This is a guest post by Russell Glass, CEO of Bizo.
With the economy on the uptick, the stock market flirting with all-time highs, and companies across multiple sectors aggressively hiring, firms in Silicon Valley and other tech hotspots like New York City are seeing competition for talent reach fever pitch. Startups and large technology companies alike are vying for the best candidates.
So what can your company do to attract the best and brightest in such a competitive hiring environment? Here are five tactics — the main ingredients we have found to be successful in our “HR secret sauce” — to improve your chances at landing the highest quality talent. We’re sharing our secrets because “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
We have hired 5 to 10 percent of our staff via recruiting events. Here’s how to do it in a way that fosters candidates who are the right fit for your company: To start, invite an entire pool of potential hires to a casual evening of networking over cocktails and appetizers. Ask current company employees and hiring managers to attend and informally get to know the candidates. Just supply name tags and get folks to mingle.
Then, at each recruiting evening, ask managers and employees to “screen” candidates to determine which ones are the closest fit to your company’s needs and culture. We use a screening approach we call “DICE” — an acronym that stands for Drive, Intelligence, Culture Fit, and Experience — and ask that each candidate is given a DICE score. At the end of the night, review everyone’s screening votes and made a decision as a team to invite the right candidates back for formal interviews. There are at least two great things about this approach: 1) the entire staff gets involved in selecting potential teammates, and 2) you save time in the interview process by pre-screening candidates based on cultural fit.
For an entire week a few times a year, hold an internal “recruiting fest,” where employees set aside 30 minutes during their lunch hour every day that week for recruiting activities. Making it a dedicated focus will help increase applicant results and can encourage team building among current employees.
To kick off the fest, invite all employees to a brainstorm to discuss ways to recruit the best talent. On the next day, ask people to spend their lunch hour scanning their LinkedIn networks and submitting potential candidate names. Other lunchtime recruiting activities for the week can include reaching out to professional peers, friends, and even family via email about the company’s current job openings. Encourage employees to recruit for departments they don’t work for—folks on the engineering team can recruit for sales (and visa versa)! And lastly, make sure to bring lunch in to make it a fun company-wide event that people get excited about.
Yahoo may have put the kibosh on work-at-home flexibility earlier this year, but consider embracing it as a hiring asset. Set up the infrastructure to allow for employees to work remotely and allow for decentralization among your employee base.
A fun way to promote work flexibility is to kick-off a “Where I Work” campaign on your Facebook page and via other social channels: invite employees to post comments and photos showing where they currently work, be it their in-home office, their personalized workspace at company headquarters or even from the beach. Offering a flexible work environment is especially key to hiring great engineers, as companies large and small are competing for talent and using work/life balance to bring in the best.
Focus on culture
There is one golden rule in recruiting: always promote your company culture first. Someone can seemingly have the most relevant experience possible, but if he or she is not a cultural fit for the company, it’s not going to end well. So, all throughout the interview process, have managers and employees consistently describe the company culture. Always communicate your culture during every interaction with a potential candidate, including in job descriptions and follow-up emails to candidates. This way, if a candidate feels at all ill-at-ease with the company’s way of doing things, they’ll know right away and won’t likely pursue further discussions with you.
Also use similar language about your company culture in banner ads, email signatures, and other marketing touch points. For example, we ran a display campaign that used language from our head of recruiting which read “I frickin’ love my job, you should too.” We also used this same tagline in email signatures, on the back of business cards, in social posts, etc. Don’t be afraid to let your company culture shine, and you’ll attract people who will thrive in that culture.
Use every multimedia tool at your disposal — video, social media, photos, etc. — to showcase the work environment at your company. For example, you can hire camera crews at company events to capture employees learning, working, and interacting. Then post these videos on your site, as well as on your Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter feeds. Upload lots of casual and fun photos to your social sites and website, and encourage employees to do the same. We have a hiring video on our site, and I constantly hear from people we hire that it was this video that ultimately sold them on what a great company we would be to work for.
In today’s hiring climate, attracting top-tier candidates takes a bit of creative thinking. But just because it’s a job searcher’s market doesn’t mean you have to accept any candidate who comes along. Instead, create a culture-driven hiring process and use multiple different tactics to land your company the right candidates.