A 5-Step Approach to Secure Top Talent

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Businessman with binoculars spying on competitorsWhen it comes to hiring the best possible people for the job, you can’t expect the real stars and the most accomplished go-getters to simply fall into your lap. In many cases, you have to do a little digging to find and impress them.

A perfect example of this is college football. Like the pros, we all know just how important it is for coaches to get the best and most talented high school players to join their college teams. And most often, the coaches from these schools will go to immense measures to ensure the top prospects choose their school. A recent example of this ‘go all out’ recruitment method is when Duke University sent Harrison Phillips 115 hand-written letters (in one day) in hopes he’ll play for the school. And Phillips is only a junior in high school.

Stories explained how each letter was different and personal, some saying how his mother raised a good kid (which, of course, made her cry) and some including photoshopped images of Phillips in the NFL draft. Now, if that doesn’t scream “we really want you,” then I don’t know what does.

I don’t think every recruiter (or any) wants to take the Duke approach, but there are a few ways to ensure you secure the best and brightest talent for your organization. Below are just five:

1. Thorough Job Descriptions

As a recruiter, you no doubt know how frustrating it can be to weed through applicants for open positions that aren’t qualified for the job in one way or another. You can greatly reduce the likelihood of that happening by making sure you’re ultra-thorough when writing and posting job descriptions. Make sure you list the exact requirements you’re looking for, right down to personality traits and behavioral characteristics.

2. Ask for Recommendations from Top Employees

When looking to fill a company position that’s open (or will be soon), it often pays to ask your best, most reliable employees for recommendations. People tend to keep company with others who are like them and who adopt similar approaches to work, ethics, attitude and so forth. That said, if you really like the way a given employee operates, the chances are excellent that you will like the way their employment-seeking friends and associates tend to be as well.

3. Use Social Media

While a lot of recruiters already make good use of professional social networks like LinkedIn, it’s important not to underestimate the value of looking other places as well, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. Everyone strives to put their best professional face forward someplace like LinkedIn. However, people tend to be more themselves when it comes to places where they interact with friends, talk about their real interests, and well, real, unscripted lives. Many experts believe that this is an excellent way to get a feeling for someone’s true character and personality.

4. Create a Website to Attract Candidates

One of the best ways to attract viable candidates looking for work is to make sure you’re leveraging your website to the utmost. Make sure the staff, team, and about pages on your site do their part to “sell” your company to great potential employees – the kind of rising stars that will really make your company everything you know it can be with the right people on board. Personalizing your company in your text can help quite a bit. Make sure the copy and web content on your site really give your organization a heartbeat that sets it apart from the other guys. And don’t make the recruitment mistake of forgetting to optimize for mobile devices!

5. Utilize your Own Contacts

Don’t forget to keep in touch with your other colleagues and business contacts. Sometimes it can help to let them know you’re looking to fill a position and ask people you trust to let you know if they stumble across someone who would be perfect for it.


By Shala Marks