Whether you think there’s a skills gap (too few good candidates for too many skilled jobs) or you believe that there’s a treasure trove of great people out there (if only you could do a better job finding them), it’s a moot point. Either way, the best people are going to work somewhere, and if it’s not for you, then it might be for your competitor. So what are you doing at your company to assure you are in the best position to attract and keep the best talent? Here are ten questions (for starters) you should ask yourself:
1. How are you expanding where you look for talent?
So when did you last reevaluate where you try to find the best talent? It may be time to take an inventory of all the places you look to find the best people – both on and off line.
2. What are you doing so talent finds you?
If I’m really good at my particular specialty, whether it be finance or marketing, then why would I want to practice my craft in your organization? What are you doing to convey the message that you’re an employer of choice so the best people will come to you?
3. Do you hire for character or skills?
If you answer both, or weight your answer to character, then consider the number of great people who are ethical, smart, hard-working, etc. whom you never so much as acknowledge receipt of their resume. Think about it.
4. Are you engaging in a selection process or just a process of elimination?
This brings me to one of my pet peeves about how most companies hire. I believe that the more people you have applying for a job, the less likely your organization will find the best person to fill it. Counter-intuitive? Sure, but the fact is that the more resumes you receive, the more aggressive you become about whittling them down to a manageable number. The result: top talent slips through your fingers in the process. This is a great time to look at your own processes to make sure you’re engaging in actual selection versus elimination.
5. What role does cultural fit play in your decision making?
For most companies, this plays a big role, but once again, if you’re eliminating people based on experience and skills analysis early, then you’re drastically limiting the number of people who might be a great fit for your organization. Making the first cut based on skills instead of culture or character is favoring people for things they can be taught versus those they can’t. Sounds silly when you think about it, but companies do it all the time.
6. How do you balance cultural fit with diversity?
While cultural fit is important, so is diversity in the broadest sense of the word. How do you manage to hire someone who fits well within your culture, but at the same time, doesn’t necessarily see the world as you do? If you want to strengthen your team, hire for both cultural fit and diversity of perspective.
7. What training are you providing your people with regard to interviewing and selection?
Once you’ve completed your process of elimination, where it’s likely that great people have been tossed aside, you’re now presenting what you have left to your executives to interview. Except, how many of them really know what they’re doing? How many of your execs would you regard as skilled interviewers? Most executives are not well trained in this area. And given the limited selection you’ve offered, it’s no wonder companies make the wrong choices so often.
8. What are you doing to improve client (applicant) service?
Most job applicants take a great deal of time to respond to an organization’s call to meet a specific need. Companies should be grateful for every resume/inquiry they receive. Instead, most job applicants are never even afforded the courtesy of an acknowledgement, let alone be shown any appreciation. (Yes, another pet peeve). Even some of the greatest customer service organizations in the world have abysmal job applicant service. Why companies get away with it is beyond me. We know why of course, but the company that decides to place as high a priority on servicing prospective employees as it does its customers, watch out! This will be an organization that will soar past its competitors when it comes to recruiting top talent.
9. How are you developing the talent you have?
You can’t put all this effort into finding great talent if your organization is just a revolving door. One, your organization will never get stronger, no matter who you bring in; and, two, there’s nothing worse for a prospective employee than having to interview with people, all of whom have been with the company less than a year. Unless you have a good reason for your “new” staff, which you address upfront, no job applicant worth his salt misses it.
10. What are you doing to keep your best people?
What are the range of currencies you’re providing (monetary and otherwise) that best assures that your top people enjoy where they work and are not looking to pick-up and go to the next company willing to pay them 5% more money?
To succeed in the years ahead, you’ll need the very best people on your team. In today’s new economic reality, or new normal, you’re no longer hiring people to fill roles; you’re hiring them to make a difference. To find and keep those people, you have a few questions to ask yourself first!