*This article was originally published in Philadelphia Business Journal
Written by : Yoon Cannon

Many companies are trimming down on payroll to weather today’s tough economic storm. But, staffing decision affect both budget and revenues. While high turnover certainly bleeds resources, low turnover can also inhibit a company’s growth if that staff has gone stale. Seniority should not win over stagnant.In either case, recruiting the right later talent will be vital to survive tough economic times and to thrive in years to come. Although more people are out looking for work today, business owners will still have to compete to attract and recruit top level talent. Here are seven steps and reminders for effective recruiting.

Step 1: Identify your company’s ideology.Before your start looking outside for who you need, you have to first look inside at who you are. More than your company’s mission statement carefully think through what your company’s ideology is. A greater purpose – a greater cause will sustain your people and challange them to perform at higher levels. What is one thing you stand for? What one core value are you most passionate about? How clearly is that message communicated throughout every aspect of your company?

Step 2: Dream plan your trophy employee profile.Most hiring managers and business owners are not specific enough as to who they are looking for to fill needed roles in the company.a. Write down the top five skills needed for the bench you are trying to fill.b. Rank the top five personal qualities you can not live without.c. Rank several characteristics you know you can not live with.d. Rank top three factors that your trophy employee is motivated by.Have exact written profiles not just for the upper level positions, but also for entry-level positions like receptionists, assistants, and even the interns. Poor performance at any level can clog up the whole system. Conversely, exceptional entry-level teams add tremendous value to your company’s growth. And, don’t just keep this information in your head. A written list will help you from not compromising on those things you already established at critical and important.

Steps 3: Do your research.You need conviction in the interview when you sit eyeball with the potential trophy person you want to recruit. You may be your applicant’s first interview or your interviewee may have been on 14 other interviews prior to yours. Knowing your top three competitors’ pay packages, benifits, culture, advancement opportunities and what their ideologies are will help you do steps for through eight.

Step 4: Have a USP for each of your job openings.As a small business owner you may not be in the financial position to out bid all of your competitors in order to attract the best staff. But, knowing what everyone offers can help you leverage your company’s best qualities. Each of our job openings should be presented in print and in the interview with its USP – unique selling position. Contrary to common beliefs, money is not primary motivator in recruiting the best talent. Also, a job opening isn’t just a bench that is empty. Include those weak-performing benches as well in your interview process.

Step 5: Search and find your draft picks.Don’t just rely solely on a staffing agency. Open the nets much wider to find your diamond-in-the-rough. Have a staff meeting and brainstorm a list of where to find these draft picks. If you want the best players on your team you need to engage other people’s ideas, resources and creativity. Success is never accomplished alone. Make sure your USP is clearly communicated in each of the recruiting strategies.

Step 6: Stage your company.If you wanted to sell your home to the highest bidder you would pay careful attention to how you stage your home. As a business owner or hiring manager you need to stage your company to help you recruit the highest talent. Pay careful attention to all the details that contribute to communicating your company’s ideology. Is the physical space and work flow aligned with your core values? Is your existing staff a strong reflection of your company values? Effective business-staging will articulate your company’s core ideology. Like pieces of a puzzle you will know when you meet the right candidate – and they will too.

Step 7: Create competition in the interview process.You do not need to conduct group interviews to create a competitive atmosphere among your potential candidates. But your attitude of competition does matter in not just recruiting someone, but in recruiting them right. The person whom you hired may have turned out to be your only applicant, but they do not need to feel that way.The goal to win the competition makes people work for the job. It’s important to set the tone that the applicant wants you more than you need them. When they are recruited right, they arrive wanting to be there, greatful to be there, and work hard to stay there.

We’re not the only ones to experience a storm. Animals have an innate sense when a storm is approaching. While the turkey will hide to weather the storm, the eagle will fly to a high spot and wait for the winds to come.

When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it. The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift higher. As a business owners you can use recruiting strategies as wind to lift your company to higher levels of success above this economic storm.

Yoon Canon is CEO of Paramount Business Coach. She has successfully started four other companies, interviewing over 15,000 applicants. She can be reached at [email protected] or 215-292-4947.

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