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How to Hire Top Talent: Four Steps to Gaining the Best Employees

04.25.2016

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It can be a struggle to find the perfect fit for your opening, and beyond that, finding true stars is a challenge. On top of that, while you may have the luck to interview some really special talent, that doesn't ensure that you'll be able to woo them to your company or that they'll want to stay with you. Luckily, there are steps that can be taken in order to make your company attractive to great employees and to find them in the first place. From searching to signing, here are four steps to hiring top talent:

1. Deeply define the role you're really looking for. Before you jump into the hiring pool, just hoping to find an ideal person and then adjust the role as necessary, do your own legwork. This will help you to ensure that you end up with a great person who can do just what you need, rather than a great person who has great skills that perhaps don't completely fill your gap. Discuss the attributes you need. Do you want a person with experience in coding, social media, and editing, who's looking to stay at a position for 5+ years and grow? Is there a personality type that will work best for the manager? Define your ideal candidate before beginning to help you find them.

2. Customize your outreach for the candidate you want. Once you know who you're looking for, you can and should customize your search methods. This will prove helpful for you, as job hunters are more attracted to listings with personality, rather than form notices; if you're looking for a light-hearted individual to fit your team's playful culture, keep the listing fun and breezy. Tailor the message and list of requirements to the ideal candidates, and you'll also find that the quality of resumes, for your needs, will go up, too. When you know the type of person you're looking for, too, you can customize where you reach out; there's a plethora of specific types of job sites (and specified recruiters), in addition to LinkedIn and the broader reaching ones. Place your ads there, and then also narrow down to use the smaller places where you know interest will be high, to curate the resumes you receive.

3. Customize the role and benefits to fit the career path of an ideal candidate. Think beyond the interview. Real top talented individuals are smart enough to think of future needs when they meet with you. So be sure that you've thought through this role before you bring anyone in. Offer the things that will matter to your ideal candidate. Are you hoping to bring in someone in a mid-level position who will stay for many years? In this case, be sure to emphasize the opportunities for steady career growth, specifically in the hiring position--and follow through. If moving costs or stakeholder issues will be of concern, bring them up, and prepare a plan for your candidate early.

4. Keep interviews reasonable, and follow up. Of course you'll want to ensure that the top talent you've recruited is truly a good fit, and you'll want to see him or her more than once. You'll likely want to have your candidate meet multiple people so you know the culture will work for all. Be wary, however, of making your candidate, especially a truly valuable one, jump through too many hoops. Too much back-and-forth, and a candidate may begin to weary of the process; more importantly, a talented candidate is likely to be applying to many places, so delaying a move forward for unimportant reasons could end in the swift and unexpected loss of your top choice. In all cases, keep the conversation moving when possible, and keep your candidates abreast of all updates. Even if you choose not to move forward with one, be upfront with them. Many industries are small, and when you treat all candidates thoughtfully, that information will be shared--sometimes to the types of the candidates that you will eventually want to end up hiring.

With these steps, and just a little bit of work in the prepping process, you can set your company up to hire top talent right away.