bohling ladonnaAs a baby-boomer in the collection industry for 23 years, I can remember once upon a time when there was an abundance of applicants for front line collector jobs. So many that I would turn candidates away for being one minute late for the interview. After all, if they couldn’t arrive on time for the interview, they would probably be late arriving at work.

Times have changed. There is a new trend called “ghosting.” Ghosting is when the candidate doesn’t show for the interview, or if hired, they are a no-show the first day. They might even disappear without a trace once hired. Ghosting is easy for the candidate, no awkward conversations. Poof, they are gone!

It’s no secret – U.S. unemployment is at an all-time low. We have more jobs than qualified candidates to fill these jobs. There’s a new breed of job candidates, they are modernized and they can be finicky. They are holding the cards, the tables have turned and they pick us. Finding qualified candidates is time-consuming and expensive. Then, after we hire and train, we contend with the turnover. Turnover in our industry is something that seems to be expected and tolerated. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individual’s first-year potential earnings. Half of all hourly workers leave new jobs within the first 120 days! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website, “Workers frequently leave the occupation, which leads to job openings.”

We don’t have to accept this as our fate. We can overcome these challenges by revamping our recruiting strategies to attract and retain the finicky candidate. Here are four tactics your HR department can adopt to begin making a positive change:

1. Be Fabulous!

Show candidates what it is like working at your company. The finicky candidates always want to know what’s in it for them. Create company profiles on social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Give candidates a peek at your culture by sharing your work environment. Circulate industry related articles. Respond to all reviews – positive and negative.

A recent publication by Glassdoor indicates, “69% of candidates are likely to apply for a job if the employer actively manages its brand.” Update your website to include a career site. Make sure it is mobile friendly and keep it simple. 76% of all candidates apply through some type of mobile device and 60% will abandon a complex online application.

2. You Want Me to What? When?

Determine what characteristics you are looking for in an employee. Write realistic job descriptions that make candidates want more information. Decide on a start date. According to Glassdoor, the interview process is 22.9 days on average.

3. Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are

Get the word out that you are hiring. There are two types of candidates: active and passive.

Active candidates are those who are actively looking. They are searching job sites, responding to ads, and sending their resumes to multiple employers. Most of your active candidates go to the more well-known sites such as Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster, ZipRecruiter and Glassdoor.

Passive candidates are those who have jobs. Typically, they are satisfied with their current job. However, most are open to bigger and better opportunities. The passives makeup 75% of the potential candidate pool and are your most qualified. They aren’t looking, but at some point, they were. You can find them by searching the resume databases of job sites such as Indeed and CareerBuilder. You can attract the passives by calling attention to your brand by networking on social media, using employees as brand ambassadors, public announcements, and hosting an open house. Promote your brand as an exciting and fabulous place to work!

4. Don’t Put Off Until Tomorrow

Act quickly. Once candidates express interest, acknowledge the request and tell them the next steps. Develop a pre-screen process and conduct telephone interviews. if they meet your requirements set up inperson interviews.

Stay in contact by sending interview confirmation emails such as, “Looking forward to meeting you,” or, “I so enjoyed getting to know you on the telephone.” Prepare for the interview by securing an inviting interview space. Let them know who they will meet when they interview.

On interview day, be prompt. Make the candidate feel welcome. Keep them engaged, you are forming a relationship. Be friendly, positive and concise. Form your interview questions into a conversation, not an interrogation. Make the candidate want to choose you.

At the end of the interview, clarify the next steps to keep the candidate engaged. If a thorough phone screen was done, then face to face should enable you to make decisions more quickly. Make your offer! Be professional and notify the candidates not selected.

Take it from this baby boomer, as an industry we can beat the odds by improving our brand, changing our processes, and understanding the mindset of the modern candidate.

LaDonna Bohling is VP of Special Ops at Contract Callers, Inc., responsible for training development and client relations. She holds the International Fellowship of Certified Collection Executives designation.