You’ve created your ideal candidate profile and you know exactly who you are looking for. To many, that is half the battle, since it is so much easier to search for someone when you know, tangibly and holistically, the qualifications you really need to take your business to the next level.
Now it’s time to start your search. Here are my fundamental and timely tips for transforming your next job search. Do you have another that works well for you? I’d love to hear about it.
Start With Your Own Network
The first step is to make the most of your personal network. Ask yourself: Is there anyone I’ve met during my career that could be likely candidates? Maybe you’ve crossed paths with someone who impressed you enough to want them on your team. My advice: Don’t hesitate to reach out. Often, we come up with many reasons why such a person may not want to move; we create our own hypothetical scenarios about how happy they are at their current position, and we imagine how we’ll feel like a total schmuck for asking them. Forget that. People are almost always flattered to be asked about an opportunity. In fact, they’re more likely to say, “It doesn’t hurt to talk,” and before you know it, you’ve got a shot at convincing them to join your company. Your search could be as simple and easy as that.
Then Expand Your Circle
Now, take the next step and reach out to your extended network. In the spirit of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, you know might know someone who fits your ideal customer profile. Share your search and your ideal profile with your network; encourage your friends and associates to make an introduction. Sometimes just a three-way text is the easiest introduction of all.
I’ve found the best ones are those who network for a living; vendors, for example. They can be a true resource when it comes to recommending someone because it’s their job to service all the local companies in your industry; they talk to a lot of people, so they see and know a lot. The best part is that they want to please you, their cherished customer, and be on your good side. Recommending a job candidate does everyone a favor.
Extend your search to unexpected places, especially any civic or religious organizations you associate with. You might know someone in your Rotary or Kiwanis Club who matches your ideal candidate profile. Be open to all possibilities. Remember: You can teach the product, but you can’t teach passion. If a person has passion, the rest will come.
The Social Network
LinkedIn is a reliable source when you need to extend your search beyond your own friends. Take the ideal candidate profile you developed and use it as a template to guide your search for the right candidate. It’s easy: Use the LinkedIn search feature to plug in the characteristics from your ideal candidate profile; you’ll be surprised at how many names it will give you. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised by the amount of information you can glean from each person’s profile. Most profiles are pretty much an ad hoc resume and then some. If you not connected to a person you’re considering, make the connection. Either way, send a message and get the conversation started.
I have found that almost all the time, you will get a response—especially if you come bearing the possibility of a job offer.
Of course, you can also use paid search engines like Indeed and Monster. While they can be very helpful in some instances, they don’t always fit the bill. I don’t think they work well because they are too broad, and the audience-reach is too wide. You just get bombarded by resumes from unqualified candidates and it’s a waste of time to wade through them.
In certain situations, paid recruiters might be your best option. Their pricing ranges from reasonable to exorbitant, so be sure to do your homework before signing on. I recommend hiring a recruiter who is very familiar with your industry because they can help you craft a custom, ideal candidate profile. Chances are the recruiter will already have someone in mind within their own network.
The most important thing to remember when executing a search is to make use of all these resources to find the right people for your company. There’s an adage, “Hire slowly fire quickly,” but I find it’s much better to spend your time conducting a good and thorough search to get the right candidate. Even if it takes longer than you’d like, hiring the wrong candidate is a mistake you could pay for longer than you want to.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.