Plot recruiting strategies wisely; prioritize needs

By David Zell

With the change and growth brought on by the Internet and new media comes the need for newer and more innovative ways of exploiting what has previously existed.

New infrastructures are being created to accommodate convergence, speed and greater scale of all forms of information. These changes have created greater pressures on all enterprises involved in the New Economy to find workers who possess the skills, experience and passion to compete for the rewards that come with innovation, change and improvement of what exists.

The basic assumption is that the enterprise that attracts and retains the best people is the one that wins. It’s a simple proposition, but as complex to achieve as creating revolutionary technology.

Success begins with attracting and growing those individuals who will embrace the concepts and goals of the enterprise; too often executives set budgets and create structures that act as impediments to identifying and attracting talent, rather than facilitating and maximizing these opportunities.

In this white-hot economy, the struggle to hire has obviously been at the forefront of issues confronting the technical community. With demand far outstripping supply, executives need to make thoughtful decisions to secure the best talent while making prudent decisions related to budget constraints. The choices range from traditional methods such as advertising, referral fees and third-party recruiting sources to the online newcomers such as job Web sites.

With so many new choices and job sites saturating the Internet, when and how to use recruiting resources most effectively has become a skill unto itself. To navigate the maze of choices, each enterprise must evaluate its hiring needs and its competitors.

Enterprises must understand how to use all resources and act in a way that eases positive responses and new “partnerships” with third parties. It is wise to encourage personnel departments to act as liaisons and salesmen to see the best candidate first and ultimately hire him or her. This requires flexibility, open-mindedness and willingness to delegate those parts of the recruitment process which will ultimately yield the greatest success.

A simple plan should prioritize requirements for “must hires,” “should hires” and “luxury hires.” Keep in mind that not hiring or hiring the wrong person has a potential of costing valuable time and money.

Where supply is plentiful, advertise and use all passive means of securing technical talent such as Internet job sites and internal referrals. When personnel needs outstrip supply, or where specific skill sets are more in demand, use search and consulting professionals.

Choose the right professional search firm. To take full advantage of a firm, companies must assume an active role before and during the search process. You will want one that specializes in areas that match your needs. A professional search firm should:

  • Develop strategic manpower planning;
  • Provide staffing and human resource functions as needed;
  • Advise and guide on competitive issues;
  • Identify and provide information on candidates on an ongoing basis;
  • Evaluate candidates thoroughly;
  • Negotiate in a fair, objective fashion all issues related to compensation.

It is essential, however, that the hiring enterprise and its interviewer take care of some basics. First, interview all candidates carefully. Treat every candidate as if he or she is the one you will hire. Since the candidates today have many options, be sure to make them feel special. Put the candidate at ease, ask leading questions that require full answers. Be prepared to sell your business. Since candidates are in such high demand, expect that you will have to entice them to your firm

It’s important to hire the very best people, regardless of cost. These people are an investment in the enterprise’s future. It is equally important not to spend any money on hiring the wrong person, for the cost of that hire can be extremely expensive. Ultimately, the success of failure hinges on the quality of people that are hired and retained.

David Zell is chief executive officer of Logix Inc., a professional search firm in Waltham.

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