After years of searching for and recruiting candidates, I have come up with a checklist that reflects my method for finding exceptional talent. The steps below are a mix of Performance-based Hiring techniques and marketing tips I have picked up throughout my years in industry. Give this checklist a shot on your next search.
If you want to hire great people, you need a great job description. Most descriptions are designed to weed out the weak and not attract the best. In order to overcome that first major hurdle, start by meeting with the hiring manager.
Ask the hiring manager why a top candidate who’s not actively looking would want the job for only a modest increase in compensation. If you can’t come up with a great reason, forget about hiring a great person unless you want to greatly expand your budget.
Prepare a candidate persona to understand how you’ll find the ideal person, create messages to attract that person, and plan what you’ll need to do to recruit the person.
The quality of the person you’ll hire will depend on the quality of the hiring manager and their ability to attract and assess top talent. Have a discussion with them about how the company plans to execute their recruiting efforts.
To ensure you see and hire the best people available, not just the best people who apply, you need to segment the talent market by how active and passive the candidates are. A 40/40/20 sourcing plan means about 20% of resources and efforts are spent on job postings, about 40% on name generation and targeted emails, and 40% on networking. Without this, you may miss out on the best candidate because they didn’t apply.
Your employees probably know someone they’ve worked with in the past who is an exceptional person for your open job. Don’t wait for these people to be recommended. Instead, get them into your pipeline ahead of time by having them referred by existing employees.
You don’t need to be a Boolean black belt, but you do need to be proficient at finding people who are achievers and one-offs. These are the people who are worth calling, networking with, and recruiting.
You’ll need to create an elevator pitch, a number of voice mail messages, a series of emails for your campaign, and a compelling job posting. These must all emphasize what the person will be learning and doing, why this work is important to the company, and what the person could become if successful in procuring and producing in the job. To captivate someone’s interest, tell stories rather than list requirements. This is Marketing 101 for hiring.
In our Performance-based Hiring recruiter workshop, we described what you need to do to engage with passive candidates and get them interested in your opening. Make sure you don’t tell them about the job, screen them on compensation, or use the word “awesome.”
The purpose of the first call is to create the opportunity gap. This is the difference between the challenges and growth potential of your open job in comparison to what the prospect is now doing. You’ll need to offer a high-potential passive candidate a combined 30% increase in job stretch, job growth, and compensation to hire the person.
Recruiting the best and the brightest requires the latest tools in combination with advanced recruiting skills. While it takes an exceptional job to hire exceptional people, it also takes an exceptional recruiter. Following this checklist on every assignment will help you become one.