By ALISHA FREDERICK
Although the burgeoning job market has been a boon for business growth, it has created unprecedented pressure on recruiting and hiring. Talented people have always been difficult to find, but the current employment landscape has only made that talent rarer and the recruiting process more competitive.
For advisors, that can mean a cap in growth until essential roles are filled, whether they are sales or back-office roles. An unfilled position can mean limits on your ability to add more clients and can strain the relationships with the clients you already have as they too begin to feel that the business is at or above capacity.
Bringing in the right candidates is often the most important step a business takes to grow.
Today, recruiters are salespeople. Top candidates have their choice of positions or, perhaps, are not actively applying to new positions. This means that more businesses must rely on extensive outreach and sourcing campaigns to fill critical roles. This has always been the case to some degree. Historically, headhunting for high-level positions was often a necessity. But now we are seeing a growing number of mid- and entry-level positions requiring more proactive approaches to finding, vetting and recruiting candidates.
A more sales-driven approach to recruiting means a shift in the way many recruiters have worked up until this point, and that has led to an evolution in recruiting best practices. When candidates aren’t coming to you, new recruiting best practices look like this:
- Recruiting with direct sales tactics. Top companies are thinking about candidate searches the way that salespeople think about prospecting. They build an ideal candidate profile and get on the phone, doing extensive outreach — often with cold calls — to get in front of the right talent. Sometimes they hire external firms to handle this first layer of outreach.
- Refined candidate benchmarks. When talent is easy to come by, recruiters can chase “purple unicorns” (dream candidates), which leads to inflated job requirements. When sourcing candidates looks more like marketing in terms of identifying demographics and desires in candidates, having a clear picture of who is a good fit for the role is critical when you invest in recruiting.
- Fit over volume. More candidates do not necessarily lead to better results. When you have a refined candidate profile to work from, focusing on fit will lower the overall number of candidate conversations, but the quality of those candidates will go up. Pursuing fit should also extend to the interviews themselves, filtering out candidates early in the process to save time and increase your chances of ending the search with an employee who stays with you for the long term.
- Deeper conversations. Recruiters have always worked to vet candidates, but today we need to go beyond basic skills assessments and be willing to challenge or unpack the answers candidates give you. For example, if a candidate tells you, “I really want to find a place to settle down,” don’t leave that open to interpretation. What does that mean? Where one recruiter sees that as proof that the candidate is looking for a place where they can make a long-term impact, another recruiter might see that as proof that the candidate is not hungry for success anymore. Let the candidate tell you what they mean.
- The candidate pitch. In your quest to find fit, you also have to share the journey with the candidate and sell them on working with you. This conversation is in part about compensation and job perks, but culture is a big factor as well. If you can emotionally connect with a candidate via your company’s mission while checking all the boxes on things such as salary and benefits, you are more likely to end the search with the right hire.
Yes, the recruiting process is more intense than it used to be. That reality is unlikely to change anytime soon, so the sooner you can rethink how you recruit, the sooner you can find the employees you need. As you make the change, you may need to shift how you invest in recruiting. For example, perhaps you spend less money on job boards and more money on external recruiting services to call on candidates. But the end philosophy is still the same: If you find the right candidate the first time, the upfront investment pays for itself a dozen times over since you won’t need to replace that person in the near future. And, in that time, the right candidate will make a difference in your work.
Alisha Frederick is corporate recruiter for the PT Services Group. Alisha may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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