The 7.5 Secrets To Winning The War for Talent by Bernie Reifkind

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on September 22, 2009

Where are all the great candidates?  (Hint: They’re everywhere)

Why is it that days, weeks, sometimes months go by and critical job openings remain unfilled?

I’ll let you in on a little secret. 

They’re right under your nose.  Great candidates are everywhere.  They’re just waiting to hear from you and they are hoping for an interview, waiting for an offer and they would love to give you a start date.   In fact, they’re dying to hear from you. 

It just may be your fault that the position has been open for so long. 

Here are the 7.5 deadly secrets to winning the war for the best talent.  It’s a war out there and you need to win it.

1.  Use every resource available to find candidates.  Referral sources, trade associations, business cards, jobs ads, recruiters, reactivating old resumes from 3 years ago. Did you know that your next hire may be sitting in a stack of old resumes?  Go through these nuggets and pan for gold! Call and ask them if they are still available. Ask them for 2-3 referrals. It’s a war out there, call your competitors and ask for referrals.  In all industries, people are connected to each other and they all talk.  Ask a referral lead if they “know someone who might know someone else?”  This is a powerful question.  You need information, seek it from every source available.

2.  Screen people in, do not screen people out.  I guarantee you that there are candidates being ruled out that may have tremendous potential or bring transferable skills to your operation.   If your HR department is being instructed to find candidates make sure that they understand this simple but powerful strategy.  Screen in, not out and do it right now.  Time kills all deals.  Please do not “sit on” resumes if you are not sure if the applicant is a good fit. Pick up the phone and find out!

Many well meaning HR representatives on your directive may screen resumes out based on certain parameters and they frequently miss more essential factors that might be of significant value.  However: sometimes it’s even more desirable if a candidate does not meet the traditional profile.  Offer a candidate a chance to explain their career choices.  Someone just may surprise you.  All organizations can use more creative employees. 

3.  Hiring Managers: make the initial contact.  Most of us are happily and securely employed however we dream of great opportunities. Aggressively pursue all leads and if you hear that a valuable candidate is available go after him/her yourself.  Make the phone call yourself.   From a candidate’s perspective, it can be very flattering to receive a phone call from you, the hiring manager.

4.  Everybody’s favorite subject is themselves.  Open a dialogue with a compliment.  Perhaps you have heard nice things about this candidate.  Let this person know how highly they are thought of in the industry.  Offer broad strokes.  It’s a rough world out there and a compliment goes a long way.

5.  “Do you keep your eyes and ears open for great opportunities?” This is the single most important introductory question that you can ask.  It is an ice breaker and the reply is almost a 100% “yes” response.

6.  No one gets hired over the phone.  Your goal is to arrange a face to face interview as soon as possible.  That day, that evening, tomorrow for breakfast; right away.  You, the hiring manager should meet the candidate.  If things go well, arrange a second meeting right away.

7.  Sell dreams.  Candidates want to know that they are making the right decision. Sell them on the opportunity to be a part of something truly outstanding.   Tell them how successful they will be and that you will not allow them to fail.  Making a job change is daunting and most people need to be reassured in making their decision.

7.5.  Make your best and final offer first.  If the candidate is worth making an offer to, make them the best offer that you can afford.  You will have a satisfied employee who will feel cherished.  Go to the wall for them and they will respond with unwavering loyalty.

PsiHealth.com
Health Care Staffing Agency

Long Term Care Recruiters

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