On Recruiting

July 12, 2005
With the implementation of a consistent, well-defined and executed recruitment program, a company will be in a position to attract top talent when that talent is ripe.

With the implementation of a consistent, well-defined and executed recruitment program, a company will be in a position to attract top talent when that talent is ripe. If done properly, a recruiting program will help the candidate make a positive move toward your company before he/she may otherwise have decided to change companies.

A well-constructed recruiting program is a positioning and branding program for a company with prospective employees. Just as one would create awareness with the company's positioning and branding, one should create an awareness of the company, an awareness of the company's interest in the prospect, a positive image regarding the company as a potential employer.

A recruiting program contains five key elements. There is, of course, considerable detail to each element that must be customized to each company, but all programs must contain these five.

1) Hiring Manager buy-in

A recruiting program depends on each hiring manager playing his or her part. The success of the program for each team is centered on that team's hiring manager, who knows exactly what they are looking for in the person to handle a particular position. Consequently, there isn't anyone more capable to recruit the position.

2) Identifying top talent

Identifying the positions where you seek top talent and then identifying that talent requires serious thought and research. Do you want to hire only the best for every position in your company, from receptionist to CEO? If so, that should be a goal known throughout the company. Otherwise, you'll need to determine exactly what positions are critical and require the best in the industry. Once those positions have been identified, everyone should be fully aware of the importance of the position. Upon identification of the positions, the identification of the talent becomes the focus. Both currently known and unknown talent must be identified. Known talent - easy, you know who they are. Unknown talent requires considerable research.

3) Initial contact

A crucial step in the process is the initial approach to the prospective employee. Whether a previously known or unknown prospect, there are a number of considerations that must be taken into account prior to the initial contact. Gathering as much information about the individual as possible and their current position will aid greatly in making initial contact. The initial contact will set the tone for developing the relationship; for those prospects unfamiliar with the company, it will establish the initial impression - good or bad.

4) Developing the relationship

The program must have a consistent, reliable, and positive follow-up system to stay in contact with and deepen the relationship with the prospect. Making an initial positive impression with a prospect who makes a move 18 months from now won't help if he or she doesn't remember you because there wasn't a follow-up program.

5) When the prospect is ready to move

One never knows when a top prospect might be ready to make a change. At times they will have little warning themselves. We've all known top people who were squeezed out in a merger, who finally got fed up with whatever situation was at the old employer, and decided to finally leave on the spur of the moment, or who made a change for any number of other reasons.

At times, a prospect with whom you have developed a relationship will move specifically because of your courting. Usually, however, other reasons trigger the move - being in the right place at the right time, for example. More often than not, once a prospect you've been building a relationship with decides to move, the hiring and negotiation processes move quickly. Unlike other hiring arrangements, both parties know one another and have a reasonable idea of what to expect.

This, however, will not eliminate the need for both parties to further evaluate one another. It simply makes the process go much quicker. A prototype offer letter designed only for the pre-identified top prospects will speed the process along considerably.