When Finding Qualified People Seems Hard, It’s Because It Is

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Finding qualified people for your open positions is hard – especially without a recruiting staff. An important distinction we need to realize: posting a position online is not recruiting, it’s posting a position online and hoping the right person sees it. Recruiting is a proactive stance to go out and find people.

As a small company with no HR staff (can you believe it?), The Chamber feels the urgency and the pressure when we’re hiring. We’re guilty of posting and praying that the right person will read it, that the message will speak them and draw them in. We post far and wide, share the news of our hiring through our staff, and wait.

Dessa Augsburger
Dessa Augsburger – Talent Connection Manager, Columbus Chamber

If you’re dissatisfied with the talent responding to a post, it might be time to provide a face to respond to. For example, a busy district manager of one of our member companies never turns down the opportunity to meet with anyone interested in working at his company. He’s looking for a spark, a fit, in anyone, regardless of the skills they bring to the table today.

The bottom-line goal is to have a go-to pool before you need it. Consider holding open houses regularly to host clients, people interested in your work (or if you think people aren’t interested in your work, it’s probably time to start telling people you’re around) so that when the need arises, you can enlist your network, rather than call upon the volumes of talent online.

Wouldn’t it be nice, we think – as do many businesses who call me – if there were a database of people interested in work? It would be nice, but that still wouldn’t solve our problems. Even if there were a database of people, we’d still misuse the resource. We’re just mostly bad at perceiving potential. And, if we’re not careful, our screening protocols can eliminate the very person we need.

Those people in that database are moved by potential – potential for growth, they want loyalty and an experience. If we’re not prepared to display and follow through on that, we probably won’t move many of those folks to apply.

Why? Because work today is not transactional like it used to be. Having a list of prospects isn’t the homestretch, it’s merely a beginning, and it might be a useless beginning.

Job seekers are a lot more like consumers today. They are not hungry for work, but picky. And employers are, too. So, accessing that database of interested people might have worked at some point in time, but today the solution is in a new practice of recruiting.

Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, illustrates this dilemma and provides a solution in his new book, The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age. A Huffington Post article review says: “The Alliance shows how the workplace has changed in recent decades, and how these changes have broken down the trust in the relationship between employers and employees, to everyone’s detriment. And then it shows a way forward so that all benefit.”

Beyond a major philosophical approach, businesses can adopt a subtle shift toward continuous social recruitment. Check out these tips from an Entrepreneur article on how to create the conditions in your organization to actually recruit for no cash output. The title of the article suggests it’s free, but overlooked is the time and thought investment in creating such conditions.

1). Turn employees into recruiters

2). Recognize top-recruiting employees

3). Hire for character and attitude, not merely skills – see’s Peter Capelli’s latest position on how there really is not a skill gap

4). Build a company culture that’s a magnet for top talent

Easy, right? That’s the key: finding the right people. What’s predictable in hiring: putting in the real work of getting out there, relating with, drawing in, and welcoming new potentials will yield better results.