As the economy trends up, so too will companies' hiring and recruiting practices, but will they be poised and properly equipped to meet the demand?
Two recent studies suggest they won't. One, the 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey from Allied Van Lines, finds two-thirds of 500 HR professionals polled saying they have "extensive" or "moderate" plans for hiring this year. Larger companies -- with more than 10,000 employees -- are even more bullish, with 80 percent planning for "extensive" or "moderate" recruiting. Yet, 52 percent of those respondents consider their recruiting programs to be only "somewhat successful."
One of the biggest culprits, the study shows, is the lack of sufficient recruiting incentives -- including benefits packages -- with only 27 percent rating their healthcare plans a "5" on a scale of 1 to 5 and rating all other incentives even lower.
A second study, The Financial Times Bowen Craggs Index of web effectiveness, shows more than half of the top 20 companies for web efficiency and high-quality digital strategies (out of 81 of the largest companies within the FT Global 500) lie within the energy, pharmaceutical, tobacco and mining industries.
A preponderance of large corporations outside those industries, the study finds, have failing digital strategies -- including approaches to communication that would enhance recruitment.
"Digital channels such as corporate websites and social-media channels have become the most important medium through which the world's biggest companies talk to the public ... ," says David Bowden, senior consultant at London-based Bowen Craggs, sponsor of the survey. "The index clearly shows some massive companies taking risks with their reputations by failing to understand this. There should be real worry about this right up to the board level."
Gal Almog, CEO of New York-based RealMatch, a recruitment-advertising-technology company, couldn't agree more.
Many corporations -- clients and otherwise -- "make their sites look very attractive," he says, "but when you click on their link, there are forms and forms and forms, and [these companies] seem to think if the candidate is really interested, they'll fill out all those forms, but that is ludicrous." Software is available, he says, "that can tell you immediately if you qualify, and if you don't, then tell you immediately what [open jobs in that same company] you can qualify for." That would be a much more positive experience for a job hunter, he adds.
Most large companies, Almog says, don't know how easy it would be to incorporate the right technology into their applicant-tracking system to boost the engagement of the candidate and ease-of-use.
What can get a bit murky, says Elise Freedman, Washington-based director in the talent-management practice of Towers Watson, is coming to a clear companywide understanding, from the top down, "on what the employee-value-proposition package is."
What's needed, and what is still lacking, she says, is for HR and recruiting professionals "to work with the executives and the employees to come to an understanding of what makes it special to work there; you need to make sure you know how to talk about that ... ." Engagement surveys can help reveal what companies should "trumpet that on their website," she adds.
"People [also] want to know how [long it'll take] to get somewhere and what they would need to get there," Freedman says, adding that, whatever you do, make sure what you're saying represents what will actually happen. There is no reputational death knell that rings louder, she says, than "the misrepresentation of reality."