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How to Hire Efficiently and Get the Best People

by Andrew Cowan, Managing Director, The InFocus Group, LLC

Reverse Logistics Magazine, Edition 60

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Anytime there’s a need to hire someone with unique experience for a key role defining the ideal candidate is a must. Start by writing down the “must haves” and then the “would be great if they have” skills the role requires. An experienced recruiter, (internal or external) should then be able to give feedback as to the likelihood of finding such a person and what the compensation range is at any given time. Careful planning and research on the front end of the recruiting process ensures that recruiting efforts are productive and efficient.

Reverse Logistics expertise is a unique area that calls for specific experience. Your recruiting efforts should be viewed the same way. Your recruiters must know your space, including competitors, key executives, know the nuances of the industry, the skill sets that are transferable, the ideal sources from which to pull candidates, those to avoid etc. They’ll know the jargon, the competitors, the business trends that are impacting the space, technologies, competitors, acquisitions-everything relevant that helps identify a few highly qualified candidates.

For instance, knowing the differences between Solution Engineers, Industrial Engineers, Automation Engineers and Operations Directors for example comes with the experience of having talked with hundreds of candidates and clients over years of recruiting. Most veteran recruiters have the benefit of years of experience and relationships that help them help develop quality candidates quickly for their clients.

In today’s candidate driven market speed to hire is more important than ever. The best candidates are those that are happily employed, being productive, and not in “job search” mode. This also means though that most quality employees have recovered from the economic upheaval that crippled the US in 2008 have landed positions they enjoy and are financially better off than they were a few years back.

Millions of “baby boomers” are retiring from the workforce and not being replaced by younger workers-there are just far fewer of them as a generation. This effect is already impacting the availability of workers- there are fewer of them to fill positions and this is not projected to change for many years. Given high demand and many choices, today’s workers are more selective, slow to change jobs, expecting clear increases in opportunity, career pathing and compensation when considering a job change.

There’s a “talent war” brewing as companies, recognizing the realities of today’s job market, start increasing compensation offers, developing compelling benefit programs and other “perks”- all designed to woo an otherwise recalcitrant worker to join the team. Companies that win the best candidates (who’re often receiving multiple offers from competing companies) are the ones that have fast, smooth interview processes and a means of identifying the best candidates quickly and fast tracking the offer and hire stages in order to get them before the competition does.

The days of months long multi step interviews are waning and good recruiters and hiring executives recognize this- no one wins if a process takes so long that a candidate loses interest or is hired by a competitor that’s more nimble.

To that end, companies that consistently win the best candidates also have developed a “buzz”; a short story of why they’re special; why they attract and retain the best people. Everyone in the company in fact, knows this story and it becomes their brand to the employment market. Think of a Google, Amazon, Apple and other similar examples. These are all companies with a brand cachet- people want to work there, and as a result they attract the best candidates. Every company looking to hire the best people should have the equivalent of a Top Ten list- the ten reasons why working there is going to change an employees career path or provide an opportunity to make a dramatic impact to the market, the world etc.

More than ever before today’s employment market is about speed, quality, opportunity, “selling “ to candidates and not thinking there’s an endless supply of candidates desperate for jobs- that market ended two years ago. Now candidates need to be “wooed” with what they’re most interested in; quality, career pathing, life/work balance, options to work from home for high travel and sales related positions Companies that “get it” are the ones winning today’s war for talent!

Andrew Cowan led business development for Aon Consulting, Zurich-GE and NEW/Asurion for 15 years, selling extended service plan programs, reverse logistics and call center services to big box retailers and manufacturers. I opened my recruiting firm four years ago and focus on placing sales, operations and logistics people with reverse logistics, 3PL’s and extended service plan companies. We also place sales, underwriting and warranty related positions with OEM’s and specialty insurance companies. I have an MBA from George Mason University. We’re located in Englewood, New Jersey and work nationally.
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