Why You’re Not Hiring Efficiently

May 10, 2013 Pivotal Labs

A guest post by Karim Gillani, Co-Founder of Deskribed

There is no magic formula for hiring great people in an efficient way. There is a lot of trial and error, and different companies have tried to optimize their own processes over time. Some do a phone interview then follow-up with in-person sessions, some make the candidate write a test. When I brought people into BlackBerry, I’d ask them to negotiate a partnership deal with me like their life depended on it. But, how do you even get the right person through the front door in the first place?

There are really two ways to get people to walk into your shop for a job opportunity: they either come in on their own, or they are pulled in by you. If you’re a high-growth company (like Xtreme Labs) or a Silicon Valley darling, you might not want the type of people who walk in on their own. But if you have to pull them in, your recruiting team is in for a high-touch game of cat and mouse.

At Deskribed, we’ve noticed a few things after spending some time with Toronto’s tech companies, and hearing from job seekers as well:

Don’t Solicit a Flood of Resumes

One of the least effective ways of getting the right people through the front door is to leave the door wide open. You’ll certainly get a bunch of applicants if you set the bar really low. Some might even be good picks, but it will take ages to go through them all in the hopes of finding that gem. I used to look at resumes at BlackBerry for hours, and sometimes hated myself for making snap judgments about people based on two sheets of paper: interview vs. no-interview. For smaller companies still building traction, this approach might work, but if you’re in growth mode with a pile of resumes on your desk, you probably won’t make it home for dinner (and you still might not get the person you want).

The Best People Already Have Jobs

I know this isn’t always the case, and there are plenty of examples that contradict it, but the truth of the matter is that if a person is great at what they do, it’s likely someone out there is already paying them to do it.

Get to the “I’m Looking” Candidates

If you’re trying to lure someone to join your team, you might be wasting a lot of time targeting people on LinkedIn who aren’t really in the market for a new gig, or don’t know why they should pay attention to you. It’s important to get to the people who have a job AND have an eye on the market, even if they don’t consider themselves as actively looking. These two ingredients aren’t really enough for a great hire, but they form a good starting point. The difficulty is that these people don’t wear badges on their chests, so it’s hard to identify them unless you talk to them on an individual basis. Quick plug: At Deskribed we’re trying to tackle this problem by getting users who are passively looking for new opportunities to self-select themselves as doing exactly that. We’re trying to promote people to act, for just a moment, on that sentiment of “I wonder what else is out there,” which only really exists if that person is somehow unfulfilled in their current role.

Get Alignment on Key Points Quickly

The biggest reason why out-of-the-blue recruiting messages on LinkedIn don’t work is because there is no way to know if the candidate and recruiter are aligned on key issues like compensation, role type, location, company culture, etc. Even things like dress code and commute time play a big role. If a candidate doesn’t know these key points up front, she’s not going to respond. The best tactic is to ensure that the candidate knows that you are only contacting her because you are aligned on all the main items that affect her decision to join your company. If a candidate knew that you wanted to talk about a job opportunity that met all of her criteria, she would not only respond, but would be excited and enthusiastic to do so.

Final Thoughts

As a company looking to hire aggressively, you might have mastered the process of weeding out the good from the bad once they’ve appeared on your doorstep, but getting great people to your doorstep is often not well thought-out. It’s crucial to get to the people who are passively looking for opportunities, and whose criteria are met by the job you’re trying to fill. If you’re not aligned from the onset, they won’t be happy and will ditch as soon as something better comes along.

About Deskribed

Deskribed is an up-and-coming Toronto startup focused on personalizing your career path. For job seekers, it’s a fast and easy way to “see what’s out there” and advance your career for free.

For employers, it’s a tool to discover and contact the best talent in an efficient way. During the limited beta period, recruiters and employers can sign-up for free at deskribed.com.

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