August 24, 2021

#TuesdayTalentTip: Don’t wait for talent to come to you

#TuesdayTalentTip: Don’t wait for talent to come to you

#TuesdayTalentTip is a weekly series of talent tips from Jim Conti, Hyde Park Venture Partners’ Talent Partner.

In my first #TuesdayTalentTip, I’m covering one of the most basic subjects – how to find the right candidates for your dream team. This might seem simple: you want to hire someone for a specific job so you write up a job description, post it on LinkedIn, and wait for the right people to come to you.

However, hoping your ideal candidate will find your job application — or is even actively looking for a new job when you post it — is not how you’re going to build your dream startup team. Yes, you might get a lot of applicants, but it’s likely that only a small percentage of them will have the right balance of qualifications (meaning you’ll have to spend more time interviewing more people).

A compelling study published by ERIN in 2020 found that the hiring process (from the first interview to having a contract signed) typically only takes 30 to 45 days for referral hires, in comparison to the 40 to 60 days it takes using traditional methods. Even more interesting is that 45% of employees who were referred stayed at a company for four plus years, while only 25% of those hired through job boards stayed even two plus.

If you’re still skeptical, there are tons of studies out there that show similar numbers around the benefit of using outbound techniques and referrals, from this one by JobVite to academic research.

This leads me to my first tip: Don’t wait for talent to find you. Identify places where potential talent for your team is, and go meet them there.

Don’t wait for talent to find you. Identify places where potential talent for your team is, and go meet them there.

That means laying the groundwork before you need to hire someone so you know where and how to look once you do — and may even have a few candidates in mind.

So where are some places to identify potential talent?

Leverage your network — and expand it

Everyone has a network, even if they don’t realize it or actively engage it. Start engaging yours and tapping into your team’s, friend’s and family’s networks to build on. You might find that they know great people who are open to a new role or have connections to different talent groups.

There are also plenty of organizations that are able to make connections and expand your network — just remember that network building is as much about what you give as what you are asking. Here in Chicago, you can start by finding events, news, and connections with companies like Built in, re:Work, and Sales Assembly.

Look for where functional groups live

Many software products today have robust job boards to cater to specific functions. For example, Lattice has the Resources for Humans (RfH) community for HR professionals and a busy job board with it. If you’re ever looking to hire an HR professional, posting there would give you a much more targeted audience. Parallels exist for marketers, engineers, sales people and really almost any job function.

Think about professional and membership organizations

Ever heard of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers? How about the National Association of Black Accountants? Lots of similar organizations exist and are pretty easy to find. The purpose of those organizations is to help their members find career success, so they’re usually more than happy to work with you through job boards and other career resources.

Google it

Seriously. There are so many solutions, networks, and communities out there, putting together the right keywords can give you new options you didn’t know existed.  The biggest challenge is finding the right partnerships for your company — spend the time looking for alignment with your values, career pathways, etc.

Borrow best practices

This isn’t the first article about recruiting strategy, and it won’t be the last. Invest the time in researching effective recruitment strategies for your industry. This can either be subject matter experts, or it can be learning from companies you admire.  Do you have a favorite careers page? If so, what about it do you find compelling?  And, then, how do you translate that into your own recruitment strategy?

So in conclusion...

Recruiting is an incredibly important part of any company’s journey. You may be hesitant to invest time and energy into understanding where the best talent for your organization exists, but laying that groundwork and utilizing your network will continue to reap benefits across time.

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