Searching for Gold: How to Find Great People for Your Company

Where are all the Rock Stars?

When you are growing your team, the one thing I hear most often is “Where do I find good people.” If you have exhausted your friends and family for their connections and come up empty, here are many more ideas. Some may resonate more than others but keep your mind open for new sources of talent that just might be a perfect fit for your team.

Contact mutual connections.

I go to my personal network to find good candidates first. My past and present colleagues know me well. They know to recommend the right type of candidate who would be a good fit for my organization. I also use LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook if we are interviewing a candidate I don’t know to see if there are any mutual connections I can tap for a recommendation.

Incentivize current team to refer new talent.

Members of your current team might be the best source of candidates. A cash award for every prospect recommended who hired and retained, say a year or six months, often works great. Your current team knows what it takes to do the job. They have a vested interest in bringing in people who will contribute to a great company culture.

Look beyond your location.

Technology allows us to connect with people around the world to communicate and collaborate—working with a team is no different. There’s no reason a copywriter, for instance, needs to be physically located in your community. Your potential labor market will grow exponentially if you look beyond geographic limitations.

Ask team members to share on social media.

At my company, we encourage our team to spread the news about open positions on Facebook and LinkedIn. For difficult to hire positions, your team will often put quick messages on their Facebook accounts, such as, “We’re looking for a great web developer who wants a low-key family-friendly place to work. If you know of anyone, please share my contact info!” Informal messages like this can gain incredible reach, and will often bring in people who were not actively looking.

Try a paid search platform like ZipRecruiter.

ZipRecruiter includes resume searching and lets you post on dozens of job boards with a single click. You can easily search for resumes of job seekers who are looking in your zip code and nearby, as well as send them messages directly. There is also a ZipRecruiter feature that matches your posting to profiles in their database (Indeed does this as well). Note that these platforms tend to be better to find team members for entry to mid-level roles over senior positions.

Connect with local colleges & professors.

Some of the best candidates haven’t graduated yet, and to find out who they are, you may need to contact the college dean, career counseling office, or local university professors. Give them a call and ask about top students that they might recommend for your firm. You may also learn that the college has a bulletin board where open positions are posted, or better yet, a dedicated placement resource to assist students in finding jobs. Get to know those folks, and you’ll get a line on the best graduating candidates that may be perfect for your company.

Contact local chapters and organizations.

There are associations and organizations related to every type of field out there. Look for local chapters in your area and get involved in their events and meetings. If an association has accreditations or a certification process, then you know you can find potential candidates with the skill set you are looking for.

Go grassroots.

Try a grassroots recruiting campaign. It’s easy to do and best of all it’s free. Simply create recruiting flyers and post them in your community. You can even target your campaign. The key to success for small business grassroots recruiting is to have an easy way for people for apply to the job on their mobile device, so include a text number in your information. Set up an automated return reply asking for their email address. Most email service providers have this capability.

Look out for talent everywhere.

Keep your radar constantly up for great talent. You can teach specifics, but innate empathy and strong customer service skills are hard to fake. Plus, the best talent usually isn’t actively looking for a job.

Create a paid internship program.

These young minds are thrown right into the mix of client work and get the type of experience a full-time employee would. This allows us to test the waters a bit and find out which of the interns are strong, so when they graduate, we can pluck them the minute they walk off the stage with their diploma. It’s a great farm system.

Look on industry-specific job boards.

One piece of advice for any small business looking to hire is to find job boards and websites that are specific to your industry. They may be hard to find but do some Google searching.

Add a “Hiring” or “Careers” page to your website.

Create a “Hiring” page on your company’s website in case talented people ever come to check you out. Even if you currently don’t need someone in a specific role, it’s a good idea to keep job postings on your site. If someone is interested to look up your company and find the job posting, you know they are already one step ahead of the game when it comes to being an A-Player.

Attend a career fair or virtual job fair.

This may be a bit time consuming, but consider attending these events and find many possible candidates in one spot. Look in your local newspaper, or online through Eventbrite or Time Out, to find career fairs if you are in a major city. Otherwise, consider looking for a virtual career fair to attend, or host your own.

Find a freelancer.

We were reluctant to try a freelancer but have been pleasantly surprised with the results. We use a platform called Upwork, which tracks freelancer time (including screenshots of their work). You can hire, get reviews, and communicate with them all via this platform. It really gives us a sense of comfort to be able to verify work like that.

The right talent is out there, you just have to know where to look.

The old days when posting a job in the newspaper classifieds section was pretty much the only tool for finding talent are long gone. These days you have to be ready to do a little poking around to find the people that will help you take your biz to the next level.

Finding the right team today means mobilizing your social networks, activating your current workforce, tapping into community organizations, and utilizing online recruiting tools.

When you find the right team, you will realize that the upfront investment of your time was totally worth it!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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