How To Hire the Talent Your Company Actually Needs

(Trust us, it’s a lot easier than it may sound)

Cropped shot of a group of diverse businesspeople waiting in line for interview

The whole process of hiring new employees can be a real pain. But finding that “just right” talent to join your company can be the difference between profit and loss. And that’s big. Most industry experts agree that the deciding factor in business success is not technology, or thoughtful leadership, or brilliant marketing. It’s talent, with a capital “T.”

According to a study by the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers, the U.S. lacks enough young workers to replace the ones who plan to retire. Scary, right? That makes the battle to find, and keep, the most qualified individuals more important than ever. Let’s take a look at what some of the most healthy brands in the country are doing to keep their talent pool fresh.

1. Top Employers Develop a Reputation for Employee Satisfaction

According to, Southwest Airlines has such a great reputation as an employer that the company once received 50,000 applications for only 500 open positions. Same goes for Google, who have reportedly taken in as many as 70,000 applications in one year, and they do this consistently.

One of the biggest reasons for this was an attractive work environment. Companies with happy employees find more than their share of talent knocking on the door. A few principles a company can follow to keep employees raving about their jobs include:

  • Reward success
  • Appreciate individual contributions
  • Encourage respect and thoughtfulness across the board

These principles work best from the top down. And Hewlett-Packard’s co-founder, David Packard, was a great example of this. He was known for setting high expectations for himself, and treating each employee as a valuable equal. That set the pace for the entire corporate culture, and made HP one of the top career choices among IT heavyweights.

The single best way to change your company culture is through hiring. If you’re the one with a vision for the work environment you want to create, you'd better be a part of the hiring decisions. Many experts agree it’s just as important to hire for personality as it is to hire for skill. Personalities make the culture.

2. Innovative Companies Look Outside the Resume

Recruiting expert Rasmus Ankersen was quoted on CNN: “If you speak to a business, you'll have a hard time finding someone to explain why they are using the metrics they are using; they basically put an ad in a newspaper because that's what everyone else does.” He recommends looking outside the usual suspects, even outside the industry at times. Companies that depend on innovation and creativity can’t afford to stick with the same ol’ same ol’, even when it comes to hiring.

Ankersen reportedly once told a fashion company to stop looking at resumes altogether, and to hire individuals that showed forward thinking in places where creativity was hard to come by. The result was an influx of fresh thought, from all sorts of different backgrounds. How do companies find these people, if not by way of the old standby — the resume? Well, they look to modern technology.

3. Great Recruiters Know How To Use Social Media To Their Advantage

Now more than ever, new talent is easy to spot and evaluate without ever listing a single vacancy. New recruiting apps, link to platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube, to help these scouts find the people they need on their teams. These recruiter apps can also use crowdsourcing hacks to collect and filter reviews from third parties, showing candidate credibility and a loose ranking system.

4. Small Companies Use Size To Their Advantage

According to the Washington Post, 60% of small business owners say finding skilled workers is their greatest challenge. So how do you compete with the Googles and the HPs of the world for great talent? You play to your strengths and:

  • Advertise your size as an asset. Small is desirable for workers who don’t want to get lost in the sea of a big corporation. With a small sized company, overachievers get a better chance to be seen, heard, and appreciated for what they offer.
  • Play up your uniqueness, even when you’re not hiring. The purpose of marketing is not just to attract customers, but talent as well. Show off whatever your company does best, whether it’s great people skills, an amazing product, or a friendly atmosphere. Use social media, blogs, and word of mouth to make a reputation for your business. These are the things that will bring the best candidates to your office door when the time is right.

And of course, the most effective strategy for building a strong talent pool, according to the site, is to take care of what you have. When an employee fits your corporate culture and brings value to your team, show appreciation. If a talented employee seems to struggle in his or her current position, try to find a position that’s suited to their strengths, rather than rehiring. This is cheaper, more efficient, and creates a company in which employees feel valued. That, in turn, will help you attract more rainmakers to your business.

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