The search for talent is tough for organizations in all industries right now. Following the pandemic, many organizations are thriving. This is great news.
That is, unless your organization is short-staffed.
Or perhaps you’ve grown your business but maintained your staff size. Either way, operating with less people than needed represents a ticking time bomb for organizational leaders everywhere. You run the risk of having your existing staff experience burnout, which may lead them to leave your organization. How can you be more strategic in your search for talent?
The professional job market today is different than in years past. Don’t make the mistake of doing what you’ve always done in terms of finding the right candidates. It’s time to think differently about how to get the right people in the right seats. A website listing and an online job post aren’t enough to garner the attention of the candidates you are seeking.
Here are five ways to strategize your search for talent:
1. Promote your organization, not just the position
Professionals of all kinds are looking for more than income, they are looking for fulfillment in their careers. The position matters, but the organization matters more. Think about what makes your organization great.
Partner with marketing, or hire a consultant, to tailor a hiring message that describes why your organization is a great place to be. Is it the flexible work schedule? Perhaps your organization values a family-friendly work/life balance?
Community involvement is also a significant driver of your organization’s reputation as a top choice employer. What makes your organization stand out? If your list is coming up short, develop a team of staff to brainstorm ways to change this.
2. Market the position in unique ways
If you search online for job postings, you will find thousands of job openings. Each are structured the same: a short description of the position, qualifications and a link to apply. Take a step back and be thoughtful about how to change the perception of your organization through your job posting.
Consider staff testimonials that convey why your organization, and your team are second to none. Promote your mission and purpose. Put together short videos that highlight the team, the position, and your mission as an organization, and include that link in your postings. Think of ways to establish public visibility of your organization in positive ways that will generate more candidates.
Your goal is to stand out in a very crowded “talent-seeking” environment.
3. Balance tangible qualities with an open mind
Make sure you have identified tangible attributes for the position. But avoid rigidness. Focus on a candidate’s attitude, work habits, aspirations, demonstrated drive, motivation, and their ability to work with a team.
It is these qualities that are difficult to influence. Technical skills can be taught. If you have high performing staff already, chances are, they will be excellent trainers for your newest staff members.
Keep in mind the transferability of skills from candidates with experience from a different industry or different type of position.
4. Diversify your talent platform
Consider promoting your organization in ways that are new and different. This expands your reach and increases your chances of finding candidates that represent a diversity of thought, experience and perspective. Remove opportunities for unconscious bias.
The best talent that you can find will believe in your mission but challenge the status quo and see things differently within your organization. It’s an opportunity to gain perspective from someone with a fresh point of view.
5. Hire for growth mindset
One of the biggest challenges of today’s labor market is finding experienced talent; individuals who can join your team and, with minimal direction, hit the ground running.
Consider that your top candidates may lack experience yet show the ability and eagerness to learn and grow. Hire for a growth mindset over experience alone. As a human resources professional with 20 years of experience, I have seen numerous instances in which someone with limited experience and an exceptional attitude can become a top performer and exceed everyone’s expectations.
Sometimes, you just need to give someone a chance.
Keep in mind that while it is important to strategize your search for talent, it is equally important to ensure that your organization has and maintains a strong workplace culture. Focus on ways to convey and demonstrate the value that your staff members have.
Be intentional about aligning your staff to organizational goals. Communicate appreciation and the positive impact that each staff member has in driving the organization’s success. Promote a humanistic and supportive approach and empower your staff to coach, mentor and collaborate with one another.
If you can effectively create this type of culture, your search for talent will be much more successful. In fact, talent will be searching for you.
Sarah Meusburger, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is a freelance writer that is fascinated with the ever-changing workforce environment and challenges. She is an HR consultant with Alternative HR and the human resources director for Banner Associates, Inc. She has 20 years of experience working in the field of HR and people relations.