Hiring is one of the most (if not the most) important things organizations do. It also is one of the top five challenges leaders in Hawaii are facing both in the foreseeable future and long-term. What’s going on? Choose your own explanation. Hiring manager indecision. Misalignment on roles or skills. Not enough “great” candidates in the pipelines. Open roles at an all-time high. Candidates expect more than ever from potential employers. All of the above. If you’re stressed and overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Competition for talent in Hawaii is fierce, so employers have to spend more time thinking about and preparing for every new hire or risk losing out.
As Hawaii’s market leader in HR services and a local company with over 300 of our own employees, ProService Hawaii is very familiar with the hiring obstacles of today’s job market. We’re certainly not unaffected by workforce trends and changes ourselves. While the last two years have been difficult for hiring, we used the pandemic to take a hard look at our candidate experience and make adjustments to our approach and processes to meet employees where they’re at.
The results? We’re really proud to say we increased our new hires by 2X in 2021, grew our candidate pool, kept up with attrition during the “great resignation”, and helped our clients grow their headcount 11% above and beyond pre-pandemic levels by sharing Hawaii-proven guidance. In our recent webinar, Secrets to Success from a Hawaii Recruiter, our Talent Acquisition Manager, Tyler Tuipolutu shared some of his insider learnings that made our own hiring and recruiting efforts so successful.
Here are some of his top tips for successful hiring and recruiting:
Tips 1-6: Know What You Want & Where to Look
1. Write clear, appealing job descriptions using a job scorecard
Does your job description grab your candidate’s attention in 5 seconds? Are you presenting your company and the opportunity in the best light? Start your recruiting efforts by writing job scorecards that use simple, clear language that's easy to read. A job scorecard is simply an internal resource used for managing/evaluating/coaching existing employees and helping to set expectations around their KPIs and core responsibilities. It focuses on desired outcomes and lists essential skills and competencies, including culture fit. It’s a helpful tool used during the hiring process but also throughout the employee lifecycle e.g. for performance review etc. Here are some “good” and “bad” examples.
2. Find the right job boards
Posting a job on a job board site is an important part of any recruitment strategy. It’s where job seekers are looking and where they can sign themselves up to receive job alerts too. Not all job boards will attract the kind of talent you are looking for, plus it’s expensive to post on every single one. If you’re starting out, the key is to experiment with a few. Post to several job boards and track results. See which channels are bringing in the most candidates or the most qualified ones and optimize your efforts there.
Here are a few job boards we love:
- Indeed.com – Best overall job board | Great for white and blue-collar | Free option | Can also set a budget to get more views / pay-per-click / customize your profile/contact candidates directly at $1 per message
- LinkedIn Jobs – Perfect for white-collar, professional, and/or experienced candidates, including interns | Free option | Can also set a budget to get more views / pay-per-click
- Craigslist Jobs – Good option for blue-collar workers and neighbor island candidates | $35 per post | Read Craigslist’s FAQs for job postings.
- Facebook – Do you have a Facebook business page? Facebook can be a great way to find white or blue-collar candidates | Free option | Can also set a budget to get more views / pay-per-click | Get step-by-step instructions
- Handshake – Great for recruiting college students, graduates, and alumni in Hawaii and across the U.S. | Free option | Can also participate in campus career expos and career fairs Hawaii, including BYU, HPU, University of Hawaii West Oahu, the University of Hawaii at Manoa Shidler College of Business
- The University of Hawaii at Manoa Career Center – Perfect for finding interns, college students, upcoming college graduates, etc. | Free option | Options to be notified to participate in career fairs and expos.
- University of Hawaii System – A good option for finding interns, college students, upcoming college graduates, etc. from Hawaii universities and community colleges | Free option | Site points you to campus-specific career sites
- HireNet Hawaii – A good option for white or blue-collar workers | Free option | Connected with the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations with good visibility with candidates on unemployment who are looking for work
3. Don't do it all yourself – create an employee referral program
Your people know the work and what it takes to be successful at your organization. They are your best promoters – so leverage them! Create an employee referral program that incentivizes employees to share open positions with their networks and reward them with a mix of monetary (e.g .cash) and/or non-monetary incentives (e.g. extra PTO, concert tickets etc.) when their contact is hired and remains in the position for one month. At ProService, employee referrals have been wildly successful for finding quality candidates. In October 2021, we received 70 employee referrals alone. Of candidates, we ended up hiring that month 50% were sourced from employee referrals. Not sure how to fund this program? Consider reallocating your recruiting advertising budget or signing bonus dollars to employee referrals.
4. Talk to everybody
Talk to everybody you know. Ask them if they know anyone who is looking for work, even if it’s part-time or on the side. Post jobs where people love to gather, even if you don’t typically think of it as a good place for jobs. Grocery store bulletin board, Craigslist, social clubs, community groups, sports team buildings. Ask your contacts where they love to hang out, in-person or virtually, and see if there’s somewhere they can promote your open positions.
5. Don’t automatically say ‘no’ to out-of-state employees
Have a top, Hawaii-based employee that’s moving to the mainland but can continue working remotely? Or, what about a top kamaaina candidate that’s living on the West Coast but has plans on relocating back to the islands in a few months? These are very real scenarios our clients are experiencing daily. We encourage employers to not automatically disqualify out-of-state employees as viable candidates. We’ve seen firsthand how retaining a local employee who has moved to the mainland for a period of time has given some employers more time and flexibility to backfill that position locally. Whatever the situation is, consider all your options and talk to ProService (or your HR service provider of record) to see how they can accommodate your hiring needs with out-of-state payroll and other capabilities that meet your unique situation. For clients of ProService, we can guide you through every step involved with out-of-state employees, ensuring you can hire and retain workers (regardless of their location), stay HR compliant, and keep remote employees motivated and working productively with their Hawaii-based colleagues.
6. Chat with candidates on social media
How is your social media presence? A Pew Research Study found that 79% of all job candidates used social media on their last job search. Given this popular channel, make sure you're posting content that supports your employer brand! You should be posting your open positions but you can also consider creating content like a “day-in-the-life” video to give candidates an inside scoop. Your social media channels are also a great place to start conversations with potential candidates too. You’ll eventually move them to “typical” phone conversations and in-person interviews, but start wooing them while they’re on social media and willing to quickly text and chat with you. It’s a welcoming and casual way to begin.
Tips 7-13: Optimize Your Hiring Process for Speed & Quality
7. Break your hiring process into smaller steps
Is your hiring process taking too much of your time? Are you moving too slowly from interviewing to making the offer to onboarding? Reduce your time to hire by breaking your hiring into smaller, more manageable steps that help YOU move faster, and move your candidates faster through the hiring process. Here’s a short five-step hiring process many organizations use to speed things up:
- Start by screening resumes
- Schedule a 15-minute phone screening
- Those that pass the phone screening move onto in-person (or virtual) interviews
- Present candidates with an offer asap (don’t make your star candidate wait!)
- Don’t forget to demonstrate enthusiasm. This can encourage offer acceptance.
8. Interview using your job scorecard
Remember the job scorecards we talked about in tip #1? Once you’ve taken the time to carefully craft the right scorecards for open positions, you can actually use them to assist you in the interview process as well. For example, ask your candidate to give you examples of each of your minimum requirements and competencies. Why use scorecards in interviews? It actually has several benefits. It can help you improve the focus of your conversation with candidates, create a more objective interview process, and keep your top hiring criteria in perspective.
9. Treat your candidates like customers
Your customer experience plays a critical factor in your overall success. Your candidate experience is no less important. Start by mapping your candidate experience out from end to end. What are you doing well? What areas could use improvement? Make sure job seekers have a positive experience throughout your entire hiring journey and showcase the best of your values, culture, and brand at every step. Your candidates will love you for it and it’s more fun for you and your interviewing team. Ask candidates for feedback on their experience and use it to continuously improve.
10. Know what motivates your new hire candidates – and sell them on why your organization is a good fit for them!
Don’t miss your chance to hire an A-player by not successfully selling your candidate on the reasons why your company is a good fit for them. Selling is important throughout the candidate journey (not just at the offer stage) where you will want to reinforce how your company culture, benefits, and the job they are interviewing for fit their top reasons for job hunting in the first place. Like all employees, each candidate will have different motivations. However, it turns out that job seekers tend to care about five main things, also known as the “Five F’s”: Fit, Family, Freedom, Fortune, and Fun. The key to successfully wooing your candidate is to learn which of the “Five F’s” are most important to them. Read more: What’s Important to Your Candidates?
11. Don’t judge a book by its cover
Do not be turned off by non-traditional resumes or backgrounds. Lots of top employees in their field might be switching careers, or hopping into different industries to find more stability or pursue their passions. Whatever it is, keep an open mind when reviewing their resume and credentials. Instead of looking for candidates that meet every qualification, look just as hard for candidates with a good attitude, genuine commitment, proactive drive, and a desire to learn and grow. Candidates with these qualities are “diamonds in the rough” and just need a leader to take a chance on them. Oftentimes they are likely to be more loyal than the candidate with the star credentials.
12. Recruit for skill, hire for fit
In a perfect world, candidates would have the necessary skill set and have a natural culture fit with your company. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. So how do you prioritize skill set versus cultural fit? Which one wins? Here’s our perspective. Not meeting all the minimum skill requirements isn’t a deal-breaker. If you find someone who is the right fit culturally and demonstrates a willingness and genuine interest in learning on the job – hire them! On-the-job training plus coaching can close some of the skills gaps. In the end, you can train for skills but you can't train for heart.
13. Like a candidate? Make your offer asap
Moving quickly when you find a rockstar candidate is crucial. Well-qualified candidates typically apply to multiple positions at the same time and are being hired quickly. Where possible, consider following up with a written offer within hours of a candidate's final interview. Moving with urgency demonstrates your interest and maybe the key to scooping them up before your competition does. This also means that you must do some pre-work to ensure you’re prepared with the right paperwork to expedite this process. We’re hearing too many stories from our clients about loving a candidate only to find out they’ve accepted another offer faster than they were able to submit an offer themselves. Take heed! Get your ducks in a row so you can move quickly.
14. Cross-train and promote existing staff
Many employers hire managers from the outside to fill key roles. These leaders are not familiar with your workplace culture, your processes and operations, and the people that do the work. While there are many valid reasons to look outside your company to fill open roles, consider for a moment the benefits of promoting employees inside your organization who want to grow into a leadership role, and then hire anew to backfill their role, which is often an easier candidate to find at a lower level. With a little training or coaching, these employees could blossom into effective leaders. The key is to get to know your team. Learn about their interests, professional/leadership goals, or desired career paths so you can spot opportunities for cross-training and internal promotion as they arise. At ProService 20% of roles in 2022 have been filled by internal candidates. This is one of the benefits that larger employees can provide and critical for retaining staff the more growth a company experiences.
Tips 15-18: Differentiate Your Company as an Employer of Choice:
15. Offer competitive pay
Pay is powerful. It’s a compelling way to attract and retain talent, especially in Hawaii where the cost of living is so high. If your business can afford it, consider offering wages that are at least near the midpoint, or perhaps on the higher end in the market. But what is the market paying? A great way to gain insights into prevailing local market wages by position and industry (plus a lot of other factors) is to leverage a tool like Payscale to run a report. Bonus tip: If you’re a ProService client, ask us how you can receive a complimentary Payscale analysis and consultation to assess your compensation strategy.
16. Offer unique or superior benefits
While competitive pay is great, it’s not everything. Money may get people in the door but it doesn’t necessarily make people stay. Nowadays employees are looking for employers to provide a more holistic offering. In fact, according to Aflac’s 2020 Workforce Report, 57% would consider accepting lower wages for a more robust benefits package. Many Hawaii employers, including ProService, differentiate on tangible and intangible benefits other than money. Things like comprehensive healthcare coverage with quality providers, generous, flexible PTO plans, 401(k) retirement plans that help employees save for the future, financial tools like flexible spending accounts that make employee paychecks go further, or any one of these workplace flexibility trends, flexible schedules or hybrid/remote work options. There are lots of low-cost (and even no-cost) benefit options at your disposal to help sweeten the deal with employees. Download our free guide to learn more: How to Create a Benefits Package That’s Right for Your Business.
17. Set yourself apart by committing to your culture & your team’s growth
As the candidate goes through the interview process, it’s important to communicate all the value that your business can provide – from your company culture, core values, and mission to opportunities for professional growth. People join and stay with companies because they love the sense of belonging and shared purposes and they see room for themselves to continue to learn, grow, and not become stagnant. As a leader in your organization, you have the opportunity to define and champion a healthy, vibrant, and thriving workplace culture that engages your people. This is exciting, value-driven work that has a real business impact. If you’re a ProService Hawaii client, consult with your team to see how we can come alongside you to support your culture goals. Read more: 6 Essentials to Make Sure Your Next Candidate Comes to Work for Your Business
18. Offer hybrid work arrangements
According to a national study by Mckinsey, 9 out of 10 executives envision a hybrid model going forward. A “hybrid work” model is simply working both in-office and out-of-office (from home or another remote location). This model gives employees more flexibility and encourages them to work where they’re going to be most productive. In the new world of work, this is a benefit that’s very attractive to workers in white-collar industries. However, employers who embrace this model must begin to articulate the specifics of how to operationalize hybrid work more permanently – from employee onboarding and engagement to the details of their HR policies. As a company that’s embraced hybrid work during the pandemic, we have learned many best practices ourselves which we’re eager to share with our clients. If you’re a ProService partner, we encourage you to talk with your team to see how we can support your working as teams as you spread across homes and offices on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii Island, and beyond.