You want the top people on the market to fill your open positions. It’s only natural. And deep down, you know that the talent is there. Somewhere. If only you could find it, sweet talk it, and bring it over to your side of the playing field.
Hiring the best people isn’t easy. Everybody would do it if it were easy.
Some star employees stumble into positions by accident. Some employers don’t realize what they’ve got until it’s gone. We’re here to put those worries to bed, so rest assured, cozy up, and sleep easy. There are recruiting secrets to hiring the very best.
But the naked truth is that there is no magic bullet.
Hiring the Best People Takes Hard Work
It’s time to put your HR head in the game.
There’s no need to rely on happy accidents in your recruitment. Instead, you’re going to need solid strategies, a little ingenuity, and a lot of elbow grease. There’s a lot of hard work ahead.
Hiring those at the top of their game needs you to be at the top of yours.
Ensure Candidates Gel with Company Culture
Your company culture is what makes or breaks your organization. It’s its lifeblood—the beating heart. Good company culture nips interpersonal conflicts in the bud. It keeps employees happy in the day-to-day, and it holds their focus when the going gets tough.
Culture is the difference between the employee who arrives at work with a go-getter attitude and the one who stumbles through the door nursing a hangover.
Culture is alive. It isn’t mandated from the top down. It is never static, always in flux. Above all, it’s an imprint of the persona of everybody who works at the company – and everybody brings their spices to the party.
Have you ever over-salted something before eating it? How easy was it to reverse the process?
It works the same with company culture: too much of the wrong spice will sour the pot.
A poor fit can and will create a domino effect. New hires who stir the nest, badmouth policy and cause conflict affect productivity to other employees’ happiness.
This is where a lot of interviews miss the mark. Naturally, it’s vital to know whether a candidate can get the job done. That’s why you’re offering to pay for their rent, insurance, groceries, and Netflix subscription.
But it’s equally crucial to understand how they’ll get the job done.
If the worst comes to pass and you let them go, you’re back to square one. Face the same problem again, and your culture suffers. Again. Guard your culture with your life; otherwise, it will die the death of a thousand cuts.
Don’t trash a candidate who passes all other metrics with flying colors simply because their views and values are slightly off. But don’t throw a llama into a herd of elk and expect business as normal. You’re not a flying circus.
Promote Internally Where Possible
You’ve already got a roster of good, proven employees working for you. That’s why they’re still with you. It’s easy to have blind spots when looking for people to promote. We’re human; we love novelty. New often feels better.
But don’t forget: internal hires have a lot going for them.
For starters, everybody is looking to grow. Promotion, and the delegation of new responsibilities, is a tried and true method of growth for anybody invested in their career.
In addition, it’s generally cheaper to promote rather than bring in outside talent. The average employer in the U.S. spends over $4,000 and around six weeks filling an open position.
Hiring internally cuts these costs way down. What’s more, promoted employees are already savvy on company policies, practices, and culture. They’ll be brought up to speed much faster than external hires.
Don’t be put off if this means looking to other branches in your company and providing additional training. Employee retention is spelled with a capital “E,” and it is fuelled by morale.
Conversely, passing solid employees over for promotion too often will weaken staff cohesion and morale. Too many external hires for mid-level and higher positions will eventually cause ambitious employees to seek opportunities elsewhere.
When your goal is to attract top talent, you’re often looking for a needle in a haystack. The unfortunate reality of filling positions that require the best talent is that they need to be filled quickly.
This is a mistake. Even if your first round of candidates boasts diamonds in the rough, you’re missing out if that’s as far as you take it. The faster you fill a position, the greater the likelihood that you’re missing out on the best of the best.
Unless it’s critical, consider shifting your hiring process into a lower gear. Don’t forget that your ideal new starter very well might be on six months’ notice and not actively seeking new opportunities.
Invest more time searching for candidates. Negotiate for longer. Pry. Dig in knee-deep in your interviews to understand what makes your potential tick.
If you’re looking to know your candidates on a deeper level, consider an informal social setting. Lunch is always good. Everybody likes lunch.
Of course, if you go too slowly with your process, your best talent might take another offer elsewhere. But a quick and dirty approach will rarely get you the results you want.
Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse
Whether you’re a lean startup or a long-standing company, we’ve all heard the stories. Open positions that remain unfilled for weeks, months, and years on end. You’ve no doubt heard the odd recruitment manager gripe that they can’t fill a position no matter how hard they try.
Some people wear giant chicken costumes for a living. Any position can be filled. The crux is in the offer. Money, yes – but a job is a whole lot more than a paycheck at the end of the month.
If you’re making an offer that isn’t up to scratch, your candidates won’t be, either. Company perks come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. Be as generous as you can, and look for ways to include a cherry on top to make your offer the best it can be.
And no severed horse heads, please.
Optimize Your Interview for Talent
Roll up your sleeves and put your interviews to the whetstone.
The elite employees you’re hankering for have a platter of opportunities to choose from. You will need razor-sharp interview questions to lure the best over to your side.
Get well-read on the interviewee’s side of the story. Good talent will be interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them, and the sort of candidate you’re looking for will read between the lines in a heartbeat.
A common strategy is to throw curveballs in an interview and see how people react. While this often looks great on paper, bear in mind that different candidates react in different ways in front of an audience.
Consider introverts versus extroverts. Ask your candidate to hum a tune or perform a dance, and you might as well throw your introverted candidates out the window.
You want to recruit the best employees, not hire a dance troupe (unless you’re a flying circus). So, instead of throwing the sort of curveballs you’ve heard about via corporate urban legends, look to ways you can optimize your interview to allow candidates to showcase their true abilities their way.
You might even consider preparing a candidate for a specific test you’re going to hit them with. “This is what’s going to happen,” you explain in a prep email. “Show us how you deal with it, and tell us what you’ll need to demonstrate.”
Stand Out From the Crowd
Never be afraid to stand out from your competition and do things a little differently. Take, for instance, online recruitment platforms. Nine times out of ten, an opening for a position will have a similar title and short-form description.
With thousands of pairs of eyes passing over the same perceived opportunities every day, what’s in there to make yours stand out? When searching for the best talent, you need to land a good first hook.
Consider the following job listings:
- “Senior Software Engineer Wanted”
- “Seeking the laziest code monkey in the world for an overworked and underpaid team”
Ever seen the second one in the wild? No?
Perhaps it’s about time. It’d certainly snap up attention and generate traffic.
Of course, your approach needn’t be this crass. But it never hurts to think outside the box. After all, you need to cast the widest net to attract the biggest fish. To do this, you’ll want to grab the attention of as many candidates as possible.
Otherwise, your shooting star might never even know you exist.
Adapt Your Hiring Strategies Regularly
We’re living in the post-pandemic.
In-office, home-office, and hybrid options have become commonplace. Your hiring strategy needs constant tweaking to keep up to date with trends in the market.
One of the key benefits of the wholesale shift of balance towards remote working is the doors that open for employers. A part of your workforce no longer needs to be local – or willing to relocate.
Now more than ever, your hiring strategies need to account for global reach to connect with the best talent. But that’s not all.
You’re probably already tracking metrics such as employee retention, interview tactics, and candidate drop rate. But these need steady pruning and constant review.
Relying on the same old interview format, the same tired interview panel, and the same twenty-question structure is old news. You won’t get new results if you rely on old tactics. It’s as simple as that.
Maintain Good Relations with Unsuccessful Candidates
You’ve found your Captain Fantastic. Their start date is set, hands have been shaken, and the contract printed and sent over to be signed. And then…
They’ve vanished off the face of the earth, and you’re left high and dry. While second and third choices aren’t your preference, they’re still sitting on the bench and capable of coming up to bat.
It’s not ideal, but it’s a solution. And it might save a great deal of expense in the long run. But settling for second-best isn’t the only reason you should extend an olive branch to unsuccessful candidates.
The internet is a court of public opinion. Coming off as curt, disrespectful, or downright rude can land you with negative repercussions if you’re unlucky.
Disgruntled candidates who feel unsatisfied with your hiring process might leave bad reviews or spread unflattering rumors about your company via word of mouth.
You never want to miss out on a star candidate because somebody else’s badmouthing turned them away before you could get a word in.
Maintaining healthy, professional relations with unsuccessful candidates will endear you to them – and may even come in handy if you have another open position they’d be perfect for later down the line.
It’s Time to Up Your Hiring Game
Don’t settle for a second rate.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a feisty startup or a long-standing organization with a hiring list as long as your arm. Everybody needs good people, meaning you have to be creative when finding top talent.
There are no two ways about it.
Hiring the best people requires the best strategy. By now, you should have a good idea of the best practices to apply. Ultimately, the onus is on you and your HR team to implement a winning formula.
Contact us to learn more about the digital transformation services we offer.