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Five Tips From A CEO's Playbook On Hiring Top Talent

How do you hire top talent in a tight labor market? The answer isn't to first hire a recruiter. While that is one way, the responsibility for bringing new talent into an organization shouldn't only fall on HR or external recruiters. Senior management should always be scouting and networking to recruit and build a pipeline for the future. Talent is everyone's responsibility.

The talent crunch is real. In November alone, a record 4.5 million workers left their jobs as they started to rethink how, where and why they work. The result, known as the Great Resignation, has troubled businesses as they cling to the employees who are left and hit the pavement searching for new and diverse individuals to fill the gaps.

Senior managers need to do the leg work instead of waiting for talent to show up from a recruiter or job posting. You need to network harder to build up a bench to support your business today and in the future. Here are my five tips for attracting and resourcing new talent:

1. Create a shopping list of must-haves.

Each week, spend time looking for candidates you find interesting, whether it be their work history, education or personal background. Prioritize critical criteria and look for people who stand out. I also suggest looking at companies that might have recently issued layoffs or reported financial problems, as those employees could be looking for a more stable environment. LinkedIn is the obvious place to search for new candidates who meet your criteria. However, you shouldn't go there looking for talent only when you need to. It needs to be part of a routine.

2. Do your own networking.

Don't send the name of potential candidates to your HR department or recruiter. Reach out to each one personally. If a CEO or senior executive connected with you directly, aren't you more likely to respond? As a decision-maker and ultimate brand ambassador for your organization, it sends a positive message. It demonstrates that your organization is serious about a role or genuinely interested. And that personal touch goes a long way in recruitment. It takes time and a commitment, but it makes a significant difference when you do.

3. Create an internal database.

Once you find the right contacts and connect with them, add them to an internal database if the timing isn't right. For example, I recently found several great potential millennial marketing candidates. I had some fantastic preliminary conversations and developed relationships. I'll connect again when we need someone. The necessity for great people can’t happen overnight, and it's good to have names on hand. I also make it a point to reach out to people who might help our business in 18 or 24 months and fill the gaps in my network.

4. Be prepared to create a role for the right person.

If someone blows you away, find a role for them. Good talent makes a business thrive. Often, there is an opportunity for growth in a particular area, and if you think someone can take you there, make an investment hire. Recently, I connected with a woman who had been laid off by her employer. She blew me away, and I introduced her to several other managers. We're looking at creating a role for her because she would succeed at our company and add much value.

5. Make sure your company's image represents somewhere people want to work.

Your online presence is your business brochure, and it is critical for recruiting. It needs to describe the culture and personality adequately. People need to know what they are getting. For example, if your organization is entirely remote, that needs to be clearly articulated. Use video to show the environment. Clearly state your employee value proposition. Recruiting is a two-way street. You might want to hire someone, but they must want to work for you.

Finding the right talent is always a challenge. Diversifying how you look for talent helps. It's a marathon, not a sprint, to find the right fit. You run your business thinking about the long-term, so the same needs to apply to how you recruit people.

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