Hey Employers: Smart Candidates Are Checking YOUR References!
There’s no question that the job market has taken a wide swing in favor of “job seekers.” At the height of the recession, employers “were large and in charge”, freezing salaries, thinning the herds, and expecting more in spite of stagnant, if not lower, compensation. Today, we find ourselves in the midst of a “new normal.” The 18% increase to the volunteer quit rate alone shows that professionals are feeling comfortable enough to do more than dip their toes in the job market.
Our research here at TurningPoint reveals several other indicators that we are smack dab in the middle of a candidate’s market. 65% of job seekers are entertaining multiple offers at one time. In addition, 78% of those offers come in at the high end or above their initial target salary. They are asking for and receiving better benefits, increased base salaries, and other perks.
Employers who want to capture these top-notch candidates are going to have to step up their game. Just as job seekers must develop a high impact resume and a compelling LinkedIn Profile, so must companies who are looking to reel-in A-players. Trust us, candidates are checking you out long before they submit their resume or contact the hiring manager.
5 Things Companies Must do to Pass a Candidate’s Reference Check
1. Create a well-developed LinkedIn Company Page. In 2015, TurningPoint found 52% of our placements on LinkedIn. However, candidates and recruiters are not the only ones who should be leveraging LinkedIn for hiring. Companies must create a high quality Company Page to expand and market their employment brand. It’s in your best interest to extend that expectation to your C-Suite executives.
2. Connect with highly visible advisors who will get the word out about your company. Most job seekers are tapping into their network to learn about and land new roles. Therefore, it is in a company’s best interest connect with highly connected and active industry thought leaders and experts. These trusted advisors will be the voice of your company and its employees in the marketplace. It is their opinions your top talent candidates will go to for insight about your company.
3. Have a user-friendly and contemporary website. Your website is your most visible marketing platform. It is one of the first places a candidate will go to learn about who you are as a company – your mission, your products or services, and your open roles. Your website should highlight your company’s best and most unique features. Most importantly, it must allow for a positive and easy user experience: must be mobile-friendly, fix any broken links, utilize impactful images, create fresh and relevant content, include testimonials and real-world experiences from employees as well as customers, and develop concise, accurate job postings with a quick and easy way to submit a resume.
4. Have a strong presence in the marketplace. While job seekers might start begin their research on your website and your LinkedIn company page, these are not the only sources of information about your company. Publishing articles, sharing press releases, staying ‘in the news’, and publicizing successes, discoveries, and awards will keep you at the forefront of your industry and allows your target audience to learn who you are and why you stand above the competition.
5. Highlight your company’s strengths. Word of mouth (or typing fingers) will make or break a company’s reputation. Create a positive reputation beginning with high quality job descriptions, real world interviewing, a strong onboarding program, competitive compensation rates, and a positive and innovative corporate culture which fosters professional growth & development. Of course no company is perfect or perfect for every professional, instituting policies and procedures that treat current employees and potential new hires with respect will go a long way toward ensuring you pass your reference check.
Smart job seekers will research a company before deciding if they want to include that company in their job search. They will most likely go one step further and look into current employees, hiring managers, and other members of management. While employers use reference checks to determine if a candidate is going to be a good “fit” for your company, job seeker’s will conduct their own reference check to learn more about your organization… make sure they like what they find. If you do, you will see Top Talent coming through your doors.
How does TurningPoint’s new site measure up? Will YOUR company pass a reference check?
About the Authors
Ken Schmitt is the President and Founder of TurningPoint Executive Search and the Sales & Marketing Leadership Alliance. Specializing in placing sales, marketing and operations professionals across the country, Ken’s 18 years of recruiting experience have equipped him with the knowledge to serve as a thought partner to his clients for all recruiting, hiring and human capital-related initiatives. Ken sits on the board of Junior Achievement, San Diego Sports Innovators (SDSI), AA-ISP Orange County (American Association of Inside Sales Professionals), San Diego HR Roundtable and is an Advisory Board Member for the American Marketing Association.
Vicky Willenberg has served as the Social Media Manager for TurningPoint since 2011. In 2014, she was elevated to Digital Marketing Manager, broadening her participation across all things digital for the firm. A former teacher with a Masters in Education, Vicky is an active and published blogger at The Pursuit of Normal and a marketing professional. She has her finger on the pulse of the latest trends in the recruiting, hiring and leadership sectors.