SCOPE and what you think you want versus need versus the reality of the situation
The more specific you make the job requirements, the fewer people are going to fulfill them. The fewer people that can fulfill them, the harder the role will be to fill and the more you are likely to have to pay that new employee. While it might be nice to want to clone the background of a high-performing employee or even the hiring manager his-or-herself, properly defining the role based on actual needs without unnecessary complications will save you time, energy, and frustration throughout the process.
When hiring managers first conceive of a position that will address their needs, it’s quite common to create a laundry list of skills and experience that would ensure their new team member would be equipped to tackle every imaginable challenge they might face in the role. While this might be a great way to start the brainstorming process, at some point sacrifices need to be made for the sake of pragmatism.
Ask yourself, “how many of these skills are essential to the position on day one, and how many can be learned on the job?” For skills and experience that truly can’t be learned easily or that are fundamental to the core function of the position, add them to your requirements lists (examples may be expert-level understanding of a particular concept, past management experience, or participation in a specific marketing function). For the skills and experience that would be advantageous in the role, but that can either be learned or demonstrated through other means, consider adding them to your bonus requirements (examples may be technologies your team is interested in learning, a particular degree that might be advantageous to the role, or a skill you are confident someone could learn in the future).
ENERGY and where to best focus your limited time and money
Once you have your new role properly and realistically scoped out, you’ll want to make sure you get the most from your time, budget, and hard work. In order to do this, you need to be selective about how you go about the search.
Finding a good job board is great, but even posting to a relatively small number can quickly eat up your time-budget, and most are not appropriate for every type of role. To make sure you aren’t posting somewhere that isn’t going to give you the traction you need, approach finding the job board as you would approach finding the job you are looking to fill. Search the internet for comparable roles and take note of where they are posted. Once you have a good idea of where your type of position is typically advertised, make a spreadsheet to track the different boards and the cost associated with posting there. This will allow you to select the boards that best fit in with your posting/advertising budget, and you’ll have some options to come back to if any of the boards don’t seem to be generating the candidate flow you would expect.
Posting job ads is not likely to fill every type of position though, especially if your company doesn’t have a lot of brand recognition or prestige. To fill these positions that don’t generate a sufficiently qualified applicant flow--no matter how many job boards and revisions to the ad you try--you’re going to have to start actively approaching talent. While this can be a daunting thought for many people unaccustomed to the type of work, there are some things you can try before calling in the experts.
First, make sure you have a strong referral system in place to leverage your existing employees’ social and professional networks. Good people know good people, so starting with people connected to your (hopefully) strong staff will give you a leg up.
Next, post an update to your social media networks on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn letting people know what you’re looking for along with a link to the job ad. Even if you don’t know someone that fits the bill, word can get around and you might find an introduction to a great candidate with relatively little investment of effort.
Finally, if none of this has generated the success you were hoping for, you may need to call in a professional or professionals that specialize in active candidate outreach. These recruiters will be able to assess your needs and actually go out into the field to identify, evaluate, and engage candidates that would be perfect for the role you’re looking to fill.
PROCESS and how to effectively manage your hiring pipeline
Now that you’ve put in the hard work to start generating strong flow of candidates that are interested and qualified for the job you may feel like the heavy lifting is over. While a lot of the most complicated and difficult tasks may be behind you, it would be a mistake to assume that this next step won’t have a tremendous impact on the ultimate success or failure of your search. We’re talking about the interview process, and you should ignore it at your own peril.
While filling a typical role may have a fairly familiar and predictable interview process, it’s often the little things that make the biggest differences.
Candidate experience, in particular, is something that is overlooked far too often to the detriment of the search. Taking days or weeks to respond to applicants is a sure way to lose out on candidates before you’ve even had a chance to speak to them and evaluate their skills and fit. Taking further days or weeks between interview steps will serve to weed out even more candidates along the way, and these are the people you were hoping to continue on in the process.
Similarly, hastily assembling an interview panel of inexperienced or poorly-briefed staff members will be more likely to work against your efforts than to generate a hire. Make sure everyone that speaks with a candidate knows exactly how and what they should be evaluating them for, and remember that candidates are simultaneously evaluating the role, company, and culture based on their experiences during the interview process.
Once you’ve found someone that can do the job, that is interested in the company and position, and that the team agrees would a great addition to the company, you would be wise to do what you can to bring that person on board. There will always be situations where you want to evaluate another seemingly-strong candidate in order to make an informed decision, but make sure that person is actually in the pipeline and moving forward in the process. Avoid continuing to “shop around” with the hope that the perfect candidate will suddenly appear (especially if you’ve already seen several candidates or the search has been going on for some time) or you will risk losing out on someone that could have fulfilled your needs and let you focus on your next most pressing priorities.
Hiring strong, qualified talent can be one of the biggest challenges most companies will face. Trying to do so in a timely fashion is just another complication that leads to frustration, long hours, and wasted resources. While much of the work described above can be tackled by existing team members looking to help with the hiring process, there are solutions that exist to aid in the process and ultimately improve every step of it along with the candidates it will produce.
The Sourcery has supported the hiring efforts of hundreds of growing companies and can assist you from beginning to end, or anywhere inbetween. As a professional services provider we’re happy to chat and help think through these issues as needed. When working with our clients, we start by scoping out the job requirements and help to write and post a strong ad. We source, identify, evaluate, and engage top talent (our particular specialty) as well as manage the rest of process as needed. Finally, we pass these specifically-targeted candidates along to you and advise on how to best move them through the interview process all the way to the offer stage.
At The Sourcery, we approach recruiting in a fundamentally different way than traditional fee based agencies. By working as an extension of our clients’ hiring teams, we are able to focus our resources on the highest priority and most challenging roles while removing the bulk of the process from the client. While the extra bandwidth and technical proficiency that we provide to these searches has a huge impact, there are several things that anyone looking to fill a role should consider.
Give us a call or shoot us an email and let us know how we can help! You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org :-)
Ryan Miller is the Director of Accounts at The Sourcery and oversees the recruiting services that deliver through in support of our clients. With more than a decade of recruiting experience including building and running a small recruiting company, Ryan is an expert in building and delivering on recruiting strategies for clients.