By Jean Roque, President, Trupp HR.

Impress others with your superior hiring mojo. 5 helpful tips for adding top talent

Hiring and retaining great employees is one of the most critical contributors to the ongoing success of a business. Yet, for many companies, a successful hiring formula seems elusive at best. By applying a few simple hiring techniques, you can add top talent to your organization while impressing others with your superior hiring mojo.

Do your homework

In today’s business environment, there’s no room for excess jobs or those created in a silo. Before moving ahead with your next hire, ask yourself some qualifying questions.

  • Have the demands of the job/department/company changed enough to merit a reshuffling of responsibilities or redefinition of an existing job?
  • Are we fully optimized or could this job opening be addressed through employee training, incentives or tools for increasing productivity or efficiencies?
  • If we choose to hire an employee, does this role currently represent the greatest need or value across the company?
  • Does the job we have in mind represent input from all the stakeholders?

Be the dog, not the tail

Once a job opening has been verified, the challenge shifts to hiring the best employee. We all know great people who are in need of a job or great candidates who need a job that we do not have open. The key to successfully hiring the right person is relatively simple but often overlooked. Follow these three steps and they will enable you to avoid letting the applicant tail wag the hiring dog.

  • Define what you need. It may not be fun and it likely takes time, but discipline yourself to write a job description—clearly defining the job duties and related knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs).
  • Commit to selecting top candidates based on a careful match with KSAs.
  • Develop behavior-based interview questions to assess KSAs along with cultural fit.

Broaden your net

Although it’s an “employer’s market,” it is surprising to see how many positions are filled without taking steps to cast a wide net. Many employers understandably perceive that promoting job openings will result in an overwhelming number of applications to filter through, but there are options to easily address that concern.

  • Use applicant tracking software. There are a number of hosted applicant tracking solutions that can be quickly and inexpensively implemented. A good system enables your company to easily leverage job posting sites, screen applications, email updates to applicants, track the progression of applicants through the hiring process, and assess the effectiveness of job posting sites.
  • Contract with a recruiting expert. Recruiters are adept at writing job postings, filtering through applications and ferreting out the most qualified candidates for your job opening. Recruiting services offered by human resource companies typically will include a more holistic perspective—where your job descriptions, job postings, interview and hiring process are reviewed for effectiveness as well as employer litigation and compliance concerns.
  • Expand and leverage your network. One of the easiest ways to leverage your network (as well as the reach of your employees) is through social media. Posting openings on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter gets the word out quickly. Professional associations, employment agencies, schools, diversity groups, customers and suppliers can also be an effective forum for augmenting hiring options.

Pull the trigger

Assuming you have followed the advice in the first three points, you should be well-positioned to make an informed decision to hire a qualified, well-suited candidate for your job opening. Indecisiveness does not reflect well on leadership and does not provide a good first impression to your candidate. If, however, you are having a difficult time choosing between a couple of strong candidates, add another input such as:

  • Behavioral assessment. Assessments offer valuable data regarding candidate alignment with desired behaviors for the job opening.
  • Sample work. Openings for positions such as creative or engineering roles lend themselves nicely to a quick sample project. For example, you may ask a QA Engineer to review sample code and have the engineer review his/her findings with the hiring manager or marketing candidates to provide sample work from their portfolio.

Have a story to tell

Great candidates want more than a salary; they want to work for a company that is committed to the growth, recognition and well-being of its employees. Your company’s value to the applicant or employee is defined through the Employee Value Proposition (EVP). The EVP effectively communicates the reasons why people prefer to work for your company. A compelling EVP enhances a company’s ability to attract top talent—consistently delivering on the EVP contributes to an employer’s ability to retain that talent. When formulating your Employee Value Proposition, consider the following:

  • What opportunities do we provide for our employees to grow, learn and develop?
  • How do we recognize employees for their contribution to company success?
  • What unique perks or benefits do we provide to our employees?
  • What is most appealing about our culture or work environment?
  • How are we contributing to the betterment of our employees, community, environment, world?