Finding the right person for the right job is rarely easy -- and made more difficult in today's workplace, where employees are increasingly asked not only to do their jobs but also to think creatively about ways they can inspire customer loyalty, drive profitability, and -- just as important -- help recruit A-level outside talent. Employees, after all, see and talk to talented people every day through their social and professional networks. But they tend to be an underutilized army of recruiters, whether you're hiring today or simply filling the pipeline for future openings. Here's how smart companies tap into this potential:
1. Identify the Behaviors You Want -- Not Just the Skills
Your employees need to know what they're looking for, and a standard job description listing duties and skills needed won't cut it today. You want recruits who not only have the requisite experience but also exhibit the behaviors necessary to excel consistently. Take a customer service representative: the most successful ones know how to establish a rapport with a customer quickly and solve seemingly intractable problems right in the moment. If you’re hiring for this position, ensuring that your employees understand the qualities and personality types you're looking for will help guide them as they keep an eye out for the right people.
2. Develop a Language for These Sought-After Behaviors
There's only one problem with talking about "behaviors" in the recruiting context: we don't really have a common language for identifying a certain behavior that is immediately understood by everyone. Personality or talent assessment tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are extremely useful tools for discovering what motivates and drives the people who work for you -- and labeling these behaviors in a way that they are immediately understood by everyone. For example, if your employees know that a "Bottom-Liner" is someone who focuses on the big picture, then they'll instantly recognize the type of person you're looking for when you say 'Please go find me a Bottom-Liner." The key is to establish a nomenclature that everyone understands -- and talent assessments let you do that.
3. Turn Your Employees Into Card-Carrying "Talent Scouts"
I always advise companies to design a separate batch of business cards for employees that lists "Talent Scout" instead of their official title. Why? So they can give these cards to anyone they encounter on any given day who exhibits the talents and attitudes you want in an employee -- even if there isn't a specific job opening. This way, you start to fill your talent pipeline so that, when you're suddenly short-staffed or you need to ramp up quickly, you've already got a place to start.
4. Feature Workers in Promotional Videos -- Directed by You
A lot has been written about how social media networks like LinkedIn and Facebook allow companies to tap into their employees' social networks for recruiting purposes. But you can take this one step farther with employee testimonials about everyday life at your company. They can be written or turned into videos that star the employee talking about your company's culture and its mission and why she loves her job so much. These make for incredibly powerful stories that can be linked to from a "Career Center" on your company website or -- even better -- shared with her Facebook friends.
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This article was originally published in Laurie Ruettimann's blog in December 2022.
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