A sure fire way to hire great employees

When I announced that I am officially looking for full-time work, I was amazed by the amount of people in my community that reached out to me and offered to help. One of these folks was Margie Clayman (who writes some awesome stuff on marketing, by the way, for her agencies blog). Margie invited me to share my announcement on a web page of marketers in her community who were also looking for work. (See that page here). This got me thinking about the best way to hire great people…

The traditional way to go about hiring is to put an announcement out there for the world to see that you are, in fact, hiring. Put it on Monster.com. Put it on Careerbuilder.com. Put it in the newspaper. Spread the net far and wide and grab as many fish as you can. My thinking is that, just maybe, this isn’t the best strategy.

Think About How Jobseekers Find Great Employers

Most of the people that I’ve spoken with who are happy and fulfilled in their work did not get the job they have by replying to an ad on Indeed.com. They got the job through networking–through talking with people they know who in turned introduced them to someone within the company. Sometimes, people have gotten their dream jobs when a position wasn’t even available.

When a relationship is built and a person’s ability to create value for an organization becomes more transparent, their odds of getting hired increase dramatically. The best jobs are gotten not by responding to postings on job boards but rather by proactively seeking out relationships that turn into opportunities. Now, let’s flip this scenario around…

If You’re Looking for a Superstar…

Do you really think your next “Employee of the Month” is going to come from Monster.com? It’s possible, yes. But think about the employees who are looking on job boards. They too are casting their nets far and wide. They’re trying to grab whatever they can. There’s a hint of desperation in their applications.

Or, here’s another way to put it. Do you think that jobseekers resort to job boards when they don’t really need a job? Probably not often. It’s usually when they’re unemployed or they hate their jobs and want to leave. Rarely do jobseekers scour the web for job postings when they’re merely looking for great opportunities.

Simply put, when you fish for employees on job boards, you are commoditizing the opportunity. The position you are offering is better than that. You need to not only be impressed by the candidates resume; you need to trust them. And, how can you do that unless you know them?

Look for Candidates with a Web Presence

The great thing (also the not-so-great-thing in some contexts) about the world of web 2.0 is that people are so much more transparent. You can find what potential employees are actually doing with their skills. Do your candidates blog? Participate in LinkedIn discussions? Have intelligent conversations on Twitter? The nice thing about seeking out candidates with a digital footprint is that you can get a tangible clue about what they will be able to do for you if they are hired.

So, if you’re really looking for a great employee (which you should be doing) and not just someone to fill a role, try targeting and connecting with those candidates online. Ideally, they will be people you will have to steal–people who are happy in their current positions or who are self-employed already doing the same work for their own clients (ahem, ahem).

But, even if it is someone who is unemployed and looking for work, your odds of finding a superstar are going to be better if you go out and hunt for one instead of waiting for one to drop on your doorstep. Just like employees find great work by being proactive, you are going to find great workers by being proactive.

What are you doing to find the next employee who could revolutionize your business? You may already follow him on Twitter. She could be one LinkedIn connection away. He may even be writing this blog post ;-D. Wherever they are, they aren’t going to come looking for you. You’re going to have to find them. Are you willing to put forth the effort?

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