You may not always be hiring, but you should never stop recruiting for “A” players. Keeping your supply of talent filled with the highest quality of professionals requires continuous talent acquisition and a focus on identifying, hiring, promoting and retaining high-level performers.
If you wait just until you fire someone, or you receive a resignation before you start recruiting, then you're putting yourself and organization in a bind. But if you already have that talent pool filled with “A” players, you'll avoid hiring in a hurry and having to settle for a “B” or even “C” player.
But let's be real. There are challenges associated with recruiting “A” players, including how to afford this top talent and how to persuade them to join your organization when they have other choices.
To start, even if you don't have a budget for them now, at least contact them and get a feel for their talent and ambitions. Find out what makes them tick. Stay in touch so that when you are ready and you do have the budget, you have a list of “A” players to hire.
However, since there is a high demand for this select group, they will have choices. You will need to develop a capture strategy that revolves around a winning value proposition. Selling a job to an “A” player is exactly like selling to a discerning consumer. Your candidate will be asking themselves: “Why should I join your company?” or “Why should I make a move at all?” Therefore, you will require compelling and persuasive answers and actions to these questions. Here are five to consider:
1) Ask your best employees to serve as ambassadors for your company. Train and equip your best employees to be the faces of your company. Allow them to engage with “A” players and talk about why they should consider working at your firm. This is an effective and efficient way to recruit top talent due to the fact that people trust an expert within a company more than they trust the CEO.
2) Help “A” players continue to succeed. Promote responsible and successful business practices. Let top talent know you are open to new ideas and business initiatives that will yield positive results. Also, convey and/or demonstrate how you acknowledge and show appreciation for a job well done.
3) Take time to develop a relationship. “A”-level candidates are usually passive candidates and are not actively seeking employment. Therefore, they aren't in a hurry to make a move and expect to be courted. Spend the time and effort required to help them build familiarity and trust in your organization. Be accessible and encourage open and regular communication.
4) Ask about their challenges. It's important to zero in on what they need but aren't getting from their current employer. In other words, identify their pain and address it. Let them know how your company is different. Also, learn what concerns they might have about accepting your position and directly speak to any hesitations.
5) Offer a work/life balance. Since “A” players stay at jobs longer than the average worker, they are looking for more than a paycheck; they seek a work/life balance.
So here's the point: Never stop recruiting for top talent. If you're not dedicating a large chunk of time to recruiting, you may not succeed in landing the talent you want. Selling your organization to the “A” player is core to your success.
Peterson is managing partner at Direct Recruiters Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio.