Hiring & Recruiting, Strategic HR

9 Tips for Retaining and Screening for New Employees in A World of ‘Continuous Candidates’

by Jim McCoy, vice president of ManpowerGroup Solutions

More than one-third (37%) of employees across the globe are always looking for their next job opportunity, according to a global study of job seekers conducted by ManpowerGroup Solutions. These employees are known as “Continuous Candidates.”

Looking at Millennials and Gen Y, the research shows that it is the older Millennials – with more work experience – who are most likely to be habitually looking for jobs. In organizations where employers are not meeting their candidates’ expectations or aspirations for advancement, that is where individuals will be more likely to always be looking out for their next gig.

With employee churn becoming increasingly costly for companies, it is more important than ever for employers to step up their efforts to reduce turnover by improving retention efforts and recruitment processes. Here are nine recommendations that can help:

  1. Speak fluent advancement. Hiring managers must be able to proactively articulate the opportunities for advancement to candidates, as career pathways are an increasingly important component of the employer value proposition (EVP). To keep employees engaged, employers should proactively open these discussions, instead of waiting for the candidates to ask.
  2. Walk the walk. Differentiating a company and building an employer value proposition that has opportunity for advancement as a cornerstone is an important first step; however, following through on that promise is key. Employers must create an employment experience that authentically mirrors the messaging.
  3. Spotlight examples of advancement. If an employer is talking the talk and walking the walk, there will be examples of employees who have risen through the ranks or were selected for new assignments/responsibilities. Stories about these employees should be communicated internally to existing employees and externally to talent communities.
  4. Expand the definition of advancement. As the research shows, Continuous Candidates and Millennials may define advancement differently from previous generations. While compensation is still important and traditional concepts like promotions resonate, employers should expand their definition of advancement to include expanded roles, job variety, higher profile projects, projects that involve giving back to community or society, and examples where ongoing education led to mastering new challenges.
  5. Foster “learnability.” Continuous Candidates want continuous education, so learnability – the desire and ability to quickly grow and adapt one’s skills to remain employable – is important. Employers can nurture learnability through providing or reimbursing for professional development opportunities, internal and external training, or advanced degree programs.
  6. Mentor, mentor, mentor. Skill acquisition, regular feedback, teamwork and exposure to successful role models strengthen the bond between an employee and the company they work for. Many savvy Millennials identify the position they want within an organization and network with the individual currently in that role. Rather than be threatened by this, managers and executives should embrace it.
  7. Build a talent community. Make it easy for Continuous Candidates to add themselves to an employer’s talent community. Whether it is on social media, career sites, or the company website, articulate opportunities for candidates to join your database and receive job alerts. Recognize also, that much of this activity takes place on mobile devices. The content and format of communication must be smartphone friendly; Continuous Candidates are likely to be job shopping while grocery shopping or at the gym.
  8. Vet and reclassify applicants. The application activity of Continuous Candidates, combined with advancement as a motivator, implies that employers may receive a flood of applications and resumes from people who are under qualified for the open positions. How employers treat these cases significantly impacts the candidate experience and an employer’s reputation. Under qualified applicants should be vetted, reclassified, and transparently communicated with to avoid creating negative perceptions among applicants.
  9. Challenge the myth of job-hopping. Older generation hiring managers may stigmatize the new generation of Continuous Candidates whose career paths reflect job-hopping activity. Continuous Candidates and Millennials may view variety as an asset, whereas older generations regard it as a sign of instability and disloyalty. Educating hiring managers about the Continuous Candidate phenomenon is important. To properly assess a candidate, hiring managers must dig deep into the reasons for this type of behavior. Candidates who moved jobs frequently may reflect a desire for geographic mobility or a lack of advancement opportunity … not poor job performance or disloyalty.

Continuous Candidates present significant retention challenges for employers. Believing “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” is human nature. By becoming “employers of choice” and building an EVP that is based on opportunity for advancement, organizations can tilt the balance sheet of retention in their direction. That said, Continuous Candidates also represent an opportunity to build talent communities for current and future needs.

Continuous Candidates are the new normal. Employers in denial about this phenomenon risk being left behind in the global competition for recruiting and retaining top talent.

Jim McCoyJim McCoy is vice president of ManpowerGroup Solutions and RPO Practice Lead. For more information on ManpowerGroup Solutions, visit www.manpowergroupsolutions.com.

Connect with Jim and ManpowerGroup Solutions on Twitter: @jfmccoy, @MPGrpSolutions.