With the trend of record-low unemployment continuing into 2019, employers are struggling to recruit people in what was an already tight market. Finding talent is still the #1 issue facing talent acquisition teams.
The candidate pool is projected to stay shallow for the foreseeable future, so companies need to embrace new, smarter recruiting tactics to succeed. Employers must focus on attracting passive candidates, or they’ll never have the options they need. This is true no matter the size of the company or its standing in the market.
Here’s how you can step up your game.
1. Partner with a skilled agency.
Internal recruiting teams have already done some adjusting in the last decade. Gone are the days when they would post positions and wait for candidates to come in. They still can’t match the focus and expertise of a specialized recruiting firm. Agencies are able to spend more time and energy cultivating passive candidates. They can also dismiss the wrong people before you even see them. This means you don’t waste your time sifting through bad matches.
You need to make sure the agency is tuned into your exact needs, goals, and can effectively sell passive candidates on your opportunity. As an independent voice, they can often persuade a hesitant candidate more effectively than an internal recruiter.
2. Communicate what makes you stand out.
A lot of companies describe themselves as “employee oriented” or having a good “team environment.” These sorts of generic statements do nothing to make them stand out, even if they’re true.
Every company has something unique to offer. You need to define and then broadcast it to every potential candidate. Your current team can help you figure it out. Why did they choose you over others? What keeps them wanting to work there?
Once you know this, feature it on your social media, have your recruiting team promote it, and make sure your agency partners know to communicate it. This will give you an edge over companies with generic messaging.
3. Continuous networking.
Most recruiting teams don’t spend time finding specific candidates unless they have a current opening requiring them. It’s an approach successful companies can no longer afford.
There are certain skill sets a company will always need sooner or later. Have your hiring managers create a list of these skills. Communicate these skills to your recruiting team, and partners, so they’re always keeping in touch with the people who have them. This gives you a ready-to-go list of candidates the second you open a position.
These tips are the starting point to making sure your recruiting efforts pay off, no matter what the unemployment rate.
Finding the Talent You Need
Millennium Search is your ideal partner to help start-up and sustain these efforts. We can make sure you always have a line to the talent you need. Contact us today to craft and execute an effective recruiting plan.
The increasing global talent crunch continues to change the dynamics of the recruiting world. With the unemployment rate at low levels, employers don’t have a large pool of out-of-work professionals to chose from. You have to pull in passive candidates to get the people you need.
According to research by LinkedIn, passive candidates make up 70% of your potential recruiting field. Talent acquisition teams have great tools available for locating and contacting these candidates. Convincing them to consider your opportunity is the real challenge. Trust is the key to making that happen.
Considering a new position is a real commitment. It involves:
- Taking time for phone conversations with recruiting agencies and internal recruiting teams.
- Doing interviews during regular business hours. They must give up significant time from their current job, especially if they’re located elsewhere.
- Risk leaving what they know for something they can’t be 100% sure about before making the leap.
It cannot happen without trust. As Stephen Covey said, it’s the most essential ingredient in communications. They need to feel confident you are offering something they can’t afford to ignore. You, and your executive search partners, need to establish it from the moment you first engage them.
There are four key steps to doing this:
1. Ask questions and listen
You cannot gain trust without showing you have a genuine interest in them. That means finding out about their current situation, career goals, and tying it all back to what you can offer.
2. Be up-front to manage expectations
Every company has shortcomings. You may not be the number one company in your field. Your competitors may have better bonus plans or benefits. It could be you’ve been through a tough couple of years.
Don’t try to gloss over your weaknesses, as they’ll always surface later. If you haven’t discussed them, it will come off as deceitful. Instead, present your strengths and weaknesses from the start, with an emphasis on how the pluses more than makeup for the minuses.
3. Lay out the process and stick to it
Once you’ve decided to go ahead with a candidate, explain the interview process and make sure the team follows through. This will show respect for their time, while also creating expectations you can hold them to. Consult with your hiring team beforehand to make sure it works for them.
4. Keep communicating
The recruiting process has a lot of moving parts, so it’s a given it won’t always go to plan. This can happen without losing the candidate’s trust if you’re keeping them in the loop. Don’t leave it up to their imagination.
With all the pressures and options in the current job market, passive candidates will not give you their time if they don’t trust you. You need to work with your talent acquisition team, along with your recruiting agency partners, to make sure every candidate knows you’re considering their best interest.
An external agency is your number one ally in attracting passive candidates for several reasons.
- They can do the deep-dive sourcing required to target the right candidates.
- A well-regarded agency is viewed as an “honest broker” by the candidate, establishing trust from the first engagement.
- Passive candidates tend to be more responsive with trusted third-party recruiters than the hiring company.
The trusted recruiting resource
Millennium Search is your ideal partner to make this happen. We have a long track record as a trusted recruiting resource for clients and candidates. Learn more about us and let us know what we can do to help you.
Talent Sourcing is a vital strategy for any company looking to compete in our talent-short economy. It’s the optimum way to find, engage, and network with the top talent in your field. The goal is to create a steady flow of prospects both for your current and future positions.
The key to talent sourcing is making sure your talent acquisition team has a strategy in place beyond filling current openings. You need to create a process to continuously network in a way that lines up with company goals. It’s always in motion, making sure you’re connected to the best talent in your market.
A significant draw to talent sourcing is to help target top talent. That’s not where the benefits end.
Practice Talent Sourcing
When you practice talent sourcing with a clear vision of company goals, the people you bring in make better long-term employees. This means nurturing a relationship with your candidates from day one based on how their motivations and aspirations line up with the company’s objectives and culture. This cultural matching is vital to creating stable, effective teams in your company.
Engage with Right Talent Pools
When you’re always engaged with the right talent pools, you start every search multiple steps ahead. You build inroads to candidate communities that are always ready to use. Building this from scratch for every opening wastes both time and energy.
Gaining Market Insight
It’s one of the best ways to get information on your market. When your recruiting team is talking to current and potential candidates, they’re getting news about what’s happening at your competitors. It’s a direct line to inside information.
Improving Talent Acquisition
It will improve your talent acquisition operation. You’re always evaluating what candidate sources work best, how attractive your descriptions are, and how effective your interviewing process is. A solid talent sourcing practice allows your talent acquisition team to avoid common pitfalls in hiring practices, such as taking too much time, having ill-prepared interviewers, and forgetting to sell the company.
Setting the Tone
It puts your entire organization on the same page. A well-implemented talent sourcing effort means all your teams, even globally, are using best practices. It also means their messaging is consistent with both candidates and the recruitment agencies you work with.
Job seekers have become more sophisticated, with a variety of tools at their disposal. Talent sourcing is the best solution to stay ahead of this curve, as it will keep you evolving with the talent market. It will also give you constant visibility to that talent, creating an attractive, tailored image of you as an employer.
Maximize Your Talent Sourcing Efforts
A partnership with the right recruitment agency is one of the best ways to make sure you’re maximizing your talent sourcing efforts. Millennium Search can help you build and execute an effective strategy. Check out our solutions here and let us know what we can do for you.
“Hello Dan. I wanted to reach out regarding an opportunity for a senior web analyst position in your area. This person needs to have experience with Google Analytics as well as MySQL and SAS, and a strong understanding of SEO and Paid Search initiatives to drive leads and customer acquisition. The company is a small SaaS startup, and needs someone who is a self starter with an entrepreneurial mindset and passion. Can you tell me more about yourself and your experience?”
Well, thank you. You sound like the other 5 recruiters that called me this week looking for the same thing, describing skill sets and needs about which you have little understanding. Not to mention you have almost no detail regarding the company, what they do, how they’re growing, what the team does, and so on. You then proceed to send me a “more detailed” job description, which essentially regurgitates the bland information presented to me on the phone. In most cases, after probing further about the company and the situation, I am left with little pertinent information
Now consider if I had been approached with the following conversation:
“Hello Dan. I am reaching out regarding an opportunity with an early stage company in the media space. The company is a 2 year old VC-funded team of 15 led by two successful founders with backgrounds in enterprise software. They currently have a product coming out of beta testing and are 6 months into a strong push towards user acquisition while continuing to improve the product. They have established a few partnerships for lead generation with modest success, and are engaged in paid advertising, but have struggled to drive the volume needed. They have reached a level of growth that requires a person with experience in customer acquisition using a data-focused marketing approach to step in and direct their efforts. Does this sound like an opportunity that aligns with your background and your career goals?”
Umm, yes please. Let me tell you about my experience working with small companies to drive lead acquisition through digital channels, or about the several cases in which I consulted with early stage startups to define their web analytics strategy, measure performance and identify opportunities to alter experiences and messaging that resulted in lead increases. Let me tell you how those experiences would align with your needs to help your company move forward.
What’s the difference? As evidenced by the first example, most recruiters hand me a job description with a laundry list of skill sets and requirements for years of experience, while expecting me to tell them a story that verifies all boxes in that checklist are met; all before I really know anything about what I’m getting into. The latter example tells a story. It paints a picture of reality, offering a near tangible look into what a job with this company would require, and whether I would have an interest.
When hiring, good recruiters and hiring managers stop giving job descriptions, and start crafting company narratives.
The typical job description simply gets lost in a massive ocean of open positions. So you need a software engineer? That’s cool, who doesn’t? And that’s what it looks like. Furthermore, presenting a laundry list of skill sets, required experiences and generic responsibilities does little to inform me of the life of the job, nor the company that would employ me. It does, however, give me a checklist that I could easily use to eliminate myself from consideration, even if I am the right person for their needs.
Deviating from the job description in pursuit of a crafted narrative does several things, the first of which is delivering a unique experience. Most startups will tell you that a significant challenge in hiring early on is the lack of brand reach and its impact on attracting talent. Telling the story of the company, team and role delivers a unique experience to the potential candidate, making the role relatable to actual experience. It conveys the excitement of entrepreneurship, growth and innovation, which will be unique to each and every company. Best of all, company narratives allow your candidates to place themselves within the story and invest emotionally in the idea of being a part of it.
Job descriptions present boxes to check off regarding a generic experience. Narratives allow us to insert ourselves in a company’s story and share in that dream of success. And for an early stage company, hiring dreamers is a must.
Your product must be visible to the marketplace of potential customers before it can ever generate users. The same goes for your job openings. Without proper visibility in the talent marketplace, your opening are left unread and unfilled. It may seem difficult to get job openings seen by the right talent, especially as a bootstrapped early stage company, but there are plenty of ways for your jobs to gain more attention, get more reads and attract more candidates.
Your Company’s Marketing
Marketing delivers more than customers. Any efforts to gain exposure for your company will also put your brand in front of potential talent. Granted, your company will be one within a sea of many, all with talent needs, but if your company can differentiate itself well, good marketing combined with a sexy product can get you noticed by passive and active seekers.
Your Own Network
When seeking employees within your own network, it is important to be cautious and set aside personal associations and feelings. That being said, your network can be a great place to get the word out about job openings and introductions to the talent you seek.
Your employees, both present and past, can be your greatest asset in getting exposure for your job openings. Not only should they be great supporters and advocates, but they are also most likely to be connected with the kind of professionals you need.
The Talent Community
Getting your job opening in front of active job seekers is easier than ever nowadays. From the number of free and inexpensive online job boards to sites like Craigslist and AngelList, the options for putting your openings in front of people are numerous.
Investors and Advisors
Your investors and advisors, especially VC firms, have a big incentive to help you grow your company, and at this stage of the game, growth means hiring. Some are better equipped than others, but most will be willing to help in some way.
Recruiters, Internal and External
For early stage companies, recruiters are your best resource for having your job openings seen by the right people. They will provide the right exposure for your openings and, if you find the right recruiters to work with, they can also act as a great barrier to keep back the wrong audiences. The key, of course, is finding high-quality executive recruiters.
Visibility for your job openings is critical, but only a small step towards getting the talent you need. If you are in the market to hire, contact us today to find the right people for your company.
When it comes to tech talent, startups need the best they can find. There is something that sets top industry performers apart from the rest. In reality, there are actually a great deal of technical professionals out there with the skill sets and technology experience that you seek, but few have what it takes to help a startup achieve their goals. The difference maker? Talent. Skill sets, programming languages and processes can be learned; but interest, instinct, intelligence, passion and drive are not so easily acquired. And to be frank, the latter qualities far outweigh everything else. Not only are they highly valuable, but they are also difficult to instill and almost impossible to train. Skills can be learned, but talent is natural, difficult to find and rarely unemployed.
It is talent, not skill sets, that produces innovation, builds companies from nothing and fights for a vision that few others can grasp. The results that top talent produce, beyond the experiences they bring, are what put them in such high demand. At this intersection of open technical jobs and the truly talented technical people, is where the talent crunch lies. And despite this crunch, it should be your goal as a startup to acquire the right people from this talented group however you can. Our talented recruiting team has been identifying and delivering candidates from this talent pool for over a decade. Here are some of our tips to guide you down the same path.
Don’t seek out Yourself- In general, people tend to gravitate to and prefer like-minded people and, not surprisingly, tend to hire them more often, too. Yet most people, whether business savvy or not, realize the value of adding different viewpoints, opinions and methodologies to projects. The same goes for building companies and teams. And while your own leadership, vision and way of thinking is incredibly valuable and most likely deterministic of your company’s success, that value only increases when you surround yourself with people different from yourself. So if you find yourself really liking a candidate within a few minutes of speaking with them, start looking for a second opinion, because you may have already been blinded by your own bias.
Passion is important, but not as important as results- Passion often propels individuals forward in their endeavors, making them great people to work with and invaluable employees for your company. But the presence of passion in an employee does not always result in an equally high level of execution and production. When it comes down to it, the latter is what you are really hiring for, and thus what you need to look for.
Industry and sector is not as important as the type of project history- When seeking marketing and sales professionals, a background in your particular industry is attractive to your company. For the technical professional, industry experience has very little to do with most of their job. What translates better are the types of projects they have experience with. Compare your technical needs to the types of projects in your candidate’s past, and find the right person where the two align. Industry overlap will often correlate, but not always.
Forget the technical interview: Give them a real problem to solve- Interviews seem to be poor predictors of success. Ultimately, you won’t know how candidates will do at your company until they actually work at your company. With this in mind, many organizations have begun negating the technical interview altogether, and have desirable candidates perform a trial run.
Of Course, identifying the right technical talent is only half the battle. The day is only won when your candidate accepts the offer. The following are some tips on getting your candidates to pull the trigger with you.
You have to move fast- It’s a talent crunch, folks. Rest assured, that means you are never the only company speaking with a candidate, passive or actively searching. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t thoroughly vet your candidates, but if you want any chance of hiring those you like, you have to step up the pace of your hiring decisions. If you don’t pull the trigger quickly, someone else will beat you to it.
Pay as much as you can afford- You will never overpay for top technical talent. These people will be the driving force behind your product, and will literally be responsible for its existence or lack thereof. For such an important part of your organization, the impact, and thus the revenue generated from their work, will make their compensation package look like a drop in the bucket. You overpay for unqualified professionals, but you never overpay for the best. A market rate is the entry point to competing for talent.
And worry less about trying to compete with Google and Facebook salaries. If a candidate chooses them over a startup, then they weren’t the right fit for you at that time.
On that note, keep negotiations to only a few back and forths- You may think you can negotiate a better rate if you prolong talks with candidates, but in today’s market, the reality is that long negotiations are tiresome for candidates, can give them the wrong impression going in and can cause them to take another offer from someone who didn’t dilly dally. We’ve seen many instances where an interested candidate has walked away because the interested company spent too long trying to negotiate compensation. This is not to say that you shouldn’t negotiate, because they certainly will. But after 2 or 3 counters, it’s better to meet them and move forward than to risk losing your candidate.
Don’t Forget the Non-Compensation Stuff- The growth opportunity, the chance to make a real difference, flexible vacation time, fringe benefits, unique co-workers, the potential to make an exit… There is a laundry list of benefits unique to startups which supplement base salary. Emphasize this as part of the overall package to improve the reception of your salary range, knowing that it may likely be compared to a higher level, without the perks, from established, and less exciting, companies.
Getting top technical talent in today’s market is a growing challenge for today’s startups and technology companies. If your startup or technology company needs help beating the talent crunch, we can help. Millennium Search works with emerging startups and cutting edge technology companies to help them seek out and hire the top performers they need to grow and succeed. Contact us today!