Searching In All The Right Places

Looking for the right people for your company is very similar to the way that your sales team looks for business.  Especially now when the competition for good people is so intense, your HR people or whoever is conducting the search has to handle the search for the right candidate exactly like your sales team is doing.

In fact, in some instances, they have to do more than the sales team since it is much more difficult at this time to find a good hire than it is to find a new customer. There are more potential new customers – by far –  than there are potential new candidates.

But most of the time your search team, well, all of us for that matter, are guilty of not using the right approach. We need to dig down and start using the exact same tactics that a sales team would use.

The company is the product you are selling. Just like in sales you need to develop an appealing story about your company, a story that demonstrates how great your company is, that you are doing important work, work that matters and that it is a wonderful place to work. You have to look at your company as your product.

Once you have defined your product , the company you will go use the exact same tactics that salespeople use:

Ask yourself:

  • Who is the target customer (person)? Who am I selling to?
  • What is the ideal customer (candidate) profile of the person we want in our organization?
  • What is their background?
  • What education or experience do they have?
  • What positions did they hold previously?
  • What are their goals for the future?
  • What kind of position are they looking for?
  • What are they looking for in a company?
  • Are they ambitious?
  • Are they aggressive?
  • Will they fit in well with our organization?
  • What are their financial needs?
  • Who are my competitors?
  • Why are people choosing to work for them and not our company?

And don’t forget to add your own set of questions that are unique to your own company.

Once armed with your company’s appealing story, the description of your ideal candidate and your “sales” tactics it is time to aggressively set out to find the right person.

This means more than just placing an ad in a magazine or using some of the website search companies like Monster or Indeed and then sitting back and waiting for something to happen. What if your sales manager came to you and said, “there are just no customers out there. We have done an intensive search and come to the conclusion that all customers are gone. They are all working with our competitors so we cannot find any new ones.” If your sales manager told you that, he’d be heading down the road pretty fast and you’d have another search to handle.

Just like sales, looking for good candidates is a very proactive process. You have to develop new and innovative ways to find the right candidates. Yes, you can use the big web sites and certainly you can advertise in your trade magazines but just like in sales, there is much more to it than that.

You have to reach out to your network – for example ask your vendors who they know that might be a good fit for your company. Your vendors want your business, they want to be on your good side. They will help you if they can.

Finally, there are your own people, your own employees. You can set up a referral program with financial incentives to employees who recommend a good candidate that you eventually hire. But be careful, your company better be a great company to work for. Otherwise the last thing people are going to want to do is invite some of their friends to work there as well. So, before you do this make sure your “house is clean” and that your company is a great place to work.

The incentive program should be attractive enough to your employees that they will actively work at bringing in the right people. This means paying real money when you hire the person they recommended. Pay on hiring, not after their candidate has been at the company for six months. Delayed payment only serves to water down the incentive. Offer something significant enough that the employees will really work at bringing in the right people.

And don’t forget another employee incentive helping you to find the right candidates. These candidates are going to be their co-workers, they are going to have to work with them, so you can be sure they will be extra careful about whom they recommend! It’s only common sense.