5 Tips for Finding Top Talent in 2011

Last week, an old friend of mine asked me for some advice on hiring a new employee. I get these requests every so often since I was a head hunter for 15 years, mainly in the printing industry.

I’m not active anymore so I just gave him a couple of tips. Hopefully, once the new year rolls around you’ll be looking at 2011 in proactive manner…and who knows, maybe even expand. So maybe these hiring tips will come in handy for you, too.

• It is not a privilege to work for your firm. I don’t care if we’re in recession or not in a recession, don’t think your firm is the only one out there hiring. In fact, competition for the top-tier talent is even tougher these days because the companies hiring are the strong ones.

Top candidates don’t have to sift through the fodder. They may only go on three interviews, but those will probably be good opportunities. If you come off acting like you’re doing them a favor, they’ll remember it…and you’ll remember it when they’re working for your competition down the street. Treat them just like you would a top client you’re trying to land.

• Fish in the right pools. If you want a trout, you don’t fish in the ocean. If you’re hiring a new media person, don’t put an ad in the paper. They don’t read papers. Find online sources. Better yet, ask another trout. Ask your best people for referrals. They’ll only refer you to someone who they can stake their reputation on. And on that note…

• Make your entire company a recruiting firm. I did an informal survey once of 10 of my top clients. I asked them if they offered their employees finders fees if they referred a new hire to the firm. Two did, that’s all. And the bonuses were only $500 to $1,000. That’s interesting since they paid me about $8,000 for finding the same person. I didn’t get an answer why…lucky for me, I guess.

Clay's recruiting and strategic consulting efforts over the past 20 years have provided firms in the printing and communications industries the talent and perspective that has enabled them to navigate the constant change they’ve faced. His current company, the bleedingEDGE, provides digital printing firms with 1:1 marketing solutions that enable their small- and medium-sized clients to compete with larger competitors using a cooperative strategy and production model. In addition to the normal 1:1 marketing techniques of personalization and customization, the bleedingEDGE incorporates timing strategies, generational analysis and sociological factors in producing results well above the norm.
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