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Upgrading the Talent in Your Business

Upgrading the Talent in Your Business

By: Eric Herrenkohl

How can you improve your hiring practices? The CEO of a technology company told me that they recently laid off several programmers so that they could hire better performers at the same or lower wages. While this may sound harsh, the fact is that your company likely has individuals or teams where results could be dramatically improved if you made some staffing changes and hired more effective people.

If you want to upgrade your talent level but these resumes have not just fallen into your lap, here are some additional proactive strategies that you can take to find out if you can get stronger talent for the same cost in today’s job market.

Realistically assess the weak spots in your company. Every organization has weak links, meaning people who are not performing at the level that you need or want.  Who are these individuals?  Have you dealt directly with their sub-par performance? What is the A-player profile for these roles? Often, companies don’t deal directly with poor performance because they don’t have anyone to fill the position. From this perspective, investing some time to find new talent can dramatically help you as a leader to get better results out of your team.

Get the word out.  Get the word out in your network that you are looking for one or more strong people with specific credentials. Social media tools like BeKnown and Twitter give you the ability to broadcast your need to a lot of people who have connections to your industry. Use these platforms to connect people to your Monster posting. Consider using these tools to see how much interest there is in the marketplace.

Reach out to people who used to be out of reach.  I know several executives who are trying to hire top sales people from their competitors in these uncertain times. They are finding a mutual acquaintance to set up lunch, build some rapport, and then tossing out the possibility of their coming to work for them. Uncertainty creates openness. Schedule a meeting with top people in your industry and feel them out to see if they are interested in discussing new opportunities.

Develop your farm team.  Set a goal for yourself to interview at least 2 people every month. Let people in your company and in your network know that you are always interested in interviewing good people who have a specific kind of background. If you and your management team are disciplined about doing this, you will develop a “farm team” of potential employees who work for other people right now but who are interested in coming to work for you. This gives you a pool of people from which to pull when you are ready to make a new hire.

Run a targeted ad on Monster.com.  Particularly in a down economy, if you run a targeted ad on Monster you will likely receive applications from some very talented individuals. Monster filters can help target your resume results by education level or your own criteria. Use Monster’s screening questions to get pre-interview insight into a candidate’s skills. Delegate the responsibility for sorting through results to someone in your organization. Consider setting up phone interviews with qualified candidates. Bring a few people in for face-to-face interviews. The net result could be a high-talent hire who makes dramatic improvements to your results.

Hiring Takeaway:  Even if you can’t afford to add to your payroll, take a hard look at whether you can improve your results by upgrading your talent. Get proactive about identifying the weaknesses on your team and meeting people who could boost this area of your operation. You’ll make your entire company better by replacing a poor performer with an A-player.

Author Bio
Eric Herrenkohl
is the founder and president of Herrenkohl Consulting, a firm that helps clients build great sales teams. He is the author of the book, How to Hire A-Players (John Wiley & Sons, April 2010.) To receive his free e-letter, subscribe at herrenkohlconsulting.