Despite the unprecedented times we’ve experienced since early this year, my businesses — like many real estate businesses — have continued to thrive and grow. For that, I am very grateful. More specifically, I’m thankful for the great team of driven, dedicated and determined agents who have helped us persevere.
And we’re not slowing down! We still have big goals for 2020, and we need hungry, humble and smart individuals to accomplish our exciting — and sometimes scary, but always challenging — goals.
Now, the unemployment rate has nearly doubled since January, going from 3.6 percent at the beginning of the year to 8.4 percent in August. But just because you post the career opportunity and just because there are many people looking for the next step in their career, doesn’t mean that they are the right fit for you or your organization.
It’s also worth noting that there are a lot of great companies looking for awesome talent right now. You’re going to have to be competitive with the value you provide candidates. You’re also going to have to attract talent to your organization better than your competition.
Whether it’s a tight labor market or there are more qualified candidates than you know what to do with, the tactics should remain the same. Here are a few tips.
1. Build a bench of talent
You shouldn’t start recruiting only when you need to fill a position. Do you have a candidate pool to pull from? We actively build and nurture a database of talent. When new positions open up at our company, we connect with individuals we met with three weeks — and sometimes even three years — ago.
Talent is talent. Even if we don’t have the right opportunity for them when we first meet, we make it a point not to forget about them. This doesn’t have to be complicated. An applicant tracking system (ATS) is great, but an Excel spreadsheet and calendar reminders work just as well. The key is to tag the people you meet by the position you believe they’re best suited for, not necessarily the position they applied for.
Continue to build relationships with these candidates. Check in from time to time. Add them to your company newsletter. Send them interesting articles. Connect them with other business leaders or career opportunities. When you have the right position for them, it makes the candidate review process that much faster and easier, particularly when the labor market is tight.
2. Scheduled time to source candidates and recruit
As I mentioned above, recruiting doesn’t start once you become desperate for a candidate to fill an open position. Talent meetings, sourcing candidates and general recruiting activities should never stop.
Do you have time set aside each week to reach out to potential talent, set up informational interviews or cultivate relationships with your bench candidates? Start with just an hour a week. When you’re purposeful, that hour can be powerful.
Building a business requires people. So, why wouldn’t you be setting aside at least an hour (preferably more than that) to lead generate for talent? Create this habit now and don’t stop! No matter what the labor market looks like, recruiting is an essential part of building a business.
3. Build your brand
If your company’s reputation is so good, regardless of the labor market, you’ll have candidates breaking down the door to get in. Do you think Hilton, Salesforce, American Express, Intuit or any of these other companies on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For have trouble getting applicants? I don’t think so.
Why is that? Because they’ve figured out how to share their company’s culture, vision, mission and values widely and often enough that it automatically attracts the right people. It may also turn a lot of people off, but that’s the point.
You want your brand to be so clearly defined that 50 percent of people are going to hate your company and what it stands for, and 50 percent of people will do anything they can to be a part of your world.
How clear is your vision? Is that being translated companywide and articulated through your brand? If not, get clear on this, and you’ll constantly be receiving inquires about being a part of your organization, whether or not you have any open positions.
4. Increase your leadership lid
To raise the entire consciousness, productivity and overall success of your organization, you have to start with you first. Want to build a brand that the exact talent you’re looking for wants to be a part of? That starts with you and your leadership.
Want to build a massive bench of talent or what’s essentially a “waitlist,” to be employed at your company? Again, that starts with you and your leadership. Are you working on who you need to become each day to attract the level of talent that you want in your organization?
High performers want to be surrounded (and led) by other high performers. If you aren’t constantly increasing your leadership lid and staying one step ahead of your team, your top talent will leave. It’s not just about attracting new talent, it’s also about retaining your current talent.
Are you pouring into the right people? Are you providing enough challenge and responsibility to your top performers? Are you pushing your team members to grow — not just professionally, but personally as well? It’s your duty as a leader to grow the individuals around you, and that starts by growing yourself each day.
Think of the best employees in your organization. How did you find them and partner with them? Or did they find you? Start there, and remember to always be recruiting! Build a bench, build your brand, and grow your leadership so you can continue to grow those around you. It’s a simple (but not always easy) recipe for success.
We know that no one succeeds alone. Do you have people around you who’ll help you accomplish your goals? If not, schedule a talent meeting today!
Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies