Strategies for Finding Top Talent

Your corporate web site should be the place where you focus a lot of time and money. The web site should be the primary recruiting tool. It should be interactive, tailored to the audience, and frequently updated. Your own web site should be the most important part of your recruiting strategy.

Make every employee a recruiter by supplying them with business cards telling people to log onto your web site. Pass out flyers at events that promote your web site. Use employees to do the distribution by offering them free passes to shows and other events on the condition that they give out flyers or cards. Let your imagination guide you in developing inexpensive programs that attract people to your web site.

Employee referral programs rank second in my list of importance. The average organization with a good referral program gets around 40% of its hires from them! Pretty impressive, very cheap, and an added benefit is that those hired from job referrals tend to stay longer than other hires.

Recruiters who are skillful at mining the web using robots, search engines and techniques such as site flipping can find an impressive array of potential employees. I recommend firms with large hiring needs employ a skilled electronic sourcer, whom I call an e-sourcer, to feed potential candidates to recruiters with less Internet skill.

Job fairs are minimally effective for most firms. The keys to effective job fair participation include having a booth staffed with technically savvy people who can answer the questions techies often have, an interactive and exciting demo of the products you offer and of the company, and a clear marketing and branding image to attract people. Why would anyone walking along stop at your booth? What would make them remember you a day or two later? Companies need a well thought out and implemented approach to job fairs. If you don’t have this, skip the whole thing.

If you use display or classified ads for professionals, focus the content on driving people to your web site. Use an aggressive campaign to get people to your web site, which is where you can offer them lots of information and get them really excited about your organization.

Really good people are usually (not always) working and not actively seeking a new job. This makes it more important to develop ways to attract this so-called passive job seeker. Job boards aren’t the place to do that. Using these boards can lead to success, but it is increasingly difficult to sort through the volume. The prices to access them are rising and many of the people posted on the boards are not the very best.

Long-Term Strategies

– developing internship and college recruiting programs
– relationship building programs for working professionals
– talent development programs, internally and externally

Relationship Marketing

Treat every candidate exactly how YOU would like to be treated. Make perfect customer service your goal for 2002. Once people do come to visit your web site, make sure you respond to every applicant with an acknowledgement and with a follow-up message a few days later. Do this even if they aren’t even close to what you are looking for. Why? They each influence at least 3 other people, anyone of which may be the perfect candidate. Never treat an inquiry or potential candidate lightly! Spend the money and time to answer the phone or respond to emails and give candidates meaningful and correct updates on their status. Follow up interviews with feedback. You will be shocked at the response when you provide information to candidates on why they were successful or not. Sometimes in the follow-up you can even find other positions in the firm where they better fits.

Ask them for referrals to other candidates and refer THEM to other firms where their skills may be a match. Make this whole process one of relationship, of mentoring, and of mutual respect. These people are way too valuable to be treated superficially in the way recruiters have done for decades.

Some candidates are worth more than others. Capitalize on Potential candidate differences. All candidates are not the same. Don’t treat them that way. Know who your most valued (valuable) potential candidates are and develop special programs for them. Offer a person who has a particularly desirable set of skills an express interview process. Offer them VIP treatment during the interview and provide them with extra information or access to key senior staff. But use these tools just for the best. Use some program for every candidate, and make them all feel special, but be sure to place extra effort on those candidates who can really add value to your company. This differentiation of candidates is critical to successful closing, and well-qualified candidates expect the best.

Focus your marketing on these special candidates. Get to know the type of candidate that is most valuable to your firm and focus your marketing and advertising on them. Send them emails or letters; go to the events they attend, work on developing a list of key people you would like to have work in your firm. This can be broken out by function. They can work for competitors. They can never have heard of you before. What you have to do is develop a relationship with them via email or in person. Offer them information and seek their permission to send them updates and additional facts about your firm. Many will agree to this. Then you have to make sure you have good material to offer. Over time you will be able to attract many employees by developing this relationship. Cisco and others have created “Make a Friend” programs where anyone who visits your web site can ask to be matched with someone with interests or skills similar to theirs.