Management Information

Planning Your Recruiting Efforts Can Help You Find Great Employees

Today, companies have an ever-expanding list of options available to them when it comes to sourcing new employees, from advertising in newspapers and trade journals to powerful, cost-effective recruiting options available through the Internet. Unfortunately, the growth in the number of recruiting options available has made the competition for top candidates even more fierce.

So how do you break out of the pack to find the people that you need? Like most other business activities, a successful recruiting program must be a planned effort. Here are some tips for ensuring that your recruiting effort produces results:

Always Be Recruiting: Recruiting is least successful when you're forced to find someone quickly due to an unexpected resignation. Out of desperation, many companies often end up filling a critical vacancy with an available candidate who lacks one or more of the essential skills required by the job. The best company recruiting programs are those in which recruiting is an ongoing activity, instead of a knee-jerk response to an immediate need. And, even if you're not currently expanding your workforce, normal turnover or performance issues almost certainly means that you'll need to hire at least one new employee every six months.

Don't Rely On A Single Approach: For years, executives thought that an effective recruiting campaign consisted of a few advertisements in the Help Wanted section of the Sunday newspaper, with a recruiter or two thrown in for good measure. But those tools are simply no longer effective enough in today's market, especially when everyone else is using them too. Just as you wouldn't rely on a single technique to identify prospective customers for your business, your recruiting program should include the regular use of a variety of prospecting tools that can identify qualified candidates. Today, there's no shortage of ways to identify good candidates, including advertising in community newspapers, Internet-based advertising, job fares and open houses, and college internship programs, to name just a few. Make sure your recruiting program takes advantage of all of the tools at your disposal.

Develop A Target List Of Prospects: In many situations, you already know some of the best candidates for certain positions within your company. For example, you (or your sales manager) can probably identify in a heartbeat the star salespeople that regularly complete against you for business. Or, you've met someone who'd be an outstanding candidate for an administrative or clerical position in your company, but you don't have an opening right now. Instead of waiting until the right opportunity comes along, find ways to continually remind them about your company and your interest in them. Occasional phone calls, or periodic copies of the company newsletter are all you need to let them know that you're interested in them, whenever the timing is right for you both.

Make The Interview Process Efficient And Responsive: If you think that the burden of creating a favorable impression rests completely with the job candidate, think again. With lots of companies competing for the best people, your interview process must be efficient, responsive and, most important, respectful of each candidate's time and interest. That means being organized, keeping to your interview schedule, and getting back to prospective employees when you say you will. After all, if you can't make an effort to make a favorable impression during the interview process, what kind of an effort will you make when the person is on board?

Stay In Touch With Outstanding Candidates: Don't despair if a top candidate declines your offer in favor of a job at another company. All opportunities are not created equal, and even that "can't refuse" offer may not look so great after a few months in the job. Stay in touch and you may just get a chance to win your top candidate back. And, even if their job works out, good candidates will be flattered by the attention and will remember you when they make their next move.

Consider Overstaffing Where Appropriate: If your budget allows, overstaff those positions where the recruiting demands are continual or where finding the right candidates is most difficult. Then, utilize that excess staff to support those activities. Good people are always an asset, and having trained people in reserve who understand the company and its products will give you greater flexibility in expanding your organization or in replacing a marginal performer.

Don't Delegate The Recruiting Process: You can't effectively delegate essential recruiting activities to a secretary or an administrative assistant. The expense and consequences of poor recruiting are too great to place the task in inexperienced hands. And, the effort to keep the best employees starts with the recruiting process. Play an active role in recruiting from start to finish, and make sure that your key managers do the same.

William von Achen is president of Strategic Management Resources, an executive coaching and management consulting firm offering advice and counsel to business owners and senior executives. For more information visit our web site at

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