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Beginning a Search Campaign: The First Steps
Any good cake starts with a pretty killer recipe. In the recipe, the baker outlines all the ingredients necessary to make the cake, as well as the process for mixing and combining each ingredient in their natural element together to create a completed, delicious treat that will serve to satisfy the sweet tooth of anyone who eats it. We not only have to consider ingredients, but accessories and whether we need the help of someone else to mix or frost, for example. The recipe is so good, and so detailed, that anyone, even those without baking experience, can bake that same cake the professional baker created just by following the instructions as outlined on the recipe.
Let’s say your significant other is having a birthday party next week and you need a cake. First thing’s first. You have to decide who’s doing what and when, right? The cake doesn’t just happen. Thought goes into these things. Will you be baking it yourself? Will you have someone to help you in the kitchen? Maybe you don’t have the time or a big enough oven, so you decide to hire the bakery down the street because they are experts and have 100 ovens with more than enough spatulas and frosting. Maybe you decide to just go to the market in town because they have 50 cakes already made and decorated, waiting to be taken home. You have lots of options.
Thinking about beginning a hiring process is kind of like thinking about how you’re going to start in baking a cake. During this initial phase, we lay the groundwork for our recruitment campaign with a bulletproof foundation. With a great plan, clearly defined goals, and timelines for making it all happen, we will be able to gain clarity on our desired results and how we are going to achieve them.
So we begin with what might seem to be a simple decision. We need to determine whether hiring an outside agency to assist us in this endeavor is the right approach or whether it’s a task we are prepared to do internally. Issues such as deciding who will be involved in the process may seem obvious, but not being diligent about creating a solid foundation correctly or carefully can literally cause your entire cake to not rise the way you had hoped. Determining who in our organization will participate in the process ensures a consistent candidate experience and assessment.
From there, we’ll define each person’s role in the search campaign. By clearly assigning those involved specific tasks, duties, and responsibilities associated with the search, we can proceed with efficiency and clarity.
Once you’ve decided who’s on first and what’s on second, you can move on to the next phase of the process; timing. If the cake arrives late then all your guests might miss out on it’s deliciousness! You’ve likely heard this before, but timing really is everything in the hiring process. Having a vacant position for too long can negatively impact your business. It places a drain on your resources, especially if you’re paying for advertising. It also draws resources internally from your staff who have to cover the vacancy and duties of the role you’re trying to fill. Creating a timeline will set the stage for working with a sense of urgency to avoid the deadly pitfalls of a sluggish search campaign cluttered with confusion.
Taking a look at your branding and reputation is also something you’ll want to do before beginning your campaign. This allows you to monitor for anything negative about your company an enact some damage control if needed. Also, if you don’t have a presence out there yet, this is a good opportunity to get started with that.
The next phase involves putting yourself in your ideal candidate’s loafers. Or heels. Or flip flops if you support that type of dress code. What are they like? What motivates them? What about them has you smitten and falling in love with them for this position? It takes some practice to assume a candidate’s perspective when you’re so used to being focused on what you and your company needs in a new employee. In order to be competitive in the talent market though, you need to appeal to your ideal target candidate audiences. Considering your company’s culture and the job opportunity from your candidate’s perspective will ultimately place you in the best position to grab talent as you begin thinking of how to write your job description and ads.
The base layer of our cake that makes up our foundation for our position is found in the structure of the job description, job advertisement and what we like to call the Candidate Scorecard. This Candidate Scorecard will enable you to effortlessly assess your candidate’s suitability for your position by providing you with a streamlined document against which to measure and check off desired traits, experiences, education, and skills. Remember that these three documents are your selling pitch and function as marketing pieces to get people in the door and interested in working for your company.
Pouring a solid foundation of delicious cake batter upon which you can begin building your ideal candidate cake starts with examining who’s involved, in what capacity, and how you’ll attract your candidates. Stay tuned for more knowledge dropping soon on the topic of whether to use an agency or conduct your search in-house!
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