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What Can You Do To Find More Great Candidates?


by Larry Sternberg, President at Talent Plus, Inc.

I’m very much NOT an expert in social media, so this post is not about how to make better use of social media to find great candidates. Experts on that topic are numerous and easy to find. This post is about an under-utilized, poorly utilized, old-school approach that still delivers great results.

Ask some but not all your employees who they know. Don’t ask every employee because you want to ask only your best people. It turns out the birds of a feather really do flock together. Top performers know other top performers. But here’s a secret: this approach only works if you ask for these recruiting leads through one-on-one conversations. Here are some examples of questions you can use.

  • Who do you know who has the kind of drive and positive attitude you have?
  • Who’s the best person you’ve ever worked with?
  • Who’s the best supervisor you ever had?
  • Who do you know who’s very well-organized and gets a lot done?
  • Who do you know who’s always smiling?
  • Who do you know who can sell anything to anybody?

These are just examples. The questions you ask will depend on the kind of position you’re trying to fill and the kinds of strengths necessary to excel in those positions. There are some, however, that are darned near universal. Work ethic, positive attitude and honesty come to mind.

When you’re asking these types of questions, the person you’re asking might not think of anyone right away. Please note: You’ll often need to pull this information out of someone by asking several questions in several different ways.

Even when someone gives you a name, the’ll often immediately give you several reasons why that person won’t want this job. For instance, they’re making too much money, they won’t want to move or they really like it where they are. Just respond, “That’s OK, I’ve got nothing to lose by calling them.” You don’t know when a person’s situation might change such that they’re interested in exploring opportunities with you. And even if they’re not interested they might know someone who’d be a great candidate.

Don’t talk yourself out of making a call. You have to pursue a lot of leads to close one. Recruiting is just selling in different clothing.

If you make a habit of tapping in to your best employees’ personal networks through one-on-one conversations, they’ll feel more valued, they’ll be more engaged, and you’ll find more great candidates. What’s not to like?

Thanks to Katie Rhone for suggesting this topic.

And thanks for reading. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

Larry Sternberg

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