“Name your highest valued asset?”
Managers: “Our people”
“Name your greatest challenge?”
The same managers: “Finding the right people”
Nothing could be more accurate. Recruiting is as crucial as it is challenging. It is difficult to find exceptional people who hold the desired competencies and values, match the company culture, are available and out on the market openly looking for new opportunities, and on top of it — rank your firm as their first hand choice when deciding on a new work home.
Needless to say, this is not news to anyone. Companies in all industries have tried to solve the hiring puzzle since…well the beginning of jobs. Yet, most firms react to hiring situations as either complete surprises, or emergencies; that might explain why so many do it so poorly. The size of the organization, number of recruitments each year, or the level of detail of HR’s recruitment plan doesn’t seem to matter. Whenever you open a search to find new team members, it feels like you are starting from a blank piece of google sheet. The one thing you are sure of is that you want them to hit the ground running, now, which means preferably yesterday. Unfortunately, the common quick fix; publishing a creative job ad and crossing your fingers should hardly ever be viewed as a decent solution.
That is why recruitment must be considered as a constant flow rather than a one-time transaction based on an urgent need. Proactive recruiting means to go beyond a quarterly hiring plan. It’s a strategy that focuses on engaging, sourcing, and connecting with candidates, ahead of the hiring demand — continuously.
So how do you do it?
1. Source where it matters
Recruiting is rarely about quantity but quality. Create an ideal candidate profile that mirrors the needed characteristics to succeed at your firm. These should be closely tied to culture, values, and skills rather than requirements since the need for technical qualification changes over time, values don’t.
The best way to go about finding the people who match your profile is not via a descriptive job ad on LinkedIn since quality candidates are not necessarily looking for a new job. Instead, be on the platforms that are built for proactive recruitment. Exparang’s matching tool is one example where companies are matched with both active and passive candidates, with the sole purpose to create long lasting relationships based on mutual values and potential in addition to skill set and experience.
2. Engage and care
A profile match doesn’t mean you have a fully committed candidate. Engage your network and target candidates with relevant content, personalized updates and take the time to meet them. Not only will you as an employer tie your talent pool closer, but you will also gain market insight and benchmark when meeting with more people.
3. Convert and hire
The constant flow of candidates and a network well taken care of does make the final stage, converting and hiring, so much more enjoyable. Instead of making that emergency call to a headhunter, you contact your preferred candidates directly. At this stage you will most likely have a high quality and diverse long list of candidates who are already familiar with your EVP, Employee Value Proposition, meaning interviewing can go more in depth. But remember, the process should still follow protocol with tests, work samples and structured interviews.
Taking a proactive approach on recruitment pays off. However, it does require a proper strategy and daring to flip the traditional transactional process around. But if your company truly sees yourself as a people-centric business, you need to stop treating recruitment as a big surprise. It’s a constant flow that in the end serves one purpose, finding your organization’s most important asset — your people.
Hedvig Öster — Talent & Communication Advisor at Exparang