A Must-Follow Checklist for Recruiting Exceptional People

January 28, 2015

After years of searching for and recruiting candidates, I have come up with a checklist that reflects my method for finding exceptional talent. The steps below are a mix of Performance-based Hiring techniques and marketing tips I have picked up along the way. Give this checklist a shot on your next search assignment:

1. Prepare a preliminary performance-based job description.

If you want to hire great people, you need a great job. Most job descriptions are designed to weed out the weak, not attract the best. Here’s how to get started at the intake meeting with the hiring manager.

2. Determine the employee value proposition (EVP).

Ask the hiring manager why a top person who’s not looking would want the job at only a modest increase in compensation. If you can’t come up with a great reason, forget about hiring a great person unless you want to explode your compensation budget.

3. Understand the ideal candidate.

Prepare a candidate persona to understand how you’ll find the ideal person, create messages to attract the person and plan what you’ll need to do to recruit the person.

4. Get the hiring manager to agree to implement a high-touch recruiting effort.

The quality of the person you’ll hire will depend on the quality of the hiring manager and his or her ability to attract and assess top talent.

5. Implement a 40/40/20 sourcing plan.

To ensure you see and hire the best people available, not just the best people who apply, you need to segment the talent market by how active and passive the candidates are.

6. Implement a proactive employee referral program.

Your employees probably know someone they’ve worked with in the past who is an exceptional person for your open job. Don’t wait for these people to be recommended. Instead, get them into your pipeline ahead of time.

7. Use clever and out-of-box Boolean to develop a target list.

You don’t need to be a Boolean black belt but you do need to be proficient at finding people who are Achievers and one-offs. These are the people who are worth calling, networking with and recruiting.

8. Develop recruitment advertising messages.

You’ll need to create an elevator pitch, a number of voice mail messages, a series of emails and InMails for your campaign and a compelling job posting. These must all emphasize what the person will be learning and doing, why this work is important to the company, and what the person could become if successful. To captivate someone’s interest, tell stories rather than list requirements. This is Marketing 101 for hiring.

9. Conduct needs analysis on first contact.

In our Performance-based Hiring recruiter workshop we describe what you need to do to engage with passive candidates and get them interested in your opening. Make sure you don’t tell them about the job, screen them on compensation or use the word “awesome.” This post describes a piece of the puzzle, but you’ll need to attend the workshop to understand the full high-touch passive candidate recruiting process we suggest.

10. Debrief and convert prospects into candidates by offering a 30% increase.

The purpose of the first call is to create the opportunity gap. This is the difference between the challenges and growth potential of your open job in comparison to what the prospect is now doing. You’ll need to offer a high-potential passive candidate a combined 30% increase in job stretch, job growth and compensation to hire the person. This post shows how to pull it off by making most of the 30% a combination of job stretch and job growth.

Recruiting the best and the brightest, whether they’re active or passive, requires the latest technology tools in combination with advanced high-touch recruiting skills. While it takes an exceptional job to hire exceptional people, it also takes an exceptional recruiter. Following this checklist on every assignment will help you become one.

*Image by mendhak

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