Who is Clint Pulver? Watch video to learn more about his incredible and inspiring keynote experience that he brings to every company, every audience with irresistible style.
Maybe this has happened to you: your business is unexpectedly short-staffed, so you put out a hasty job posting. It gets shared around online and the résumés flood in. But—catch 22—because you’re overworked, you don’t have time to truly assess those candidates. So, you go through them quickly and settle on the one who seems like the best of the bunch.
It might feel like a relief to check that box, but what you’ve actually done is create a bigger problem down the road. Why? You’ve put the vacancy first, not the hire. The pressure of needing a warm body has led you to get your recruitment priorities backwards, and now you have people on your team who may not fit, may not thrive, and may even be undermining your workforce.
Hey, I get it! Being understaffed can feel like an emergency—everyone is rushed, details are getting missed, no one is happy, and customers might even be walking out the door. But if you skip the work of choosing the right person, you could be taking that temporary state of emergency and turning it into your business as usual.
So here are three words to remember if you don’t want your short-term staffing demands to dictate your long-term success: Always. Be. Recruiting.
4 Strategies Great Companies Use to Actively Recruit
In all of our workplace analysis, the most innovative organizations we’ve come across are proactive. What does that mean? It means they are always looking for good employees. Always! They never let a deadline or vacancy take control of who joins their team—and they don’t let a crisis define who they become.
Remember: recruiting is not hiring. You don’t have to end up managing a team of 1,000 with a payroll for 100. Recruiting is about keeping an eye out for the best people, whether or not you plan to hire anyone in the immediate horizon.
What does that look like in practice? Here are the top four strategies we’ve seen great companies use to identify and attract the workforce they want.
1. Keep a standing invitation on your careers page
Job postings are by nature reactive. Yes, they are a necessary outreach tool, but they aren’t your only tool. Proactive companies keep a permanent notice on their careers page that invites people to get in touch or send in a résumé—and they keep it there whether or not there is an active opening. If a promising person approaches them who looks like they’d be a great fit, they keep in touch, start a conversation, invite them in for a coffee meeting or a tour. And, when a job opening does come up, they take the initiative to reach out and invite them to apply.
2. Build relationships with talented people
The more connected and active you are in your industry, the better the chances that you’ll cross paths with amazing people. Go to industry conferences and events, go to job fairs, look for opportunities to speak about your industry at schools and training institutions. And when you meet someone who could be a good fit for your team someday—whether that’s a young student starting out, an intern, a great contractor, or even a colleague from a different company—don’t let that opportunity pass you by! Keep in touch, make yourself of service, and build a relationship so that you’re top of mind when they’re looking for something new.
3. Maintain a welcoming company culture
If I was a young person interested in your industry and I visited your business, what would I see? How welcoming is your company—your website, your culture, your branding, even your physical space? A welcoming company culture is about more than friendliness: it’s openness, where outsiders feel invited, and can see who you are and how you work. It’s accessibility (in all senses of the word). It’s both diversity and unity. And it’s visibility, through social media, LinkedIn posts, outreach, and online and real-world events.
4. Have an employee referral program
Successful managers understand that their existing employees are their best pipeline for reaching more talent. Like is attracted to like, and people who are smart, talented, educated, curious, empathetic, driven, friendly, or even simply experienced in a given field tend to hang out with others with the same qualities. An in-house referral program that encourages and rewards employees who recommend potential hires will help you tap into the social and professional networks of the employees you already have. And the more great people you bring on, the more great people you’ll have access to.
Challenge: Conduct a Recruiting Audit of Your Company
So how ready is your business to welcome the people you want working for you? This week, take some time to look at your company with the eyes of an outsider, and to consider questions like these:
- What does our website and careers page look like? Does it read like a “sorry no vacancy” sign, or is it a welcome mat and a window into our culture? If a talented person came across our site when we didn’t have an active opening, how likely would they be to consider us as a potential career option?
- How visible and open is our culture? When someone comes onto our sales floor or into our workspace, what kind of image do we present as a team? Who would feel like they belong here—and who might we be excluding?
- How many of our employees would recommend us to their friends—and what motivation do they have to do so? What have I done in the past when I met someone who could be a future asset to our company? Did I call it a missed opportunity because the timing wasn’t right for one of us? Or did I follow up and start building a relationship? What will I do next time?
- What is my organization doing to tap into the social and professional networks of our best employees?
Your answers to these questions can reveal what you need to improve to set yourself up to hire right the next time you need someone. Look at what you’re doing, analyze the results, and think about what you can change to be more proactive.
And when you do have a job opening, I can’t say it enough: if you want a team that works, do not settle. It may not be first, or the third, or even the fiftieth candidate who applies, but if you’re attuned to what you want, the right person will come along. And the more you protect your culture by careful hiring, the more attractive you’ll become to the kind of person who wants to work in that culture. And, soon enough, the right people will be coming to you.