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How to Win the War for Talent

Every business is anxious to hire the right candidates, but whether your most urgent need is to increase sales, develop innovative products, or fight cybercrime, the war for qualified professionals is fierce and never-ending. Too many companies continue to think that the solution is to keep throwing more dollars and fancier titles into the fray, but you can’t win consistently using this method. What’s needed is a more creative way to look at hiring that will help you source the top candidates and make your company stand out from the rest. Here are three tips that may give you the winning edge in your upcoming battles.

Be Smart About Social Media

Highly skilled, experienced candidates are hard to come by, especially if you take the standard “post-and-pray” approach. According to Jobvite  as many as 92 percent of businesses and recruitment agencies still rely on LinkedIn as their sole means for finding talent. While LinkedIn can be helpful for gaining insight into a prospect, top candidates now receive 10+ messages a week from the site about “an exciting new job opportunity.” To reach candidates more effectively, consider augmenting your efforts using a targeted social media initiative that connects more effectively with candidates, bypassing agency recruiters as well as the traditional job board. Think of it as an opportunity for candidates to get to know you and the reasons your company is the best one to work for. Along the same lines, take advantage of your staff’s social networks. Send pre-written, compelling job posts to your team and ask them to tweet, blog or pin the current openings to their accounts. With this you will see a dramatic increase in qualified applicants.

Engage Your Top Candidates

To differentiate your organization from the pack, focus on how candidates will experience your company. Think about what you expect from companies that are wooing you and apply that thinking to the experience your top candidates will have. Make sure you stay consistently engaged with them, demonstrate the value they will get by working for your organization, and personalize your communications with them to show you’re interested in them individually. Very few companies make a real effort to stay engaged with candidates throughout the hiring process and you will stand out when you do. Make them feel wanted and valued – so that even if they aren’t hired for an existing opening, you can approach them about others in the future and even earn their willingness to refer other qualified candidates.

Hire for Skills, Not School

A degree from a high-profile university used to be a reliable way to get a good job. Today, many business leaders agree that a candidate’s college pedigree and major should not be deciding factors in hiring decisions. A degree from a top school does not ensure the candidate has the skills and temperament the job requires. And when real change is needed – especially when it comes to innovation – skill is critical. One way to learn about the skill set of candidates is to have them propose a solution to a real-time challenge you or your customers are facing. Suddenly, the candidates are empowered to demonstrate their value beyond the list of accomplishments on their resume. You can separate the wheat from the chaff while letting A-list candidates know their ideas will be heard if they work for you.

Smart companies understand that while they will never win every battle in the talent war, but if they find creative mechanisms to help them identify, attract, and close the right talent, they will build an effective team that will drive their businesses forward.