Get the Word Out: Tips for Boosting Your Recruitment Efforts

Once you have your job bulletin prepared and it is eye-catching, concise and informative, you are ready to start spreading it around. Just like the other background materials that we have discussed in the recruiting series, you should do some preparation and research to increase the effectiveness of your advertising results. Ideally your approach to attracting viable candidates will be a combination of the two types of recruiting we discussed in article one: “They Find You” and “You Find Them.”

Like most public sector entities your resources are probably limited, which means you are short on money and manpower. Therefore, it is critical that you make the most of your efforts and take advantage of as many freebies as you can. In my experience there are many radio and television stations that will air public service announcements for agencies recruiting for public service positions. We also found that when we made special efforts to add large numbers of police officers to one department I worked with, the media picked it up as a news story and every local news show and newspaper carried the story. Our recruiters were even invited on some talk segments for television and radio all of which served to give us tremendous exposure. Perhaps your local stations will see your recruitment as newsworthy as well, particularly in this time of high unemployment. Giving them a call and pitching that angle may prove beneficial.

In addition, there are usually several public sector employment offices that will post job bulletins. If you don’t already have a list of these in your area, it would be beneficial to develop one. Cost savings can also come about by sending your bulletin out via bulk mail. If you are fortunate enough to have an online “interest card” system, now is the time to send all those individuals who expressed an interest in working for you an email that includes your bulletin. If you don’t have the capability of maintaining and sending back interest cards electronically, hopefully you have a manual system and now you can mail out all the post cards you have collected from potential candidates who have completed the card indicating their desire to be notified when you are recruiting.

In addition to the interest cards, and following the hands on recruiting approach, it could prove beneficial to have staff review the results of your last recruitment for some demographics. In particular, review of your hiring list to see if there were any viable candidates that weren’t reachable or were passed over for reasons that may have been resolved by now that should be sent a bulletin. Reviewing the backgrounds of your successful candidates can also provide you with valuable information regarding where to look for your next batch of successful candidates. Looking for similarities or commonalities can help you target particular regions, cities or career fields. Often, in my experience, we found that individuals completing their military enlistment period made excellent candidates for public safety positions. As a bonus, many have related training and they all have an understanding of military style discipline which can be valuable when it comes to training and retaining new employees. We also found that the military installations near us had employment centers for those ending their military careers and often held career fairs that were free to employers. You should be sure to see if this is a viable opportunity for your recruiting efforts.

Be sure to include your current public safety incumbents in your recruiting. Word of mouth is a very important recruiting tool and with so many social media venues available to your employees you can truly spread the word about your recruitment through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. If it is in keeping with your agency’s policies, your HR staff should also consider involving themselves in these social networks and posting information about your recruitment on their accounts.

Career fairs are another excellent method of spreading the word about your recruitment. While there are many for-profit organizations that conduct career fairs, colleges and universities typically hold one or two fairs annually for little or no fees. So consider the colleges and universities in your area as good recruiting sources. It is also important to remember that your agency should participate in these fairs whether you have current openings or not. It is a good place to obtain interest cards from future candidates, make one on one contact and keep your agency in the public eye. When college students graduate, you want them considering you as an employer.

Finally, if you have exhausted all the free or low-cost sources of recruiting, and you have some money to spend, online recruiting seems to be the best value for your dollar. While Monster and Career Builder are big, they are also expensive so I encourage you to shop around. For example, in the State of Nevada, we have Recruiting Nevada, which is a large network that encompasses several other smaller networks that pick up job postings and circulate them on their sites. This greatly expands the number of people reached and the odds of attracting the candidates you want. It is valuable for you to explore these opportunities in your area. If you still use newspapers consider an ad in different sections of the paper, for example the sports section. You will catch the eye of a whole different type of applicant beyond those just looking for a job.

That about does it, hopefully there have been some valuable tips for you in this series of articles that can boost your recruiting efforts.

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About Robert Burd

Robert is an HR professional with over thirty years of experience in public sector human resources specializing in selection including: test development and validation, designing and conducting oral boards, assessment centers and physical fitness testing.

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