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More Stories from the HR Files

8 Aug, 2011 By: Sally Brause, GreatAmerica Leasing Corp. imageSource

More Stories from the HR Files

Looking for the perfect candidate to interview (who may not be looking for you) is a challenge. Wouldn’t it be great if you had top notch candidates lined up at your door wanting to come to work for you?  In the ideal world, this would happen.  Unfortunately, most of us live in the real world where having a long line of candidates is not always the case.

Therefore, let me share some best practices to help you move closer to the ideal scenario.  In last month’s issue of  imageSource, I wrote about the importance of clearly identifying behaviors, attitudes, values, experience, education, etc., associated with top performing personnel.  Identifying job criteria and associated attributes is the starting point of a hiring process. The next step involves recruiting candidates who meet the established criteria.

The goal of recruiting is to attract the right people to your company.  This is the step at which many of our clients find some of their greatest challenges.  To increase the number of candidates, one of the best practices I recommend is “The Rule of Three.”  The Rule of Three is simply using three different methods to recruit (i.e. job specific websites, general hiring websites, career fairs, networking, college relations, social media, etc.).  Using a minimum of three methods simultaneously is beneficial because it increases the number of candidates your company reaches.  The next decision to make is what recruiting methods to use.  To help determine this, ask key questions.

4 questions to verify the best sourcing strategies:

a) How quickly does the job need to be filled?

b) How much experience does the candidate need?

c) How involved do you want to be with reviewing resumes and screening candidates?

d) What is your budget?

Knowing the answer to these questions can help you decide which recruiting methods will work best for filling your open position.  Let’s take a closer look at how these answers impact the overall recruiting strategy by looking at two different scenarios.

The first example is from a client who was stuck in a tough situation.  The company lost a top performing employee and needed to fill the position ASAP.   The ideal candidate needed to have a minimum of 5 – 7 years experience. The customer had limited time to review resumes and screen candidates.  Finally, they had limited funds to devote to the recruiting process.   This is a less than ideal scenario but sometimes due to an unanticipated departure, it happens.  In this case, meeting all four of these criteria was going to be very difficult because of the answers to the last two questions.  When a hiring manager doesn’t have time to devote to the process, it usually means they will have to hire someone else to do this for them, which costs money.  When faced with a time vs. money dilemma, the hiring manager ultimately decided to increase his budget.

The investment strategy:

1) They put together a referral bonus program for employees and other business contacts. They made others aware of what they were looking for, equipped them with collateral material that talked about the job, and offered a nice bonus for the referral of a successful candidate.

2) They used their social networking sites to let others know about their opening. They created an announcement to let others in their networks know about the job and the steps an interested candidate should take to inquire.

3) They paid a professional recruiter to find and screen candidates for them.  They understood the recruiter would advertise the job in all the right publications along with doing the networking required to surface candidates. The key was to find a good recruiter by asking about their processes and getting references.   Just like you would do your due diligence when finding a good employee, you will want to do your due diligence to ensure you’re getting a top notch recruiter who understands and can represent your position and company.

The second example falls almost at the other end of the spectrum in terms of the answers to the four questions outlined above.  The company had up to six months to find a top candidate.  They were open to both experienced and inexperienced candidates because they felt they had a good training plan in place.  The hiring manager had time to devote to the recruiting process and set aside a small budget for recruiting purposes. 

The recruiting strategy:

1)  They built a relationship with the Career Placement personnel and professors at the local colleges.  They met with them to find out what was important to new college graduates and alumni and then used that information to describe how their company fit those needs.  They attended the college fairs and interview days.  They posted their job opening on the school website. Finally, they volunteered to speak in classrooms to augment what the professor was teaching. This provided real-life application for the students and got their company name in front of potential candidates.

 2) Network. This hiring manager understood that time devoted to recruiting paid huge dividends in the long run.  Therefore, she used the “Always Be Recruiting” approach.  She viewed everyone with whom she came in contact as either a potential candidate or someone who could identify a potential candidate.   She identified sales reps from the competition that she seemed to be losing deals to and invited them out to breakfast or lunch for a conversation.  She asked her business colleagues for candidate referrals. She paid attention to the behaviors of others with whom she came in contact and when she saw a potential fit, she handed them a business card and said she would like to have a conversation.   The end result was that she found there were potential candidates around almost every corner.

3) The hiring manager updated their company website to make it more attractive to potential candidates.  The first thing a candidate will usually do when they find out about an opening is go to the website and try to discern what kind of an employer the company is. What the hiring manager initially found was that the company website was product focused and said very little about employment.  Therefore, she created a very visible “Career Opportunities” tab.  Within the career opportunities site, she added employee pictures and quotes from employees about their jobs and why they liked to work for the company.  Additionally, she added information about the company sponsored events, charities supported, and benefits provided.  Finally, she re-wrote the description about the opening so it sounded a little bit more like a marketing piece and less like a human resources legal document.  The goal was to peak their interest enough so they’d apply for the opening; she could show them the job description at a later point.

As you can see from the two examples above, fundamentally different approaches were followed but both yielded positive results. There are a lot of ways to recruit candidates. The key to successful recruiting is using the appropriate strategy based on your company’s needs and resources. The challenge of finding the top performing talent can be conquered if the right steps are taken.  This recruiting challenge is worth the effort because having the right people on the bus will drive the company to success.

Sally Brause is the Director of Human Resources Consulting for GreatAmerica Leasing Corporation. You can ask your hiring questions via email to sbrause@greatamerica.com and/or visit www.greatamerica.com

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