayed at your company.
  • Showcase in-person meetings. Share photos or videos from company events or retreats. Face-to-face contact matters: it builds a feeling of community and lets remote employees know they are valued and not forgotten.
  • Present the values that define your culture. Every company wants to hire and work with people who share the same values. Be open about what you’re looking for in employees and what kind of qualities are most important to your team.

All managers should be particular about what they ask potential employees during the interview process. This is crucial when beginning to build trust with remote workers. Managers should be prepared to notice any red flags during phone interviews when screening potential employees.

For most in-house positions, managers can ask potential employees to demonstrate their skills and abilities through mini assignments in person. For remote workers, their skills can be put to the test through online assignments. It is very common for hiring managers to ask their applicants to provide a portfolio of their work experience.

Managers should use an onboarding checklist to ensure their hiring process is streamlined and each applicant has the resources they need. Don’t be afraid to ask the applicants to expand on certain company core values. A question as simple as this can help weed out the weaker applicants.

It is imperative to set up phone or video call interviews with managers. Managers hiring remote employees for the first time should invite the candidate to visit the main office for a week or two. This will help both parties put a face to the voice or email when they begin to work with one another.

Create expectations from the very beginning, for both the employee and the employer so that remote employees know what is required of them. Managers are encouraged to mandate the expected workload on any given day.

Many remote employees work from home due to family obligations. Be clear about how many hours you expect them to work as a minimum per week. Managers should also be interested enough to ask the remote-working applicants what their environment will look like and all applicants about their time management and task management skills, and how they plan to handle or avoid distractions.

How important is remote working or flexible working arrangements today? According to Microsoft, 73% of employees want flexible work options to remain in place and 83% prefer a hybrid environment.

Hiring for hybrid work environments

Alongside the rise in remote working is the rise in hybrid working. Hybrid work environments are split between in-office and remote, and might include shared workspaces and other non-traditional work environments. Hybrid working marries traditional workspaces with remote work to support employees.

Hybrid work environments can look very different depending on the organization. Some companies have certain departments that work remotely or have a mix of employees who are all remote or all in-office. There may also be a split of X number of days spent in-office versus Y number of days worked at home or from another remote location.

The hybrid work environment is an attractive recruiting tool for companies looking for top talent. If hybrid work is an option for your potential candidates, be sure to communicate expectations clearly and detail any information about how hybrid works for your company.

Prioritize communication throughout

Communication is critical at every point in the recruitment process, and should be carefully considered in everything from your job profile and advertisement to how you keep candidates abreast of the stage you’re at.

By clearly communicating your company culture, the details of the role, and the expectations for the successful candidate, your potential hire will be well informed before they sign their contract. Foster happy hires, who are more likely to stick around and be successful.

Long-term management and recruitment strategies for retention

Retention is more than just a metric for HR departments to measure. Retention is integral to the overall success of your company, so you should always hire with retention in mind. Here are some ways to keep your retention rates high (as well as how to implement them).

1) Put people where they’ll be successful

Any role requires different skills, personality traits, and behaviors to be done well, so  outline the skills and personality traits that typically make someone successful in a role. This is where job match patterns come in as a useful tool for recruiters to define which behaviors contribute to job success, and which candidates make the best match.

Integrating job match tools into the recruitment process means establishing a framework to measure what success looks like in roles, where it comes from, and why.

Assess job requirements

Most assessment centers will offer a basic library of job requirements based on standards for an industry or role. They should then further define these job match patterns to meet the specific needs and requirements of your organization. This typically means using tools such as performance analysis, role interviewing, and role assessment to determine what contributes.

In most cases, an assessment center will consider factors such as:

  • Existing benchmarks and profiles based on industry standards
  • Performance data from your organization highlighting which persons excel
  • Interviews and assessments to determine which factors contribute to role success
  • Existing job profiles.

Job match profiles tend to be divided into three categories: organizational match (attitude and behavior), skills match (technical skills, degrees, etc.), and job match (personality, cognitive ability, and personal interests). Each of these will greatly affect an individual’s performance as well as their ability to fit into a role or team, which is why you should restructure job match based on individual teams.

Test candidates for job match

Once you’ve created a job match profile for a role or a specific position, you can hire candidates accordingly, using tools such as structured interviewing, test assignments, and a range of cognitive, competency, or behavioral assignments depending on the role and the traits you’re looking for.

You should work with an assessment company to determine which assessments you should be using and why. In most cases, you want a small series of assessments to give the most complete picture of the traits and behaviors you’re looking for, so assessments must often be tailored to the role. You can’t ask a candidate to complete assessment after assessment, so you should choose only the solutions that identify the most relevant information.

You can then use this data to connect candidates’ qualities to those of your most successful employees, rank the candidates based on likelihood of strong performance, and match them to the profile you’ve created.

Validate results

Job match patterns are valuable because they primarily exist to help you find candidates with attributes and behaviors matching those of your most successful employees. However, keep in mind that job needs change over time, and you may have overlooked personality traits or influencing factors for job success. Therefore, it’s crucial to continue validating the success of your job match profiles with continued performance review and updates. If candidates hired through job match programs don’t perform as expected, the job profile must be adjusted and improved so future candidates can meet those expectations.

Profiles Asia Pacific can help you assess candidates and current employees through a robust library of assessments to determine where your team members will be most successful.

2) Establish employer brand

An employer brand is not only an effective way to attract talent but also to retain your employees long term. Employer branding is not much different than consumer branding: it communicates what your company is all about and makes your culture attractive to potential employees.

To establish a compelling employer brand, you must:

1) Identify what is important to your ideal employees.

2) Prepare your company story and tell it in a way that draws people in.

3) Share your employer brand publicly through whatever platforms make sense for you (social media, website, etc.)

4) Make interactions with your company positive by delivering excellent experiences during the hiring process.

5) Be real and authentic.

6) Be consistent with your marketing brand.

7) Monitor your employer brand and respond to comments and feedback in a timely and professional manner.

3) Reward and recognition programs

Implementing reward and recognition programs is an excellent way to improve employee morale and boost retention. In fact, while this was once a nice-to-have, reward and recognition programs have become a requirement for organizations that want better retention, productivity, and satisfaction rates.

Reward and recognition programs can also play a role in your recruitment, as a proverbial carrot for jobseekers. You can include information about the programs in your About Us section of your website and in job ads, and even leverage these programs to create content for your employer brand, such as highlighting an employee or team on your social media platforms.

Most recognition programs focus on tenure, but you can expand your recognition to include things like Rookie of the Year and reward employees for effort rather than simply results.

4) Invest in your people

One of the best ways to improve your retention rates and to attract fresh talent to your company is to commit to investing in your people. Employees want to work for companies that will take a special interest in their development and growth. With this in mind, learning and development programs should be an integral part of your overall recruitment and retention strategy.

Wrapping up — Utilize these recruitment strategies to hire top talent to take your organization to the next level

Some elements of recruitment will never change. You will always want to attract top talent and retain great employees long term. But, as the way we do business globally continues to evolve, thanks to new technologies and ever-changing market needs, so too will your recruitment strategies. 

Profiles Asia Pacific is a leader in the human resources and recruitment space, offering the best in talent management solutions. Get in touch today to learn how Profiles Asia Pacific can help you improve your recruitment strategy, boost retention, and build a stronger workforce.

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick