March 28, 2014

Three Rules for Attracting and Hiring Great Candidates

concept of capturing people with marketingThe Rule of Three means different things to different parts of society whether it be writing, wiccan rituals or computer programming but in recruiting it can mean hiring with just a little extra effort the best people possible for the job because odds are strong they don’t know about your opening.

“As I talk to the world’s leading recruiters and the best talent leaders, it’s clear that with few exceptions, there are three prerequisites to consistently hiring the best people for other than entry-level roles,” says Lou Adler, CEO, and best-selling author of the recently published “The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired.”

In an article he wrote for LinkedIn, Adler says the following points must be accomplished:

  1. You must have a great job.
  2. You must have a great recruiter
  3. You must have a great hiring manager

“Following the ‘Rule of 3’ is not easy,” Adler counsels. “It takes commitment, discipline, and the desire to hire the best person for each and every job. The rewards, however, for the manager, the recruiter involved, the company, and especially the person hired, are nothing short of remarkable.”

Hiring too often suffers when bland job descriptions are posted. Workers don’t want to move sideways, Adler says, they want to move up. Job descriptions filled with hyperbole and excessive demands will turn applicants off. Adler says, “Just describe the actual work people are going to be doing and prepare compelling ads and email messages based on this. Offer great jobs by banishing traditional job descriptions that list required skills and describe lateral transfers.”

Recruiters need to move candidates beyond the first-day basics of a job (title, location, compensation, company) and get them excited about the position’s potential and their prospective co-workers. Adler advises, “To be considered great, recruiters need to convince great people to focus more on the doing and becoming, rather than opting out if what they get on Day 1 isn’t overwhelming.”

Adler offers an interesting perspective on the third point. He says there’s a common conception that managers want to hire people like themselves, which is why they are insecure about hiring workers better than they are. However, Adler says his research shows, “[T]here’s an opposite effect that’s rarely considered: the best people want to work for the best managers. They also don’t want to work for managers less competent then them. This is the likely reason managers can’t hire people stronger [than] themselves, not that they don’t want the competition.”

You don’t necessarily have to be a great manager, Adler says. You just have to fake it. He recommends “12: The Elements of Great Managing” by Rodd Wagner. (You can find it on Amazon.) The book “weaves the latest Gallup insights with recent discoveries in the fields of neuroscience, game theory, psychology, sociology, and economics. Written for managers and employees of companies large and small, 12 explains what every company needs to know about creating and sustaining employee engagement.”

There are also interesting research statistics in Adler’s article from a study he did on behalf of LinkedIn of more than 1,500 fully employed LinkedIn members located in the U.S. and Canada. Among its findings:

  • Only 23% of the fully employed professional workforce is actively looking.
  • The semi-active candidates (13% of the workforce) are silently seeking other positions through a close network of associates.
  • The biggest segment of the talent market (semi-passives at 43%) is not looking. However, they talk to a recruiter if the job represented a significant career move.
  • The super passives, at 21% of the talent market, don’t want to even consider changing jobs. However, if recruiters can somehow connect with them and describe an extraordinary opportunity, they might be willing to discuss it.

Read more in Hiring Process

Keith Griffin is an award-winning business writer and editor with more than 30 years experience as a journalist. His work has been published in The Boston Globe, Medical Economist, Good Housekeeping,, the Hartford Courant, CT Law Tribune and numerous other regional publications.
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