Recruiting real talent not easy

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David Peterson

Extraordinary individuals and top performers in business are often called game-changing players. Every company understands that you need these unique individuals if you want to dominate your industry.

Over the years, I have found that game-changing players share many similarities and can be quickly identified by the following: They are gainfully employed and usually not job hunting. They are well-known in the industry. They add positive impact to company’s bottom line. They provide airtight references and proven track records. And, they are driven to get the job done at any cost.

Hiring these players requires a recruiting process that is unique and capable of attracting them to your company. The usual candidate screening and interview process won’t work. Your hiring managers need to change their mindset and approach to capture this type of talent.

Case in point: Recently, a midsized plastics manufacturer had its sights set on a superstar who worked for a direct competitor. However, this game-changer had commissions on the table and didn’t want to walk away from the money in order to make a job change. Knowing this, the plastics manufacturer approached him with a unique signing bonus that would cover his commissions plus offered an extra week of vacation. He took the job.

When trying to attract the attention of a game-changer, consider taking the following steps:

* Strengthen your company image. It’s important to increase your visibility, build trust, and confidence that your company is solid and the place to work. Sell them on why your firm outpaces the others and how they will have an integral role. A game-changer needs a “wow” factor before even looking at your job.

* Understand the difference between an applicant and recruited candidate. The game-changing player did not apply for a position at your company. You recruited them. Therefore, they expect and require a tailored and painless recruiting process that requires little of their time and meets all of their expectations.

* Be flexible with job requirements. An ordinary job opportunity would not be of interest to this high-level recruit. Research what factors get attention on their “short list” of opportunities to consider. Customize and build the position with their input. Include their desired degree of independence, the extent of their authority, the ability to build their own team and select projects.

* Be creative with compensation and benefits. Expect that the game-changer is also receiving attractive offers from other companies as well as counteroffers from their current firm. You need to proactively research what that counteroffer is likely to be and to prepare a compelling strategy to overcome it.

* Contact a professional and highly respected recruiting firm. Work in partnership with a professional recruiter to help facilitate an introduction to the game-changers. In addition, a great recruiter will help you by developing a capture strategy and offering negotiation assistance. They will also help you land this talent in the shortest time possible and provide support during the transition phase.

If you want to recruit the best talent for your company, otherwise referred to as game-changing players, you need to implement winning recruiting strategies before your competition does.

Peterson is managing partner at Direct Recruiters Inc. of Cleveland, an executive search firm for the plastics and plastics packaging industries.