With the current job climate ensuring that the candidates have significant leverage, Brooke Kieft-Anderson, director of human resources at Nichols, a Division of Imperial Dade and distributor based in Norton Shores, Michigan, quickly noticed that hiring parties must make more accommodations in order to have a chance with prospects.

One of the most notable changes is the preferred method of communication for candidates. Instead of the conventional route of phone calls, voicemails and e-mails, Kieft-Anderson since found that candidates prefer texting as the primary method for initial interview setups. Accordingly, response rates for Nichols have been noticeably higher for many openings.

Additionally, since Nichols is competing for quality candidates with other industries as well as competing cleaning distributors, timeliness has never been more critical. In many cases, waiting even a day between an interview and an offer can result in a candidate lost.

“You have to move quickly. The days of interviewing someone and making an offer two weeks later are long gone. In some cases, we're making offers on the spot,” says Kieft-Anderson. “Again, we're just trying to make sure that we're moving forward as quickly as possible if we like the candidate. Responding even an hour late can make a difference.”

All of this is assuming a distributor has reached the point in the hiring process where a candidate is spotlighted, and an interview comes to fruition. The reality, however, is many distributors have an outdated system for posting jobs and receiving applications, which leads to finding poor fits for the position or no inquiries at all.

When it comes to job postings, the description itself is as important as where it’s being promoted. Far too often, hiring managers lack perspective during the writing process, says Angela Gervino, owner and executive recruiter, Gervino Group, Danbury, Connecticut. A common mistake is tunnel vision; in particular by emphasizing the functions, specs, and objectives of the job from their own experience while failing to illustrate why any of them would be appealing to an applicant.

When this happens, job postings are not only too long, but they fail to highlight the qualities a company or position has that make it unique and worth applying for — whether it’s flexibility with hours, remote working options, customized benefits or more.

“The biggest missed opportunity for employers today is looking at their job postings from the perspective of the candidate,” says Gervino. “If I were applying to this position, would what I'm reading be attractive? Would I spend two minutes and read it? Would I spend any time considering it? In many instances, employers lose focus and all of those considerations are completely lost. It’s a huge opportunity for employers to really make an impression if they think from that perspective.”

Even the best job posting can fall flat if they aren’t being promoted in the right channels. Kieft-Anderson has experienced success using LinkedIn for job posting exposure. The combination of high engagement on the platform and the ease of sharing posts has resulted in many successful hires.

“We do a lot with trying to get our associates to help us spread the word. Often, I'll put a job on our Nichols LinkedIn page; then I'll share it within my personal page; then maybe somebody from the department that's hiring will share it within their LinkedIn groups,” she says. “Those grassroots efforts can have some pretty big results.”

Gervino notes that many conventional job boards online, such as Indeed, may garner a high-volume of applicants, but good fits for the role can be few and farther between; candidates may have varied experience or none at all. It doesn’t hurt to post jobs on as many sites as possible, but a better strategy for hiring managers is to evaluate their key contacts in the industry, keep in-touch and inquire from there. Perhaps a fellow colleague has a standout warehouse employee moving across the country into your region, for example, and they can provide direct contact information for an inquiry. These opportunities are rarer but are likely to have a higher success rate.

If a job posting has been found and the description is appealing enough for a candidate to apply, the next hurdle to clear as an employer is making sure the prospect completes the application process. Many potential employees, especially Millennials and Gen Z, are filling out applications on their phones — which means distributors must make their process mobile-friendly.

St. John says many companies inadvertently put up barriers for applicants, from the amount of information required on the front end to how the application itself must be submitted. Aside from a resume and some basic information, many of the other details for the position can be learned during the interview.

“If you have to fill out the name, date, and serial number of every employer you've ever worked for, often times they're going to have to search and fill those fields on their phone. You require two- or three-pages worth of those forms, and they might say ‘this is too hard’ and bail,” St. John adds. “Other applications require applicants to download it, fill it out, scan and then email it. If they don’t have access to a printer, that’s often the end of the road for applying.”

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