As I talk to business people here in Denver, I love to ask “What is the biggest challenge you are facing?” Recently, the answer has overwhelmingly been: “finding great people”. With unemployment below 4%, it seems that everyone is looking for top talent and not having much success in their search. Those great people are becoming more difficult to find because they just aren’t looking for new opportunities and businesses are doing more to retain their top people.
One of the leading causes for bad hires within companies is “desperation hiring”. In other words, filling an open position quickly, simply because you need to get someone in as soon as possible to do the work. When you combine that with the lack of talent actively looking for a new job, you have a recipe for disaster. A mentor of mine once told me their mantra of: “ABR; Always Be Recruiting” and that could not be more relevant right now.
Regardless of whether we are hiring or not, we try to build recruiting in to our weekly activities at Footers and seek out people we think would be a good fit for our company. Years ago I created “talent folders” for each of our key positions. I have them in my email, but I know people who create physical folders as well. Anytime I come across an individual that I am impressed by, I put their information into the folder with the job title that I think they may be a good fit for. The objective for us is not necessarily to recruit them right away, but rather to keep in touch with them and have a list of potential candidates when a position does become available.
My goal has always been to have ten names in each of the folders. Admittedly, this is easier said than done because it’s always difficult to make time for things that don’t require immediate action. This is our way though of trying to keep talent acquisition top of mind at all times. And I find that talent is everywhere around me when I simply open my eyes. It may be someone I sit on a board with, a contact at one of our clients, a sales person for a vendor we work with or even a waiter or waitress who gives incredible service at a fancy restaurant.
By recruiting throughout the year (not only when we are hiring) we can be more selective about whom we bring in, make sure they are a good fit for our company and not fall into the desperation hiring trap. Any company or organization must continually add new people, not only to replace turnover each year, but also because with new people, come new ideas and a fresh perspective on what the “veterans” have accepted as standard protocol.
As you evaluate your approach to hiring, I encourage you to think about what you can do to “Always Be Recruiting”.