It’s puzzling why many businesses continue to recruit job candidates like it’s 1980, a time when job seekers were abundant and positions scarce. Today, unemployment is at its lowest level in 50 years, job openings exceed the number of available job seekers, and job turnover and time to fill keep increasing daily. For some businesses, finding a warm body to fill a vacant technician roll is akin to finding a needle in a haystack.   

But like it or not, we live in theAge of Googlization.” People reach for their smartphones and tablets on average 52 times a day, and 26 percent of them are online constantly. They search Google more than 5.6 billion times per day — and one-third of those searches are related to careers. Few venture beyond the first page of search results, so if your company’s call for a new tech doesn’t rise to the top, chances are applicants won’t see it.

Today, candidates move quickly and expect to find open positions fast, yet many organizations still think we’re living in the era of White Pages, when the only way to apply for a job was to find its address and hand-deliver a resume. It’s an oversimplification to say that between growing candidate expectations and Google’s ever-changing search result algorithms, recruiting has grown complex. Nevertheless, simple solutions are abundant. Start by fixing three common recruiting blunders.

There Is No Recruitment Quick Fix

The average time to fill an open position is 42 days. That’s more than double what it was just a decade ago. Unfortunately, many hiring managers still imagine that recruiters have a crop of “people trees’’ they harvest when a job opening pops up. For the record, every industry, no matter the location, is dipping into the same talent pool — there are no hidden stashes of people waiting for you to call whenever a job opens.

The first (and maybe the easiest) recruiting blunder to erase is the mindset that hiring can happen quickly. The fact is that filling open jobs with the right employees simply takes longer, and varies across industries. Food services and insurance seem to enjoy the shortest spans, but as you seek technicians, take note: Construction, manufacturing and warehousing industries experience the longest vacancies. Other factors such as the size of the organization, location and even revenue influence this metric, too.

The Solution: Get managers and HR departments on the same page. Expect job vacancy duration to remain high for the foreseeable future. Anticipate openings and plan accordingly for retirements and turnover. Planning an expansion or bringing on a new client? Don’t wait to engage HR and recruiters.

Don’t Overlook Your Branding in the Social Media Age

With low unemployment, nearly everyone who wants a job has a job — especially skilled workers. But that doesn’t mean they’re all happy. Seventy percent of workers are not engaged and over 50 percent are looking for other jobs. These employees are ripe for the picking, but no worker is going to give up the security of a paycheck and familiar surroundings to take a risk on a different company that delivers a bland, uninventing first impression. First impressions matter. Your brand matters.

The Solution: Pay attention to employee reviews on Glassdoor, Indeed and Kununu. Top talent isn’t going to jump ship to work for a company with an average or below rating. If the reviews don’t paint a pretty picture, fix your situation. And that doesn’t mean beg employees for a few positive reviews. Rather, fix the underlying issues that surface.

Don’t ignore your company career page either. A list of job titles with a link to your applicant tracking system isn’t enough. To attract the best techs out there, showcase your current employees and culture. Tell a compelling story that demonstrates why a currently employed worker would want to give up their job and work for you instead.

Fix Your Lackluster Candidate Experience

For many organizations, a lackluster experience would be an improvement. The state of candidate experience is atrocious. From clunky applicant tracking software registrations to arduous job applications, companies impede candidates who just want to do what the company wants them to do — apply for jobs.

Poor design and employer-centric attitudes force candidates to move on to a competitor’s job listing at rates as high as 90 percent. And to add insult to injury, companies ignore candidates who do take the time to apply, “ghosting” them instead of responding with a warm thank you.

The Solution: Get rid of the long multi-page application. Create a short form with five to 10 questions. Have candidates meet initial qualifications first, then request all the information you need to make a hiring decision. Make sure your career site is fast, mobile-friendly and responsive. Test your application process — make sure you try to complete it on a smartphone, tablet and desktop. And, for goodness’ sake, respond immediately to every applicant with a warm, welcoming message of appreciation. This step is easy to automate.

The labor market is tight, and all forecasts indicate that the race for talent is only going to intensify. An optimal candidate experience is currently a competitive edge, but fast becoming an essential strategy to attract top talent faster. Stay ahead of the game.

ABOUT Ira Wolfe

Avatar photoIra S Wolfe is the “Millennial trapped in a Baby Boomer body” and the Chief Googlization Officer at Success Performance Solutions. Fueled by his fierce passion for technology its impact on people, Ira has emerged as one of HR’s most visionary thinkers and influencers on the future of work, jobs and talent acquisition. Ira is an accomplished speaker, author, writer and podcaster. His latest best-selling book is "Recruiting in the Age of Googlization." He also hosts the "Geeks, Geezers and Googlization" podcast.