Learn the top rules of recruitment

Eric Raff
SVP, director of human resources, G2 North America

Most employers are aware that there is a war for talent among direct and digital agencies — with too many companies competing for too few quali­fied candidates. What most employers aren’t aware of, however, are research findings stating that many “engaged” employees, though happy, are open to considering other job offers.

Given the current competition for tal­ent, the more employees you lose, the harder and more costly it is to find and replace them. So unless your company is as focused on employee retention as it is on employee recruitment, your hir­ing challenges will be magnified by the leaky bucket problem — where more employees need to be hired to replace those employees enticed to leave.

Experienced direct marketers know their current customers — or, in this case, employees — are their best pros­pects since they’re more expensive to acquire than to retain, and are more likely to buy than prospects are.

Conduct a “stay” interview to assess why your best employees value your company, then focus on those attributes to build your culture and promote your agency to candidates. Develop an indus­try salary survey and benchmark your salary levels to ensure your company is competitive. Finally, develop or enhance your company’s recognition and reward program to maximize retention of cur­rent employees.

When recruiting, develop a profile of your best performing employees and screen candidates based on those quali­fications; develop and actively promote an employee referral reward program; treat every candidate as a guest; and build a great culture and brand for your agency.

By making talent a strategic priority, you’ll have fewer employees to replace and more time to find qualified talent to meet your growing needs.

High employee retention prevents the need to recruit new employees

Debra Lynn
Director, marketing and channel manage­ment, PeopleFilter Technology

One ofthe biggest tools that I’m see­ing executive recruiters use is LinkedIn. The majority of executives and C-suite candidates are older and using the site — it’s the social network that they feel the most comfortable with because it’s easy to see, fill out, and to connect with people. That’s probably where a lot of the gems are found because it’s so easy to be able to look for people who have a particular background, who have worked for or are currently working for a company. It’s like having hundreds upon thousands of online resumes at your disposal.

There may be a little bit more cred­ibility built in to what people put in on a LinkedIn page vs. a MySpace page. You have to be very specific about the places you’ve worked and people can’t contact you and say you were a part of their net­work unless they can prove it.

A personal referral is what LinkedIn provides more than any other vehicle that’s out there. You can get to know people in different companies that have the kind of people you’re looking for. It’s not going to happen overnight, but if you look at it as a longer-term plan you can be much farther ahead.

Some recruiters for advertising agen­cies are telling them that job boards are dying, because they don’t have as much consideration for the candidate’s experi­ence. It’s always nice to get a call from a recruiter because they got a referral — it feels like a compliment, whereas if you get found off a job board, you feel like they just did a search and got a bunch of names back. Candidates want to know that you’ve done your homework.

LinkedIn is a good way to get referrals for higher-level candidates

Rick Linde
Partner, Battalia Winston

The size of a company is often one of the greatest factors in determining work success or failure, but is rarely taken into real consideration by job seekers. Few marketers can play in all three (small, medium and large) work envi­ronments. Most find their comfort zone by trial and error and instead focus their career choices solely on functional area.

As a recruiter, determining the appro­priate company size is one of the first steps taken with a new candidate. It requires determining the importance of control and rewards to the candidate. For example, executives who thrive at larger organizations are usually people who find it satisfying to see their prod­ucts on the shelf, to control big budgets and to watch their commercials on TV. They find it easy to delegate and they tend to be very polished and possess advanced degrees. Conversely, small company people do not necessarily need to see their work displayed in lights, and they enjoy the ability to exercise hands-on control over their business.

Recruiters must analyze a candidate’s experience, personality and prior track record, as well as successes and failures and the reasons for them. If a candidate has the background skill sets desired and believes that they want to be at a big company, but has failed at previous roles there, a recruiter must determine why the candidate failed and if a large corporation is the correct fit.

Recruiters can explain the pros and cons of each company type and, if appropriate and suitable, suggest a dif­ferent path that will ultimately lead to a more successful career.

Recruiters should help candidates ana­lyze what company size is right for them

Christopher Nadherny
Global practice leader, direct and interactive marketing, Spencer Stuart

Despite much gloomy national economic news, there is good news for direct marketing professionals: The demand for proven managers and exec­utives is greater than the supply avail­able. Because of the increasing focus and popularity of DM due to advances in technology and proven ROI, more companies across a breadth of sectors are relying on its use.

However, this has created a shortage of talent, which is particularly severe in the recruitment of Internet, multichan­nel and e-commerce executives. The same is true for gifted database analytics executives, or executives who bring a combination of online and offline DM skills, plus an understanding of how to build a brand.

This out-of-balance supply and demand curve for talent is applying great pressure to the compensation mod­els of traditional Fortune 500 companies competing in the open market, often against multiple candidate offers and private equity interests. More flexible thinking is often required such as sign-on bonuses, further equity consider­ation, or special performance bonuses.

Successful recruiting requires a com­bination of a visible organizational commitment to impactful DM from the top down, a position and opportunity that will offer the promise of creating a meaningful impact, a core business model that is convincing and foun­dationally healthy and advancement opportunities to greater responsibility.

Don’t be timid when going after the talent you need and want. Otherwise, you may find another employer who has been aggressive has approached last week’s desired candidate and closed the deal.

We have found that executives contemplate changing jobs for four reasons: lack of clearly articulated strategies or direction, limited career path opportunities, lack of job stability and insubstantial equity or long-term compensation. Addressing those issues will minimize the need for recruiting in today’s tight market.

Be aggressive when going after strong, preferred candidates

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