Given the state of the economy, most people would probably assume that there’s a glut of applicants for any available jobs, but companies deploying outdated recruitment tactics don’t always find the skill they need and want.
Organizations that are struggling right now are recruiting in the same way they always have – post a job and pray for applicants, says Ann Torry, director of marketing for BirdDog, a company that offers cloud-based recruitment and application tracking software and services. But this isn’t the case for everyone.
“Many organizations aren’t struggling- in fact they are recruiting top talent away from their competition,” she adds. “Those are the organizations that have reached out to the best candidates, assessed their capabilities and quickly moved them through the recruitment process.” We recently checked in with Ann to get more insight into how BirdDog has re-envisioned recruiting and for advice on how businesses can hire the right people more efficiently. Here’s what she had to say about employer brands, knowing where to reach top talent, having built a talent community to draw from and the importance of a systematic recruitment process to reach top talent.
What’s the story behind BirdDog?
BirdDog has been around since 1997 and started as a job board network for skilled trades, plumbing, mechanical, engineering, HVAC and construction jobs. As our organization grew, our customers’ needs grew too. They told us that they needed an ongoing strategic recruitment process to hunt and track today’s top talent. We still have our job boards and they are critical to our customers’ success, but BirdDog has evolved into offering more than job boards. Today we are staying true to our roots in construction, engineering and supply as we offer cloud-based recruitment and application tracking software and services.
What types of services do you offer?
Customers are interacting with BirdDog in multiple ways. We have more than 650 clients who rely on our cloud-based recruitment and applicant tracking system (ATS) to help them drive candidate flow, shorten time to hire, centralize communication, and reduce the cost of their recruiting. In addition to the ATS, BirdDog also offers FasTrack Premier services. With FasTrack we conduct sourcing and screening for those positions that are hard to fill or must be filled quickly.
We do still offer job postings to our career sites (BirdDogJobs.com, MEPJobs.com and ASHRAEJobs.com), but for most organizations that we work with, competition for top talent is fierce. This requires them to be more strategic in their recruitment practices and maintain more of an “always recruiting” model.
What sets you apart from other job sites?
There are many things that set us apart. As BirdDog evolved from an industry specific job board to a recruitment and applicant tracking solution we haven’t lost our focus on our core verticals. We combine that deep domain expertise of recruiting the best people in skilled trades with the new ways organizations must be reaching out to potential candidates. We help organizations manage their website career page for optimal employer branding, get their jobs distributed to top niche and generalist job boards, leverage referral groups, maximize social media for recruiting, build a talent community of candidates to choose from, maintain fair hiring practices and remain compliant. There is no other organization in our vertical that is doing that.
Who should be using BirdDog?
Any organization can use BirdDog as our clients span all industries, but we do have an emphasis in serving organizations in the construction, engineering and supply industries. We are a great fit for emerging organizations with 100+ employees who are looking for an easy-to-use system to attract top talent and manage their recruitment process.
What are some of the most in-demand jobs out there right now?
Our research and customers reinforce the same statistics that Manpower Group found in their 2013 Talent Shortage Survey.
Top 10 Hardest Jobs to Fill in 2013:
- Skilled Trades
- Sales Representatives
- Information Technology Workers
- Accounting and Finance
Why are they so difficult to fill?
Outside of teachers, customers in our core verticals may be searching to find employees in as many as nine of the top 10 hard to fill positions. These hard-to find-skills combined with the fact that with the Baby Boomers are retiring means we simply don’t have enough people entering the workforce to fill all of the jobs that are available. By 2020 there will be a shortage of 5 million workers in the U.S. That’s only 6 years from today.
What is panic hiring? What can a company do to avoid it?
Great question! A panic hire is the result of an organization not having an ongoing recruitment process strategy. Too often an employee resigns and an organization reacts by hiring someone that may or may not be the right fit because they are in a panic to fill the position. This can easily be avoided using an “always recruiting” strategy and creating virtual community of talent that you can go to when you have an open position. My favorite functions of talent communities are, first, these are people that you have already engaged with and know you– you aren’t starting from scratch with them; second these are candidates that you have gathered along the way so the money you invested in finding them was money well spent. The last time you had an open position maybe it wasn’t the right fit, but perhaps this time, the fit will be perfect.
How has technology changed the way you do business?
Advances in technology have enabled organizations to pull talent in instead of just pushing jobs out. Harnessing social media, talent communities, and online referral groups make recruitment more of a dialogue and relationship-oriented than the post and pray tactics of the past.
Also, mass adoption of cloud-based solutions like BirdDog has leveled the playing field making the recruitment and applicant tracking functionality available to small, medium and large companies. When the technology is in the cloud, reaching top talent is easy to access and quick to implement.
What do you predict is the future for job sites like yours – what’s the next big trend?
Cross platform accessibility is the way of the future with all HR technology. Mobile phone, tablet, laptop, TV, they are all coming together as job seekers are exploring opportunities on their own terms and own time. Job board and recruitment technology interface design, speed to access and mobility will be top considerations of the future. Make it as easy for the Baby Boomers to access as the Millennials. They are all important in today’s workforce as there are more jobs available than there are people with the right skills to fill them.