Tips for Finding Top Talent

Employees, on average, switch jobs every four to five years. Younger workers change every three years. You would think this type of job hopping in the market would make it easier for companies to pick up top talent. However, making a hire and making an outstanding hire are two different things, and the difference can affect your bottom line.

So, how can companies excel at finding top talent instead of merely filling open positions? Gone are the days of posting a single ad on a recruiting website and hoping you’ll attract that next superstar candidate. With today’s competitive job market, the time has come for employers to get more creative in their recruiting efforts and seek out recruiting tips wherever they can.

Over 80 percent of hiring managers and human resources professionals say hiring talent is their top concern. Organizations should cast a wide net when searching for potential candidates. Recruiting managers should understand what’s attractive to potential employees. What motivates them? What attracts them? What makes your organization stand out to candidates looking for their next position? Where are candidates looking for their next job?

By expanding your recruiting methods, and becoming more creative in the process, you’ll be able to attract those stellar candidates to your company.

Let’s look at five tips for finding top talent.

Develop a Talent Strategy

You need to look at your current talent strategy. Don’t have one? It’s time to develop your organization’s plan for talent acquisition.

Start by identifying what you expect from every role and position in your organization, from the top down. Write a job description for each role. Create inputs and outputs. Not only does this help you get a better grasp on your open positions, but it also enables you to recruit and hire people who fit with your company and fit the job for which they’re interviewing.

When people are hired for roles that play to their strengths, they are more engaged, efficient, and productive. They thrive in their positions and are successful. This helps the company succeed as well.

However, if you don’t delve into the position itself and understand its role within the larger organization, how do you know who to recruit for that position? Just hiring to hire is not a strategy. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Take the time to create a talent strategy and watch your company thrive.

Identify Your Ideal Job Candidate

Once you’ve developed your talent strategy, it’s time to identify the ideal job candidate. Who would be best for the role for which you’re hiring? What are the values and attributes a candidate would need to possess? What skills and experiences are required? How should this person handle complex challenges? How should this person communicate? Or lead a team?

Get some feedback from the employees in the division or department where the role is available. What are their thoughts on an ideal candidate?

Do you currently have a high-performing employee in the same or a similar position? What makes that employee so great? What skills and attributes allow that employee to achieve success in that role? Jot down those attributes and let those serve as a barometer for the position. Then, find the candidate to fit those attributes.

Ask pointed questions in interviews. Give the candidate the chance to tell you about how he or she handled a big success or a big failure. How does that candidate work under stress? How does he or she handle challenges or interpersonal relationships? Provide scenarios and let your candidate respond. Get to know your candidate during the interview process. Make sure they fit the role for which your interviewing.

A CareerBuilder survey stated that 43 percent of the respondents made bad hires because of the pressure to hire someone quickly. Whether the urgency was caused by other employees leaving or current employees being overworked, hiring a someone without vetting that person to see if he or she is the right fit isn’t good for the company—or that new employee.

If organizations hire without taking the time to identify the ideal job candidate, then you may have inadvertently created a revolving door issue—employees leave shortly after being hired. This isn’t a good look for prospective employees.

Create an Online Presence

Make sure that you have a strong, up-to-date online presence. When a candidate becomes aware of an open position at your company, one of the first things they’ll do is to go to your website. Will it make a compelling first impression? Or does it have little content, or is it out-of-date?

Make sure that your website loads quickly and that it’s mobile-friendly. You want pictures of your team and a description of your story. Who are you? What do you do? Is your culture reflected on your website?

Provide links to your social media pages on your website. You want to be active on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other social media outlet that applies to your business and industry.

If you don’t think social media applies to your organization, think again. It’s no longer the future. It’s a requirement. According to a recent study, 93 percent of job recruiters currently use or plan to use social media for their recruiting processes. By engaging with your social media audience and showing your company in a positive light, you’ll become attractive to potential candidates.

Leaving a social footprint is critical these days. Potential employees want to work for a company that is technologically advanced. Prospective employees also want to be involved in a company that’s plugged into the community and demonstrate an excellent, diverse company culture. Demonstrate your company’s story, mission, culture, and involvement through your social media and website. Doing so will attract high-level job candidates.

Leverage Your Employees’ Networks

Although hiring managers do still use third-party job boards to attract talent, the top channel for recruiting talent is employee referrals. If your employees enjoy working at your company while feeling challenged and appreciated, they’ll refer their friends and colleagues to your open positions. Your employees are your organizations best brand ambassadors. Talented employees attract talented employees.

Employees are your most valuable asset, and thus, they play a pivotal role in securing top talent for your organization. When employees refer their friends, they become more engaged in your organization. However, if that referral isn’t treated well, or doesn’t succeed, then that can reflect back on the employee.

Make sure you’re building a referral culture within your organization. Hoping your employees will refer outstanding candidates to you may not get you to the referral program you wanted. That’s like wishing for profits and then sitting back to see if they come rolling in.

Organizations should structure their employee referral programs with clear parameters, rules, and goals so that all employees understand the program. Additionally, employers should properly incentivize current employees to refer. Incentives should be part of the recruiting process, though – not just once the referral is hired.

Finally, optimize your employee referral process by further leveraging your employees’ social networks. Your employees have hundreds, if not thousands, of contacts through LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. If your organization has an open position, an employee may consider their friends or acquaintances for that position. More than likely, they won’t (and can’t) review all of their LinkedIn connections searching for a fit.

To counter this, however, you can build a process that will access your employees’ networks to search for those referral connections. It becomes easy for your employees to refer, and you’ve just increased your talent pool access.

Create a Great Candidate Experience

From the moment the candidate reviews your job posting, to when they come in for an interview or two, to when you follow-up with them, create an experience. Many top hiring managers emphasize the importance of creating a stellar candidate experience – and it starts with pretty simple things. For example, introduce them to the team they might work with. Show them around the office. Let them see how you operate and function.

When you have a referred candidate come in during the recruiting process, personalize the interview. Acknowledge that they’re a referral. Offer top-shelf customer service to them. Involve the employee who referred them to the company.

Not all candidates, or even referred candidates, will get an offer from your company. When you reject a candidate, do so with a personalized letter or email. Let them know why they weren’t hired. Give them suggestions for future roles, at your company or other companies. You never know, you may have an opportunity to hire that candidate at a future date.

Top talent does exist. However, with today’s highly competitive market, it’s harder to find than ever. Use the tips above to boost your recruiting practices. By using creative and innovative strategies, you’ll find ideal candidates. As a bonus, you’ll impress your current employees and increase your retention of both existing employees and new employees along the way.

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