If you've tried to hire for any high-skilled position lately you already know it's a seller's market out there. Employees with proven skills in technology--and most other areas--are getting harder and harder to hire. But most companies are still behaving as though it's the job candidate's job to sell them on why they should get a job offer, with no need for the employer to sell the candidate on why they should take the job.
That creates an opportunity for smart companies that understand that when a candidate applies for a job, they're selling as well as buying, says Amy Aho, a recruiter for staffing software company TempWorks. Here's her advice for winning the talent wars:
1. Know exactly who you need before you start.
Before you start looking for a new employee, talk to the manager or managers who will be working directly with that employee to make sure you know exactly what skills they need most. You should also set expectations with them about what skills you'll be able to hire within the budget you have.
If you find job candidates for them to review, make sure to get managers' feedback afterward. "This will help avoid wasting the time and energy of everyone involved," Aho notes.
2. Get out and meet people.
Face to face connections are still a powerful way to do business, especially where trust is required. And few transactions require as much trust as hiring someone or being hired. Meeting in person, Aho says, "You have a better chance of having a meaningful conversation and creating a strong impression with valuable potential candidates."
That's why she suggests setting yourself the goal to attend a certain number of networking events every quarter. "Be creative and open minded when choosing events," she adds. "With the ever-changing diversity of talent, you never know when these connections will come into play."
3. Spruce up your branding and recruitment materials.
It's just as important to give a good sense of your organization to potential recruits as it is to customers. So make sure all your public facing materials, including phone scripts, job ads, job applications and marketing materials reflect your company as you want others to see it. "Don't be afraid to make adjustments as you go because it is necessary to evolve your strategy when circumstances change," Aho says.
4. Build relationships with other executives within your industry.
"While attending career fairs or industry conferences, talk to other vendors in neighboring booths to find ways in which you can potentially help each other as long as your individual objectives are not conflicting or competing," Aho advises. The benefit is that if a job candidate is not a good match for your company, you can refer him or her to one of your contacts. Both employer and employee will appreciate and remember the gesture. And they may return the favor by sending qualified candidates your way.
5. Always keep learning.
This may not seem like it has a lot to do with recruiting, but it does, according to Aho. "When you have opportunities to speak with top talent, you will be prepared to have educated conversations about their industry," she explains. "You will become a trusted resource through credibility and respect." That will make you someone they want to come work with and it can turn you into your company's biggest recruiting asset of all.