To Recruit Top Talent, Publishers Need an Ongoing Strategy, Not Haphazard Hiring Sprees
People say good talent is hard to find. I say there is plenty of great talent out there, but understanding how to go about finding them is the tricky part. The key is to first identify what your specific needs are – not just in the role itself, but from an organizational perspective – and then the recruitment process becomes easier, more effective, and an ingrained part of your organizational DNA. In short, recruitment requires the same kind of well thought out strategy that guides the rest of your business because it is just as important.
This blog post part one of a two-part series on finding great talent. Part one will focus on the recruitment process, and part two will explore how to interview prospective employees.
Preparation Is Paramount
Before you kick off your hiring process, you need to plan your recruitment strategy. I love the saying, “Don’t expect success…prepare for it.” This is 100% true for finding, recruiting, and hiring great talent.
Before you go out and “find” someone, you need to think through the type of organization you are. What is your organizational brand -- the personality, image, culture, and values of your organization? (See my last post on building a company culture here.) Are you a quiet, physically separated, and head’s down sort of organization, or are do you have a team environment where everything is done within groups? Is it a formal environment or more casual? Do you support and promote a work-life balance? Those are important questions to consider and be able to answer. Once you can define and explain your unique organizational brand, you will be much better equipped to find talent that blends well with – and adds to – the organizational fiber.
Next, you’re organization needs to embrace a recruitment mindset. How important is recruiting to your organization, overall? Is it as important as managing financials, finding operational efficiencies, and driving sales? If not, you risk relegating recruitment to a side task that then becomes an urgent fire drill once a position is vacant. Recruiting requires continuous effort, discipline, momentum, and excitement in order to capture the best talent. If you are only in “recruiting mode” when there is an opening, it makes the process much more difficult. Just like going to the gym a week before vacation and expecting to be “beach ready” – it simply doesn’t happen.
Job Description Vs. Selection Profile
Several years ago, our firm realized the traditional “job description” just wasn’t working – it wasn’t helping us find the right “type” of candidates for our clients. The traditional job description focused more on the duties of a particular role, and less on the behaviors and actions we wanted to see from the person that would be successful in that role. So we turned the job description upside down and called it a “Selection Profile.” The Selection Profile leads with the outcomes the person in the role is expected to achieve, as well as the behaviors, actions, and competencies they should possess in order to achieve the outcomes. Of course, we continue to look for knowledge, skills, and experience, but by focusing on the right talent sets, it helps us run a more efficient and powerful recruitment process.
How to Create a Selection Profile
Always lead the Selection Profile with “the why” -- why is this role important? If you are going to hire a position, why is this role impactful to/in the organization? If our clients can’t tell us why the role is critical, we either keep asking questions to uncover “the why”, or we suggest we might be trying to “hire” the wrong position. Think about impact this position will make daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. Lead with impact, so when a potential candidate reads the Selection Profile, it will speak directly to the ways in which the role will help the organization succeed. They can see themselves delivering those outcomes.
What are the most important deliverables this role must make on a continuous basis? These are not the everyday “tasks and duties”, but the most critical responsibilities that will move the needle for the organization. If they only do “these things” on regular basis, will that move the organization forward? List these items in a clear, succinct way. This list should be short and powerful and not cover everything, just the most important deliverables. The right candidate will light up knowing they can deliver to this expectation.
How will you measure these deliverables? If you can’t measure, how will you know they are making impact? Be creative. Some deliverables will not be linked to a “number,”but to the outcomes, actions, and behaviors you see that provides critical movement in the organization.
Lastly, put in the elements that are still relevant and important to the role, but no longer your lead story such as skills, experience, education, and certifications. These elements are still important, but I firmly believe this new structure will help your opportunity stand out to the right talent, and help shape how the relationship starts.
3 Ways to Fill Your Recruitment Funnel
There are a number of ways publishers can fill their recruitment pipeline, beyond the traditional job posting. Publishers can also pursue passive job seekers and develop a “bench” of future prospects.
If you want to pursue active job seekers, post your open position in all the places you think your potential talent will look and read. In today’s world, there are endless places and ways to post a job opportunity. How do you choose which platforms to use? Think about the very first part of this post and the DNA and personality of your organization. Think about your organization and the specific role you want to fill. Then narrow your options to the platforms that are the best match for those two elements.
For example, if your organization is known for community outreach, why not post in a community blog or newsletter, or even sponsor a tent at a community event? Go where you talent is to entice them to read and learn about your organization and the opportunity. More and more, talent is looking for the right lifestyle match, versus just the “job match.” Think that through and be creative in your approach to where and how you get the word out about an opportunity.
Organizations should also consider “passive” candidates. Passive candidates are not actively looking for a new job. They are happy in their current role and are not seeking a new one. Until they hear of yours. Our search team loves this approach. It is harder and more time-consuming at the front end to entice candidates to leave their current position, but the results are powerful. The potential “passive” candidate who decides to jump into the recruitment process is usually very interested and committed to continuing the conversation.
If your organization doesn’t have any current openings, consider building out your “bench.” Creating a bench means developing a robust list of people you would like to meet, have had great conversations with about their career path and desires, or have discussed your organization’s story, culture, and impact.
Creating a bench seems like an ominous approach: what if I like them and they like us, but I don’t have an opening? Or worse, what if I don’t like them and they don’t like us? Over-thinking is over-rated. Remember the goal of creating a bench is to have a conversation and get to know what talent is out there, what interesting things they are doing, and what is important to them. Take this as an opportunity to learn about how you can create a better environment for you team, what you might not be thinking of that could work with your organization, or trends you recognize as important to future recruits. All of these things will make you a better recruiter. Better recruiter = better team. Better team = more impactful outcomes. More impactful outcomes = happier you.
Now you're ready to start talking candidates who might be a great fit for your organization. In part two of this post, I'll provide tips and strategies to help you navigate the maze of the interviewing process.
As CEO/President of Accendo International, Kimberly is a seasoned strategist who provides expert guidance to C-Suite executives, senior-level management, corporate and nonprofit boards, and managers identified as high-potential performers. Her deep experience across numerous industries enables her to help clients around the globe identify and execute human capital strategies that elevate ROI through greater organizational capabilities and performance.