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“Dig your well before you’re thirsty.”

So says author Harvey Mackay, whose slightly offbeat advice can be just the right approach for employers to perfect their recruiting processes.

Mackay emphasizes the importance of being proactive as you build a strategy for hiring the best talent, the first time around.

Which practices should you adopt to fill your talent pool with superstars?

Recruit Your Ideal Candidate

It takes a team to succeed in recruitment planning.

  • Gather the troops. Assemble all the players who need to be involved in hiring – and ultimately working with – a new employee. Include not only your hiring manager and the prospective hire’s future supervisor, but also peers and those who currently hold similar positions. Job analyses and the development of job descriptions should be a team effort.
  • About that job description: Make sure it clearly delineates the responsibilities, behavioral traits, and outputs expected from the position.
  • Now that you’ve defined the job, define the candidate. As a group, compile a list of 5 to 10 key traits to evaluate resumes, conduct initial phone screens, and establish interview questions.

Successful Interviewing

An interview is about more than just “checking boxes” to ensure that a candidate has the right experience and skills – though these essentials can’t be overlooked. Treat it as an opportunity to get to know potential hires as the individuals they are. Will they be not just a good fit, but the right fit for your company?

  • Include behavioral questions. The logic behind this tactic is that the way an individual performed, and the level of success they achieved, in past situations is indicative of how they’ll do in the future. Ask questions and seek responses with measurable results. For instance, “Give me an example of how you led a team to improved business results” or “Did you ever make a risky decision? What was the outcome?”
  • Apply the 360-degree approach. Similar to your recruitment planning team, include a candidate’s potential peers, supervisors and direct reports in the interview. Then, you can assess finalists afterwards from the perspective of everyone involved.
  • Think about ditching the traditional interview format. Who says it has to be six people around a conference table in pin-striped suits? For optimal interpersonal interaction, you might want to invite candidates to a less formal gathering. Spotify holds “cultural interviews,” hosting top candidates at local restaurants where they enjoy drinks and snacks as they mingle with potential co-workers.

Tag Your Networks

There’s a reason why “networking” seems like the most overused term in the arguably endless list of business buzzwords (even “buzzword” is a buzzword, right?):

Tapping into your professional networks is really, really important.

  • It starts at home. Spread the word to your current employees about a position availability. They can help seek out superior candidates. Studies have shown that employee-referred hires tend to produce top results.
  • Cast your net wide. Attend conferences, trade shows and career fairs. Optimize your on-campus recruitment efforts. This is another excellent opportunity to involve your employees. Identify your current superstars and send them back to their alma maters to find their professional “mini me’s.” This will serve a double purpose, as it will boost their loyalty at the same time they attract new talent.
  • Remember the social media. Yes, you need to be LinkedIn. And tweet. And pay attention to Facebook and YouTube. It’s been proven that social media recruitment has a low cost and a high ROI.

When recruiting top talent, apply the same approach that works so well in most endeavors – work smart! Use your resources wisely and efficiently, and the payoff will exceed your greatest expectations.

Need additional guidance in winning the talent war? Contact one of the expert search consultants at BrainWorks to learn more.


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