Effective Recruiting In A Zero-Unemployment Economy

Our busy economy blesses and curses us with zero unemployment for qualified candidates. Everyone (good) has more work than they know what to do with and the challenge of finding the right team members has become the new key to delivering great solutions, in any field.

How then should you recruit in this kind of market, differently than a recession market where candidates find you? More than ever your brand, process, and effort will define success in hiring the best people.

There are three different ways you can improve the quality of candidates you attract and hire.

  1. Improve company brand & reputation

  2. Implement interviewing discipline, precise analysis, and speed of hiring

  3. Volume

Company Brand & Reputation

When the most talented people in your industry consider who they respect, do they think of you? Why or why not? Don’t let the “crowded market” excuse slip into your answer. As a leader you are responsible for elevating your firm above the competition.

There are a number of factors which influence the public reputation of a firm.

  • The depth of relationships maintained by the owners

  • The success with which the firm delivers excellent solutions

  • Quality of team and retention of that team

  • How collaborative or adversarial the company is in solving problems.

    (We notice a significant correlation between adversarial owners or management and systemic cultural problems, which lead to bad turnover.)

Your company’s brand will directly impact the quality of great candidates because they are discriminating. They care about working somewhere great. Rumor and reputation influences where people want to go. Therefore you must be mindful of how shortcuts can damage your ability to attract the best problem solvers.

Implement Interviewing Discipline, Precise Analysis, And Speed Of Hiring

In this overheated economy your process should be a competitive advantage. How do you create this?

  • Outline and practice selling why your opportunity and firm are superior to competitors. If you are not willing to sell your job you will lose to those who are more confident.

  • Compress your process without compromising your analysis of the candidate. Don’t let time drift by in your process, act with urgency and discipline. All opportunities are perishable, including your opportunity to hire a great candidate. You are not entitled to their interest, no matter how good you are. Always know the next step, communicate that to the candidate, and DO IT.

  • Before the interview strategize with your hiring team on what questions each person will ask and what everyone should be listening for. Each position should have a thoughtful list of tailored questions you ask consistently. Don’t let chaos into your interview process. Know your process, your questions, and what you are looking for.

  • Track your interviewing team’s feedback on each candidate. Refine your process and questions based on the retrospective accuracy of those evaluations.

    “You can’t improve what you don’t measure.” - Peter Drucker

  • Assign people to focus more on observation than interaction, without seeming judgemental.

  • Set categorical KPI expectations in job descriptions, the interview process, onboarding, and ongoing reviews. The candidate should clearly understand how to self manage because they know how they will be evaluated. Underperforming candidates can be more easily coached if expectations are clear.

Volume

There is no replacement for attracting and interviewing a larger number of candidates. While it may be impossible to create a large list of qualified and interested candidates, you must hold yourself accountable for doing the activities which advertise your opportunity to relevant candidates. Don’t expect them to come to you.

  • Advertise on your website. It is remarkable how few positions we see posted on company websites. It’s free!

  • Embrace a philosophy of ‘always interviewing, sometimes hiring’. The timing may not be convenient but can you certify you be able to find the perfect person exactly when you need them?

  • Ensure your employees understand the positions you are looking to fill and ask them often if they have any referrals.

  • Hire Ambassador Search Group. We know who these people are, how to contact them, how to attract them, assess their motivations, and get them to the interview with you. This makes your job MUCH easier and frees you to work on operational issues. Recruiting is intensely time consuming.

About the author

TJ Kastning is the principal of Ambassador Search Group, a boutique recruiting agency passionate about finding excellent professionals for amazing construction companies.

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