It looks like it’s shaping up to be another great year for job seekers and a tough year for employers struggling to find and keep their employees. The “war for talent” rages on.
Don’t let those negative headlines get you down, though. With a good recruitment process and retention plan in place, you will be able to build a thriving team.
Today we are going to focus on the 9-steps of strong recruitment and look at how you can consistently dedicate attention in a highly structured way to achieve big results.
It starts with setting the stage for success.
Set the Stage for Success
Just as a theater troupe builds a backdrop and designs costumes that attract people to their show, hiring companies need to set the stage for success as well and that is done by building a strong employer brand. A strong brand always garners the interest of talented candidates, but this is especially true in today’s market.
Candidates want to know who you are as a company, what your mission is, and what it’s like to work there.
Before active recruitment begins, you’ll want to focus on your reputation and your online presence. When a candidate searches for your company, what do they find? Consider ways you can round out their understanding by pushing good content out like short video clips of current employees sharing why they like working with you, a virtual tour of your office if you are working from one, or messages from employees on the quality of your benefits.
Set Aside Small Blocks of Time
No one has free time in their day for recruitment. No one.
As much as leaders may want to build a strong talent bank and hope to find great job candidates, without dedicated time set aside (in concrete), it’s just not going to happen. Instead, schedule a 30-minute recurring appointment with yourself each week and spend that non-interrupted time focusing on the specific activities that will help you build and nurture your Talent Bank.
Set a goal to interview 1-2 people every week, 52 weeks of the year and you will save yourself a ton of money and time when a job comes open.
Analyze What Success Looks Like in a Specific Position
No two jobs are the same. The recruitment process is a lot like a pegboard, and it requires a bit of reflection. Think of the job as the hole in the board and the person you will eventually hire as the peg. It’s important to get the fit right.
Start by analyzing the jobs you are likely to have available in the next six months. Every sales job is a bit different, and you’ll get the best results if you have a clear idea of exactly what you will expect and need in a role.
With a specific role in mind, ask yourself questions like:
- How much new business development will I expect?
- What accounts will I assign and how sophisticated will they be?
- What am I willing to pay? And for how long?
- What qualities will make a new hire a good culture fit here?
Using everyday language (you’re the only one who will see this), write a summary of what this job will look like that you can refer to moving forward.
Create a “Shopping List”
With that job summary in hand, it’s time to start thinking about the Talents, Skills, and Experiences that will lead to success in the job and build a “shopping list.”
Ask yourself, what are the innate abilities (talents) that would be necessary for success in this role? For example, if they will be primarily focused on new business development, you will want someone who is naturally able to build rapport, connect with new people, and quickly understand their unique needs.
Also, what skills would you need your new hire to already have before starting the job (versus skills you would be willing to train)? For example, you may have an expectation that the person you hire will be proficient in building PowerPoint presentations or working with Excel.
Finally, consider what would be the minimum level of experience they could have under their belt to be successful in this role? For example, will you require a college degree? Will you need someone who has a few years of doing this job elsewhere?
Now that you have a clear picture of what you need in a candidate and your “must-have” talents, skills, and experiences, it’s time to take action!
List of Trusted Sources
The best action to take is to start gathering a list of people whose opinions you trust and respect so you can start seeking referrals.
Our annual research illustrates the strength of a referral network in the hiring process. When we study the very best salespeople and trace them back to their original source, we find that more than 30% of superstar sellers are found through a referral.
When making this list, include people who are a good judge of character, those who know a lot of people and are generally well-connected, and those who would be happy to help. Consider clients, coworkers, business leaders in the community, current employees, past employees, family, and friends.
That list is the ticket for entry to the Nominator System.
The Nominator System!
Now you have a great list of people to reach out to. Don’t ask them if they have names of people you should talk to, and don’t ask if they know any salespeople who are looking! Instead, think back to those “must-have” talents, skills, and experiences, and ask who they know who aligns with what you need.
For example, this might sound something like, “I am always working to build a strong Talent Bank of people who have the right stuff to succeed here, and I’ve found that our very best hires have come recommended to us by people we trust, like you. Right now, I’m looking for candidates with a few specific characteristics and I’m wondering if you may know someone who fits the bill. Who do you know who is always buttoned up, handles details, well, and is always on top of things? Also, who do you know that is great at uncovering the needs of others and always offers well-thought-out solutions?"
Providing specific details in this way allows the person you are speaking with to quickly sort through the people they know and focus on those who fit your defined needs. Let the referrals roll in.
Ask the Right Questions
You’ll want to be prepared to turn these referrals into job candidates quickly.
Make sure you have these ready to go:
1. A thank you note to send to the person who sent you the referral.
2. A message to send to the referral letting them know you are dedicated to building a strong talent bank and you were given their name as someone who may be a strong match for an open position in the future.
3. A validated talent assessment to give you insight into their unique strengths.
4. A set of structured interview questions you can ask to better understand the personality and likely fit of the candidate.
Look and Listen
You can also learn a lot about a person outside of the specific questions and answers volleyed during an interview. Paying attention to their unconscious behaviors will provide great insight into their likely future behaviors, their strengths, and even their potential performance.
With your antennae up and your “must have” characteristics top of mind, you will pick up a lot of valuable information. Using the example above, if you know you need someone who is buttoned up, handles details well, and is always on top of things, you should take note of things like:
- Did they show up on time or early for the interview?
- Had they done their research in advance and were they prepared?
- Do they bring up and take pride in their ability to prioritize, create a strong process, or organize their activity?
Never Stop Recruiting
If you wait until you are hungry to go to the grocery store, everything looks good, and you can make some really bad choices. Recruiting and hiring is no different. If you wait until you have a job opening to start looking, every candidate will look better than they are, and you could make a costly mistake.
Avoid that by keeping your eyes open for sales talent all of the time – especially when you’re not hiring. When you spot someone, you feel has the talents, skills, and experience you may need in the future, add their name to your Talent Bank so you can keep in touch and nurture that relationship.
The strong recruitment process you have put in place will help you ensure you always have a thriving team.