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.
It feels like there are a gazillion recruiting firms and agencies competing for your business. Recruiting is a tough job, but it pays pretty well if you can do it well, and plenty of people are trying. For startups, this makes for a tough situation. How do you know if a firm can deliver? Can they handle what you need? Are they dependable? Will they provide a good working relationship? These are legitimate concerns, especially when it comes to the impact early hires have on a startup’s success. How do you overcome these concerns? Ask the right questions.
Can they handle your needs?
What job functions do you specialize in?
What industries do you specialize in?
When it comes to recruiting for your company, finding a firm with experience in your industry goes a long way. For a company to understand your hiring needs, they need to understand your business, and not just the position at hand.
What level of seniority do you deal with the most?
Finding a talented Developer is a different ballgame than hiring a VP of Technology. A recruiter may have easily found success delivering candidates for lower level positions, but could have no experience recruiting at the C- level. Be sure to vet out the breakdown of their successful placements.
What geographies do you focus on?
Today’s recruiter can work remotely from anywhere and still deliver top-notch results, but geographic focus is still an important consideration. Recruiters who focus on a specific geography, even without boots on the ground, develop stronger networks within those areas. Even if relocation is an option your company would consider, for most positions your immediate geography is the most likely source of candidates.
What Clients have you worked with, and what do they say about you?
Most recruiting firms can materialize a client list fairly easily, but testimonials from past and current clients are more tangible evidence of a firm’s caliber. It’s one thing to hire a recruiting firm, but to give them an endorsement speaks volumes about their results.
Is the firm dependable?
How long has the company been in operation?
A history of operation and longevity is a good sign of dependability. It shows that a recruiting firm has been stable enough to startup, grow and survive, through both hiring frenzies and the lean times.
What is the average experience level of the recruiters?
Most typical firms in operation will have a few senior level recruiters with experience and solid track records, and then a fair spread of more junior level people, either sourcing and learning the trade or taking on less challenging accounts and openings. A team full of entry level recruiters should be an immediate red flag. A team of veterans is a good sign, but will come with a price tag as well.
What is the average tenure of your recruiters?
As a profession, recruiters tend to have a higher turnover rate than others, similar to the sales industry. A solid average tenure for a team of recruiters is right around 2 years. If you come across a firm in your search whose team tenure averages less than a year, turn around and run.
Who is my point of contact?
This is an important question to ask. Many firms have a level of internal competition, and thus may have more than one recruiter reaching out to you. A firm should be able to clearly articulate who your Account Manager is, and this person should be informed on the aspects of your search.
How do you source your candidates?
Some firms are guarded about where they find people, but most firms are looking in many of the same places. What you really want to discern is whether or not they will send you a stack of resumes or a smaller, more manageable pile of vetted submissions. Alongside this, you should determine how the recruiters match candidates to your position.
What is the average placement time?
Some of your hiring needs may be ongoing or lack urgency, but for a startup, most hires need to happen yesterday, so timeline is an important consideration. This is data that a good recruiting firm knows up front and can use to demonstrate that number to you.
Do you offer any guarantee?
Hiring is a tricky ball game, and even the best hires don’t always work out. Realizing this, recruiting firms will generally offer some sort of guarantee around their placements. The details of that guarantee can either legitimize it or leave you out of luck should your hire not last through a specific period of time. Dig into the firm’s placement guarantee, and make sure you know exactly what you are promised.
Choosing a recruiting partner is just as important as choosing the people you hire. When making a decision about an executive search firm, be sure to ask the right questions and get the right answers. Speak with us today to get OUR answers!
If you are in the market today for quality employees, your chances of success are slim if your company isn’t seeking out passive talent. There are simply too many companies with too many openings and not enough candidates actively seeking employment in the technology industry to rely on inbound resumes. Every company today must be recruiting passive candidates, but approaching this strategy is not something to jump into unprepared. Creating a plan of attack is key to winning the battle.
Define Your Job Parameters
It would seem like an intuitive step, but many companies begin looking for candidates before ever clearly defining the company’s needs. Everything from the job function to the focus and scope of work will have an impact on how you recruit. If the work is outside of your company’s existing knowledge base, it can be difficult to understand what you need. Get help from advisors, former founders, investors and recruiters if you have difficulty describing the role in question. Clarity around the job will reveal the attributes of your ideal candidate.
Find and Research the Right Channels
Once you have a clear definition around the job and the ideal candidate, determine what channels to approach for sourcing candidates. Although mostly dominated by online activity nowadays, there are still valuable offline resources to consider too. Mainstream tools like LinkedIn and Indeed are on the table, but consider digging in and locating industry and function-specific locations for your sourcing of the right people, whether on a career-focused platform or not. Any place, from professional and career sites, to technical forums and membership sites, to local meetups and groups can be considered sources, so don’t be afraid to get creative.
Plan Your Pitch
Based on the ideal candidate and your sourcing locations, craft a motivating sales pitch. In recruiting, when you approach passive candidates with nothing more than a job description and a handful of details, it is a recipe for failure. Remember, you are speaking to professionals in a market with high demand for their profile, who most likely have a good, stable job and an ocean of options to choose from should they decide to go fishing. You need a compelling case to present to prospects and an effective pitch strategy. Conversations must be massaged, and a well-reasoned argument must be made for them to consider jumping ship for both your company and the role at hand.
Create an Effective Offering
You can define the role to a T, spend weeks looking through websites, make calls and attend meetups, and deliver the perfect pitch to everyone you find. But when it comes time to make an offer, delivering anything subpar to potential hires, and passive candidates especially, will generally leave you with an unfilled position. Define the ideal candidate, and then research the compensation that correlates with that caliber of talent. If the price is over budget, you may need to take a look at your parameters and drill into the core non-negotiables. But delivering below market offerings to passive candidates of interest just won’t fly like it could with actively seeking professionals.
Engage Your Target
Once you have crafted your plan of attack, it’s time to execute. It may take weeks or even months to find the right person, but if executed well and with the right time and consideration, you will find the right person for the job.
Experienced recruiters have been through this process hundreds, if not thousands, of times, and have overcome the same roadblocks and mistakes that you will inevitably encounter. Partnering with a top executive recruiting firm can help you navigate the waters of talent sourcing and acquisition, increasing your chances of making a great hire exponentially. If your company is ready to find the top talent it needs, speak with us today about the hundreds of startups and technology companies we’ve helped find the right people for the job. We’re battle ready, here to help you win the war for talent.
Finding top talent for executive roles at your startup can be one of the more challenging tasks in your talent aquisition journey. And between resumes, interviews, references and test runs, your candidates will be feeding you an abundance of information, which can be just as problematic as not having enough. Knowing what to evaluate, how to collect the information and how much value to place on each component can help you better navigate the evaluation of executive level candidates for your startup. Here are some tips from our executive search team to improve your process.
Find References through Due Diligence: A critical component to hiring for your startup is putting in the research to discover whether anyone from your own network can recommend your executive candidates in play. Endorsements, or a lack thereof, from people that your candidates have worked with in the past will paint a truer picture of who you are interviewing and how they operate. Utilize your own network and connections to get in touch with the people that have surrounded your candidates during their work history.
Identify Experience Within/Related to Your Industry: Experience alone is not a predictor of success by any means, nor does it demonstrate expertise. That being said, experience with and exposure to your specific industry implies a familiarity with it, and is a starting point for assessing the knowledge and expertise levels you desire. The importance of industry specific experience very much depends on your own needs, product, and team. And while it doesn’t always tell you everything you need to know, it is something that, as a recruiting firm, we often look to as an early indicator for an appropriate fit.
Gauge Ability To Complete The Work: As obvious as this item is, the method by which you qualify candidates is not. Experience in a similar role may seem like a solid qualifier, but all too often that is not the case. Because companies are so different from one another, success at one organization does not necessarily translate well to success at another. History of success across multiple organizations is a far better predictor. A useful tool to gauge how well a candidate’s efforts match your needs is the “take home test,” providing you with insight around whether they can get your job done, not just how well they’ve performed at other jobs.
Evaluate Personality, Character, Judgment and Soft Skills: At the executive level, a candidate’s most important qualities are not easily defined in a resume, are often just as hard to capture during interviews, and can become lost in translation when comparing past experience. Ultimately, your goal is to learn who your candidates are as people, what motivates them, and how they think and operate. Evaluate their ability to lead peers and their capacity to manage teams. Determine their level of intelligence, and the wisdom with which they wield it. Determine how they respond to extreme pressure, on top of the onslaught of daily ones. For early-stage startups, these qualities are imperative across all hires, be they executives, management or individual contributors. The weight of startup employment will be felt by everyone in your organization, so you need to confirm your executive candidates can handle and navigate that world.
Confirm Alignment With Your Values: Their caliber, experience and overall talent levels will amount to little if your executive candidates do not buy into your organization and its philosophy. Your executive hires won’t just be completing crucial work; they will be executing your company’s vision based on many unknowns, while leading others to do the same. The HR world continually buzzes about finding employees with the right cultural fit; but for an early-stage startup your hires will be defining your culture. Their buy-in to the product and vision, their methodology and their personality will shape almost every aspect of your organization, from conception to implementation, and from growth and scaling to success and exit.
Take Resumes With A Grain of Salt: There are several issues with resumes. For one thing, resumes are purposefully crafted to display candidates in the best light possible. Aside from the omission of blemishes, the crafting of resumes often leads to exaggerations. Furthermore, some candidates will create an elaborate resume, while others will take the straight shooter approach. As a result, the variety of styles and approaches regarding resumes today makes it difficult to compare them side by side, and can lead to a bias on the part of HR or the hiring party. Another issue worth noting about resumes is that the work and accomplishments outlined do not generally demonstrate the environment or circumstances of that experience, making it difficult to translate success from a prior role to the one you are hiring for. This is not to say that resumes are unimportant, but their most practical application should be in the beginning of your hiring process to determine who earns further consideration. Once they are on your radar, the value of the resume diminishes severely.
No One Delivers Bad References: While it is important that your executive candidates can deliver people who will endorse them, they can often represent a very biased view of the candidate, regardless of merit. Even those who worked directly above or alongside them can present an unrealistic or inaccurate endorsement of a candidate. With the exception of heavy hitting names on a reference list, you should take these endorsements, like most items a candidate hand-delivers, with a grain of salt.
Do Not Rely On Your Own Analysis: Our own biases can be most detrimental to the hiring process, especially for executive hires. We make unconscious judgements automatically when we meet someone, and those judgements will guide future interactions. We tend to like people who align with our own personal values, opinions and social aptitude, but these attributes do not always equate to the best hiring criterion. On the contrary, putting individuals in place with a different perspective than your own can present a great deal of value, and can give exposure to issues that you may otherwise overlook. So don’t take the burden of interviewing upon yourself alone. Get others in your company involved, and discuss candidates openly. You may find the rest of your team identifying tremendous value that you overlooked.
The team at Millennium Search is made up of seasoned C-Level executive recruiters for early stage startups and cutting edge technology companies. We bring years of expereince and success helping young technology companies build and scale their teams, and have seen many of our clients skyrocket to success. To learn more about we can help your early stage company build its executive team, speak with us today!
A world of its own, the technical job description is a difficult beast to tackle. This is the transitional gateway that allows tech talent to go from understanding your company as a whole, to considering employment with you. There is a lot of literature out there on crafting great job descriptions, a lot of contradicting ideas, and a bunch of talk about how they’re ineffective and a thing of the past. While there may be newer ways to attract talent, in most cases, we still presume that job descriptions are a critical component of the hiring process.
The written job description can be truly challenging. In a recruiting role, you want to share enough information to target the people you’re looking for, but not to the extent potential candidates on the fringes are excluded. It can be frustrating from a recruiter’s perspective when great candidates decline the exploration of an opportunity because they don’t match the written job description. Many times, a recruiter knows that the hiring party would still want to speak with such candidates. Great care must be taken when crafting position descriptions; though it may not be the case, descriptions appear to be written in stone, even when they are really written in sand.
Taking the above into consideration, job descriptions are crucial to the success of most hiring situations. Effective job descriptions are made up of three main components: the company’s information, the position’s description, and the requirements for that position.
1) The Company Information: For company information, clarity, brevity and realism are essential. For instance, to boast your company as the “best something-or-other” ends up being little more than a soundbite among a vast ocean of other company descriptions. If you have a solid, well known brand behind you, then that changes things. For the rest of us, a more effective solution would be to craft a deeper description with more factual points. What is your product? Your industry? Your market? Where are you in your development? Have you launched? What are your company’s greatest strengths? What are your top priorities over the next year? How about the next three years? The list can go on.The point is that, so long as you don’t let it go out of control, details are more valuable than sound bites.
2) The Position’s Description: This can be a tough one, as many companies are making a technical hire to address important solutions that they themselves don’t fully understand how to accomplish. How do you capture essential high caliber tech candidates when you aren’t quite sure what the job will look like or what your company needs in its entirety? Rather than fumbling through an inaccurate description, you can just as easily describe what they will be working on, the challenges you’re currently encountering and ones that they will in the future. A level of brevity, honesty and bluntness can go much further than an elaborate montage of detail. You won’t scare anyone off. On the contrary, high quality tech talent will have gone through this situation before, and will probably expect it again.
Remember, the point of a job description is to accurately inform the reader about the job at hand. A successful job description will attract a broad group of qualified (being the key word) candidates, while at the same time provide enough ambiguity to prevent the alienation of those qualified individuals. In the end, you will be better off attracting a diverse group of candidates and vetting them yourself, instead of getting too specific with a narrow and ultra specific write-up of the position. After all, some of the more important aspects of hiring cannot be tackled in a job description, such as chemistry, cultural fit, personality, mindset and work philosophy. There are hundreds of thousands of developers and programmers out there who will match your needs on paper, but only a handful that will meet your skill requirements and also match the soft aspects of your company.