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Recruitment is not an easy process. It is easy to learn, but it is hard to master. A lot of companies think it is just a matter of putting out an ad on LinkedIn, but it entails much more than that.

Most people see recruitment as a necessary means to an end and perceive the process with a clear starting point (the internal hiring need) and a clear end (the hired candidate). However, in contrary to popular believe, recruitment is a never-ending process. In this blog I have already explained why recruitment does not stop after you have found the right candidate. But what if you are already stuck before that stage? What if the perfect candidate never seems to show up? In this blog I will discuss 6 tips which help you to find your future candidate and transform your recruitment operations into a continuously developing process.

Knowing yourself is important to know what you want

Firstly, we are going to start with the basics. Whenever you are looking out for people, you need to make sure that you know what you as a company stand for. In this sense you need to have a thought-out vision and mission of what you aim to achieve with your company. Furthermore, you need to know what kind of internal culture you have and what values are shared in this culture. This is important because most people nowadays are not convinced by just a pure salary raise anymore. Most people are motivated by companies with whom they can identify with and who share their personal values. Want to learn more about what motivates your employees? Read this blog on motivation.

Now that you have identified your vision, mission, culture and values, it is time to work with them, which brings us to the second tip.

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Translate and communicate your message

Now that your vision, mission, culture and values are set up, it is important to display them. First and foremost, you should of course display this on your website and LinkedIn, but besides that there are also other target group focussed forums. You can think of websites, conventions or breakfast seminars which your potential candidates often visit. Don’t be afraid to be creative, in this sense it is better to be too active than too passive. Have you ever heard of guerrilla marketing? Well, that just might catch the attention of your future employee, against often budget friendly costs.

Besides this, your recruiters also need to be well-trained in understanding, translating and identifying your own vision, mission, culture and values. It is therefore important that they work together with staff from your marketing department to gain those skills and to set up the right messaging towards your potential candidates. Furthermore, they are also the ones that need to identify the candidates whose values align with your own.

Expand your network and nurture candidates

Another thing that you can start to do tomorrow is to get in touch with different recruiters or HR employees from other companies and start making them part of your network to increase the possibilities of a referral. Go to conventions, breakfast seminars and conferences to get in touch with them. In this sense it is important to know that a strong way to expand your network is to do favours for others before you can reap the rewards. This might sound like you are getting more work on your hands, but who knows; what may seem like an impossible profile for somebody else, might just be floating around in your talent pool.

When talking about talent pools it is also important to remember to nurture the candidates who you have not hired. An applicant with the wrong profile for a previous vacancy might be the perfect candidate for a new vacancy. You should therefore regularly nurture their excitement for your company and go through your talent pool to see if you can find that hidden gem that you might forgot about. Read more about the importance of candidates that you did not hire here. One way to continuously increase your talent pool is to open up ongoing vacancies where people can list their open application.

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Promotion and internal hiring boards

Did you just lose an incredible manager/team leader/senior team member and are you wondering how you will ever fill his or her position? Perhaps an internal promotion is a possibility. Maybe one of the team members is ready to step up and, if he or she is provided with training, be your new amazing superstar.

Internal promotion has three advantages over external hiring: it’s cheaper, it’s faster, and the candidate already knows your company/product. Of course, the fact remains that there will be a gap in the team if you promote one of its members, but this, in most cases, is an easier recruitment than the incredible superstar that you lost.

If the team members are not an option or if there is not even a team to speak of in the first place, then internal hiring boards could be an option. Internal hiring boards are basically vacancy boards of internal vacancies that not have been externally published yet and where only internal employees can apply for. A lot of managers are cautious for this, because they fear that their best employees might leave their department and they say that this is just a way of moving the problem. I would argue that this is the wrong way of thinking. Firstly, yes, your employee might move from your department, and yes, that moves the problem to your department. However, you should always realize that people are looking for ways to develop themselves, so letting them develop themselves within the company benefits the company as a whole.

Again, it might be easier to find somebody for the new gap in your department as it is to find for the gap your company is experiencing right now (there is most likely a very valid reason that somebody is reading this blog right now). Furthermore, I would argue that this shows your employees that there will always be possibilities to develop themselves, which can motivate them to stay instead of leaving for a possibility to develop themselves at another company.

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Internal training and development

Continuing on the previous note, it is important to plan out what your employees are capable of right now and where they want to be in five to ten years. In this sense development plans should be one of the key priorities for any HR department. Firstly, because it simply keeps your employees happy and loyal if they have a sense of development and, secondly, because you can prepare and train them for the more specific and hard-to-fill vacancies which are upcoming in the future.

This, again, intertwines with the first point, that you should know who you are as a company and strategically plan ahead for the future. So organisational charts need to be drawn up, both from the present and where you expect to be. Then you need to identify who can fill the potential upcoming (senior) positions and what he or she needs, in terms of training, to be able to fulfil that position. Engage actively with your employees and take them with you on this journey of development. The backend developer of today can be your architect of tomorrow.

There is a truth in numbers

As with most things in life, there is a certain truth in numbers. The bigger your pool of candidates, the larger the odds that the right candidate is in there. In this sense it might be a good idea to try quantity over quality and expand the parameters that you’ve got from the hiring manager. When you are searching new candidates, the pool of potential candidates increases if you decrease the hiring manager’s requirements. Maybe the candidate does not require a full five years of experience? Maybe experience in a related industry can be equivalent to experience in your own industry? Maybe managing twenty people requires the same type of management skills as it does when managing ten? Try to send through some candidates and resume’s with the expanded parameters and see what works for your individual vacancy.

It is in this sense also the recruiter’s job to push back a bit on the requirements of the hiring manager, because too often we see that hiring managers are looking for a unicorn that is fluent in five languages, has four degrees, and more than twenty years of experience in the industry. The reality is that unicorns do not exist, but it is our job to show them that and to come with a viable alternative.

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In conclusion

When looking out for your future candidates you should start with the basics and have a good story on who you are as a company and what you are trying to achieve. Then you need to get your message out there, both through online and conventional ways; be creative! After that you need to work with your network, most predominantly: expand it. Find ways to get in touch with fellow HR colleagues in the field and see if you can use their network. Furthermore, don’t forget about internal hiring and promoting your employees, and last, but not least, try to push back on the requirements for the profile and expand the parameters of your search to get a bigger pool of potential candidates.

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