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Recruiting for senior-level employees can be a headache, especially in an economy with near-full employment. When recruiting for a senior position, which typically requires a detailed recipe of hard and soft skills, accomplishments, and professional experience, the field can seem awfully narrow.
Make your challenge for 2019 to sharpen your senior-level recruiting skills. By following the list of 6 tips below, you’ll learn to present your upcoming opportunities to a pool of active and passive candidates alike, tangibly improve the qualities of your hires, and increase your company’s retention.
1. Start with a standout job description
Clever titles and a long list of work perks aren’t enough to attract the best candidates in this job market. With fewer people actively looking for work, effective recruiting for senior-level employees requires a job description that will attract even those jobseekers who didn’t know they needed a new job.
Especially for hard-to-fill roles, writing a clean, detailed job description must be a priority if you are hoping to improve your chances of identifying the right candidates. A common complaint among recruiters and hiring managers is that there is a skills gap or a dearth of candidates who possess the exact skills sets needed for job openings.
However, research shows that often it isn’t a lack of qualified candidates but rather a disconnect between what recruiters are looking for and what applicants are writing on their resumes. To combat this, recruiters and hiring managers must have a deep understanding of the role.
When writing a job description, ask yourself what problem the company is looking to solve with this hire. Then, develop a detailed profile of your ideal candidate. In other words, your job description should be more than a list of job responsibilities. It should focus on the specific hard and soft skills that an employee will need to succeed in the role.
To develop this list, interview employees who are currently shining in similar job titles and ask what they think their most valuable skills are. Interview the executive that this new hire will report to, as well, and ask them the same questions. Their responses during these interviews should inform your job description more than a list of duties and responsibilities.
2. Make the first contact count
Highly-qualified candidates are often bombarded with emails from recruiters, many of which are vague, uninspired emails that scream of a mass mailing. Very often, these go unanswered.
Recruiting for senior-level employees requires you to up your game. To increase your chances of getting a response from your chosen candidates, personalize every communication. At a minimum, use the person’s name and mention one of their past roles or a skill they possess that has caught your eye. By taking the time to customize each correspondence just a little bit, you’ll increase the likelihood that a candidate will respond to your request for a call or meeting.
3. Don’t rely exclusively on email
With tools like ContactOut available, it’s easier than ever to participate in the lost art of the phone call. Once you are familiar with a candidate, consider tracking down their phone number and giving them a call. Especially when recruiting for senior-level employees whose email inboxes are often bursting with inquiries from recruiters, taking the time to pick up the phone shows your true interest in their skill set and can be much more personal than a generic email.
Not convinced? A recent survey found that nearly 40 percent of job seekers preferred being contacted by phone over email.
4. Be able to explain why this is a great opportunity
This tip, too, is about personalization. Another benefit to taking the time to study the career path of the candidates you are considering is that it will help you be more selective about who you reach out to, which will save you time. Look at each candidate’s background (perhaps through a Mighty resume database) and ask yourself – is this a logical next step for this person’s career?
What is appealing for one candidate will not be the same as what appeals to another. For example, if you are looking to hire a marketing manager, someone who currently holds the title associate marketing manager might jump at the chance to move up the ladder professionally.
However, for someone who already holds that title and would be making a lateral move, being able to highlight new skills they’ll develop in the role or exciting projects they’ll work on, could help pique their interest. This tip is especially important when recruiting passive candidates.
5. Learn stellar screening skills
You’ve written a killer job description, personalized emails to a handful of dream candidates, and have received some positive responses. Now, it’s time to screen your candidates.
When recruiting for senior-level employees, a seasoned recruiter can often tell by looking at a candidate’s resume whether they have the skills to do a job. However, the phone or video screen is when you’ll begin to decide which of your selected candidates are most likely to succeed in the role.
While skills and knowledge certainly play into the part of the interview process, don’t forget to ask questions that get to the heart of the candidate’s work, management, and communication styles. These are often a determining factor in whether they will be a cultural fit for a team or company and can help you determine who will be most likely to thrive in the role.
6. Get sleuth-y with reference checks
Going the extra mile in checking references is a critical part of the hiring process. After all, it’s easy for candidates to present themselves well during a few job interviews. And with so much of our lives documented on social media, it’s easy to back up that presentation with a carefully curated LinkedIn profile.
When checking references, don’t stop at the people provided by the candidate – after all, as the candidates chosen references, they are almost certainly going to paint a rosy picture of the person’s past performance. Instead, go a step further by using your own network to ask questions.
Look on LinkedIn for common contacts and, if you have any in common, reach out to those people for a fresh perspective on the candidate’s accomplishments and demeanor. Look at the candidate’s online recommendations and reach out to those, not on your list of referrals. Read reviews of the candidate’s published works or lectures. These steps can serve as gut checks that will help you feel confident that you are reading the candidate correctly.
About the author: Kick off your 2019 recruiting game with MightyRecruiter. An intuitive, comprehensive, and transformative recruiting solution, MightyRecruiter allows you to source passive candidates, track and manage applicants, access an expansive resume database, and take advantage of Mighty free job postings. Then, hire the most relevant candidates for your jobs, all at no cost.