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Six Next-Gen Recruiting Strategies Every HR Manager Should Use

Are your hiring practices stuck in the 20th century?

Do you find yourself circulating your job announcements internally and posting advertisements to newspapers and websites?

Are you still poring over resumes and cover letters for clues about whether an employee will be a good fit?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it may be time for an overhaul in the way you recruit employees. Here are six powerful new tools to ensure your recruiting strategies keep your company at the forefront of attracting and retaining top talent.

Job Assessment

Hiring new employees starts long before you start crafting that job advertisement. It begins with assessing your workforce and their core competencies. Performance management is now a key part of the job for many HR professionals. As companies have become “flattened” with fewer hierarchies, there are also fewer employees in management roles.

This corporate restructuring creates an opportunity for HR to step in with fresh ideas about performance assessment. The days of an annual performance review should be long gone. In their place is a more ongoing, team-based approach favoring multiple raters. The performance evaluation process should include two-way communication, coaching and 360 degree feedback.

In addition to looking at how employees complete tasks, HR professionals are now valuing other skills that show how the employee functions on the job. This means looking at things like:

  • communication;
  • cross-training;
  • collaboration; and
  • conflict management.

When you take these skills into account with ongoing assessment, you can ensure that your workforce is aligned with the company's mission statements stated in the company's business plan. This will help you visualize what kind of employee would add maximum value to the team.

Big Data

The trend toward using more data to make decisions is impacting Human Resources in a major way.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, big data is “an all-encompassing term for any collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand data management tools or traditional data processing applications.”

In their book Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, authors Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier refine the definition of big data to include the insights which can be derived from it. Big data is “[t]he ability of society to harness information in novel ways to produce useful insights,” which includes examining data on a large scale rather than on a smaller one in order to “extract new insights or create new forms of value.”

Big data is not the blind trust of numbers over human factors, nor is it meant to turn HR professionals into robots. In other words, it will not remove the “human” from Human Resources. For HR professionals, big data can be analyzed to discover trends and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions. The emphasis is on detecting patterns and relationships that are not able to be seen by simply looking at a person's job performance, resume and interview.

The best way to think of big data analysis is that it is another tool that can help you find relevant data and analyze its implications on your recruitment strategies. Underlying this approach is the premise that combining data from multiple sources leads to better decisions. This gives HR the opportunity to be more strategic about acquiring new employees.

Social Media Profiles

To use data analytics to your advantage, go outside the traditional ways of evaluating candidates. Social media profiles give employers more access to the lives and habits of people than ever before.

There is a wealth of data available on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, resume and application databases, and other sources. There are software applications which analyze candidates for you by referencing these sources.

Finding the best talent through data is an exciting prospect. Data can be used to assist in the job assessment process discussed above, particularly in terms of collecting data about performance indicators from the best employees. Using this information, human resources can create a template of the ideal candidate and then seek people who meet the criteria.

Part of the process is discovering whether the criteria your organization uses to determine a person's qualifications truly correlates with success. Big data can assist HR in finding prospective employees who can do the job well and fit in well with your existing employees. These new insights will also help HR avoid making a hire that is clearly wrong for the organization. Hiring someone who does not work out has significant costs for businesses.

According to a CareerBuilder survey of over 6,000 HR professionals, 27 percent of employers said that a bad hire cost them more than $50,000. What if you could help your organization not only avoid the bad hire, but find the person who will add the most value? The following case studies show how data analysis is revolutionizing human resources.

Josh Bersin of Bersin & Associates had a client in the financial services industry. The company hired people who went to top universities and had good grades. They believed academic achievement was predictive of great performance. As a result, their recruitment, retention and promotion tactics relied heavily on academics.

However, a statistical analysis of sales productivity and turnover revealed that there was little correlation between top sales performance and GPA and education. The factors that mattered most in performance were experience in sales of expensive items, success in prior jobs, and ability to work in unstructured conditions. The study encouraged the company to implement these factors into its recruiting and retention processes. The company grew by $4 million in the next fiscal period—a dramatic turnaround they attribute to data analysis. What didn't matter was the employees' academic performance, what school they attended, and the quality of their references.

Walgreens is a drug store that is rapidly expanding across the United States. Before hiring Cornerstone, a data analysis firm, Walgreens did not have uniform training methods throughout the company. Cornerstone helped the company develop Walgreens University, which is both a physical location and an online environment that provides to-the-minute training of employees.

Walgreens also needed help identifying their skills and people needs. They now use big data to teach Walgreens managers how to create custom performance reviews. The process includes 360-degree performance reviews. The reviews enable HR to identify competency and skill gaps and send employees for training at Walgreens University to develop the skills that will help the company and enrich the employee. By promoting more data-driven behaviors, Walgreens' HR professionals are able to find employees who can grow with the company.


One way HR can make better decisions is by tapping into the wisdom of the crowd. Most companies already use some form of crowdsourcing. The concept behind crowdsourcing is that by tapping into the wisdom of a broad group of people in a structured way, businesses will be better at problem solving.

Crowdsourcing involves asking a community of people for funds, ideas, opinions and content and letting their responses guide your business decisions. Crowdsourcing has been a great tool for things like product research and development, but it can also help HR recruit top talent.

  • Managing Company Reputation – Recruiting in the 21st century is no longer a one-way street where talent tries to convince a company to hire them. Now it is a two-way street with companies focusing on selling themselves as the right fit for prospective employees. Sites like and are now essential for attracting the best and brightest talent. These sites use crowdsourcing to give an accurate, on-the-ground view of what it is like to work at your company. The best HR professionals actively build and manage their company's reputation on these sites.
  • Talent Searches – Rather than posting advertisements in newspapers, HR professionals should use new recruitment techniques like gamification, social media, and mobile recruiting. Mobile recruiting is all about making your job opportunities and company attributes easily absorbed by mobile device users. A Deloitte survey revealed that over 90 percent of people check their mobile phones within one hour of waking up. Since people rely so heavily on mobile devices, HR needs to ensure that it is thinking mobile.
  • Interviews – Crowdsourcing can be used during the interview phase to give a more 360-degree view of how a candidate “fits” within your organization. This involves the use of group interviews, where information is exchanged. It also involves crowdsourcing feedback by co-workers, management and others about prospective candidates.
  • Crowdsourcing non-traditional labor – The trend toward hiring micro-workers rather than permanent employees is here to stay. Many companies are hiring workers for short-term projects. Finding and contracting these workers is easiest when using crowdsourcing to broadcast your company's needs on a mobile platform.

Social Recruiting

Social recruiting is an important part of the recruiting process and begins with LinkedIn which is a great way to find candidates with specific qualifications. There are other ways to leverage social media to your advantage.

  • Cast a Wide Net to Build Your Reputation and Talent Pool – You may be skeptical of casting broad nationwide searches on social media, but the results may surprise you. The more you broadcast your company's brand and values on social media, the stronger impression you will create with prospective recruits. This, in turn, inspires greater response to job advertisements. When you use social media to manage the company's brand, you are quietly building a talent pool.
  • Target Your Job Advertisements – To stay on the cutting edge of social recruiting, HR managers must ensure their advertisements are targeted. When you have a specific job opening, you can use hashtags on Twitter and Facebook to target active job seekers. Many job seekers also congregate on industry-specific message boards. Accessing these boards with your job advertisements means marketing directly to the people you want to recruit.
  • Use Social Networks – Social recruiting is a strong tool for HR because social networking is based on social recommendations. According to research, people are more likely to trust recommendations from personal acquaintances or opinions posted online. This is why brands have shifted more of their efforts into non-traditional forms of advertising, relying on word-of-mouth recommendations through social media.
  • Tap Your Workers' Social Networks – HR professionals should do the same when recruiting. Social media recruiting extends the reach of your company to people that your employees may already know. Using current employees to tap into bigger networks can give you access to candidates who are not looking for a job (and thus not seeing your targeted ads) but who may be the right fit for a position in your company. Moreover, when candidates are recruited by someone they already know, they are more likely to trust your company and understand its values. There is even a secondary benefit of your current workforce being strengthened by working with people they already know and like, which is great for retention rates.

Job on Demand

A natural extension of micro-employees is the concept of “job on demand.” There are numerous websites that exist to help you find workers to complete discrete tasks. You can outsource some tasks through Upwork, which has a database of highly skilled and motivated people who are looking for work. These freelancers add great value to your company.

Job on demand is good for workers who are building non-traditional careers. PeoplePerHour, another online platform for freelance work, says their numbers indicate that half the workforce could be freelancing by 2020. Your recruitment efforts should include building a good team of freelancers from anywhere in the world who can complete tasks on deadline. Using a job on demand website such as PeoplePerHour or Upwork protects the rights of both parties by handling payment processes, and you may use a non-disclosure agreement for your independent contractors.

Hire Great Managers

To have great employees, you need great managers. Research by Enkata shows that hiring great managers is the best way for employers to increase workforce performance. After you hire qualified workers, you need to transform them into productive and engaged employees. The most cutting edge HR professionals play an active role in this process by hiring managers who have great people skills, and by giving them feedback about how they are perceived by their employees.

Google is a pioneer in managing their managers.

Laszlo Bock, Google’s VP of HR, decided to make major changes to Google's performance evaluations after he realized that the company's talent was not living up to its potential at work. The problem was not a lack of talent or skill, since Google is consistently able to attract top talent. Instead, the company realized that its managers were failing to develop and motivate the employees, preventing them from being as productive as they needed to be.

Google solved this problem by creating an environment of trust where employees anonymously evaluate their managers twice a year. Google calls this an “upward feedback survey.” Bock says the company collects data for every manager in the company on anywhere between 12 and 18 different factors. “We then share that with the manager, and we track improvement across the whole company. Over the last three years, we’ve significantly improved the quality of people management at Google, measured by how happy people are with their managers,” said Bock.

Google ranks managers on factors such as:

  • whether the manager gives employees clear goals;
  • whether the manager shares information;
  • whether the manager treats employees with respect; and
  • whether the manager treats the entire team equally.

By looking at these qualities in management, Google has found that they turn out to be extremely important in creating employees who “feel excited and happy and wanting to go the extra mile for you.”

You can use Google's methods to make your management team stronger by focusing on the following goals:

  • Promote career development – Rather than focusing only on what employees are doing wrong and how they can improve their performance, managers must engage with employees on their long-term career goals. HR professionals should share their knowledge of an employee's skills, abilities, and goals with the person's manager and develop a plan that motivates the employee.
  • Provide management training programs – Managers need to be trained on how to interact with their employees. HR needs to provide training programs to managers to help them understand their role. There are many models to pick from, such as programs that train managers to behave like coaches. Choose a training module that is aligned with the company's values and is clearly outlined in the employee handbook
  • Praise management for their employees' success – When an employee has a big “win,” gets a promotion or moves forward in their career path, the manager should be praised for helping the employee achieve their goals. HR must implement recognition systems for managers that measure effectiveness based on how employees perform and how they advance in their careers.


To truly be proactive in Human Resources, professionals should ask themselves this question:

“If we weren't already doing it this way, do you think this is the way we would do it?”

That idea should inspire HR professionals to reverse engineer their processes by using these six steps:

  • Begin by creating profiles of the ideal employee.
  • Use analytical data to help HR determine the strengths and weaknesses of employees and prospective hires.
  • Tap into the wisdom of the crowd to identify new talent and burnish the reputation of the business.
  • Take advantage of social recruiting to expand your reach and target the talent that you want.
  • Consider the ways that the "job in demand" movement could help make your company more productive and efficient.
  • Hire great managers and give them the tools they need to develop good relationships with their employees.

Most companies recognize that the Human Resources department is a thought leader in the company. The exciting thing about the 21st century business climate is that human resources is on the cutting edge of new technologies and techniques for creating the most dynamic workforce. With these strategies, you can impact the company for decades to come.

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