Ideas on Recruiting Strong Talent

For most companies recruiting is not one of their favorite things to do. And too often it is looked upon as a necessary evil rather than an integral part of doing business. But I propose that this mindset should be changed if you are to be successful in getting your man/woman. After all, without the right people doing the right things in the right places it’s pretty hard to make the company run to its potential. However, while a lot of folks are very good at what they do,  recruiting is not something they are adept at. So I am often asked about by my clients how to attract the sort of people they would like to hire. Both in terms of technical and professional background and with respect to being able to fit in with the company’s culture. Well, this is a complex issue to be sure. But let me offer a few very basic ideas (hiring 101) and then see what all of you have to say on the subject.

  • My first suggestion to any employer is have a solid idea of what type of person you need to hire and make sure everyone in the hiring process is using the same criteria. You are setting yourself up for frustration and wasting a lot of time and resources otherwise.
  • Make sure that your staff that is not directly involved in the hiring process knows the company is recruiting. Especially if it is a very specific skill set you need. Who is more likely to know another boiler control designer or what-have-you than someone who is already doing it? Moreover they know the company and will know if the guy/gal is a fit for the environment before they refer them. I.e. they won’t want to work with someone they know to be a jerk.
  • Use every resource at your command. Ads, referrals, conferences, recruiters (that you trust) and cold calling people you can dig up on the web. Most of the folks out there worth having are passive candidates. That means they are not actively looking but would consider a new job if something good came along . But you will have to call them. Passive candidates will not proactively call you in most cases.
  • Make sure you have an attractive presentation of the position and the company. “Sell the sizzle, not the steak”. What I mean is that a lot of people have a job open. But unless a guy is hard up (and the best talent is not) you will need to give people a reason to want to talk you instead of all of the other people out there that are after them. So, talk about things like the work environment, the extra perks and benefits of working at your place and etc. For a technical guy that might mean having lots of cool leading edge technology to play with. For a marketing guy that might mean less travel. And everyone loves stability. You get the idea.
  • Streamline your hiring system to make you capable of responding to people in a timely manner. I cannot tell you how many times I have watched clients lose a good candidate because they messed around for a month before following up on the initial introduction. And not only do you lose that candidate, you risk having them running around in the market telling everyone else about your methods which in turn may discourage other candidates from applying. Bear in mind that the really good candidates are in demand, and you will not be the only one looking for them. So the longer you wait before you talk to them the more opportunity you give your competition to snatch them up.
  • Have interviewing times already blocked out when you start a search. Both telephone interviewing time and site visits. Not talking to someone for a while after expressing initial interest is worse than taking forever to respond the introduction in the first place. In the abscence of new information people will always assume the negative. I.e. “well they must not like me as they said. If they don’t like me I don’t like them.” And once someone gets that negative thought pattern going it’s really hard to get them back on your side. Also you are once again giving someone else a chance to snatch them up.
  • And last but not least don’t play games with people when it comes down to the offer process. Most people dislike having to negotiate their salary, and those who do often have money as a priority and you don’t want them. Why? Because if someone offers them more cash they will leave you. So, before you ever start recruiting have a dollar amount in mind that you will pay for this position and confirm in the beginning that the candidate is in that ballpark. Obviously the number will vary a bit based on experience and such. The point I am trying to make is don’t make offers to borderline candidates unless you have no other option and make the best offer you can to good ones right out of the box. You don’t want candidates playing games with you. So don’t do it with them.

Okay so what do you think? Does this stuff sound logical? What are your ideas. Let me know what you think.

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