Sparks from a sparkler

Hiring Talent? First, Get Real.

For most hiring managers, the thought of having to find a qualified resource for an opening on their team can be a daunting task. The process can seem overwhelming if you’re unfamiliar with the market, candidate pool and pay rate demands for the skillsets. I see this often in working with clients. We get many requests for content producers and content strategists. Some require strong writing skills, while others need more leadership or technical ability – but it’s all the same title. Titles can be deceiving. Educating yourself on what the market is really like before taking on this challenge can ease these anxieties and allow you to make the best employment decisions.

The first and most essential step is to truly understand what need you are looking to fill, outside of a generic job description or title. What skills are lacking by others on your team that may be fulfilled by another resource? When identifying the requirements, rank them in order starting with “must-haves” to “desired only.” This allows the recruiters to target those aspects most important to you. For example, you may want a content producer and require specific industry experience, but experience with the software package your company uses might be preferred.

While a detailed job description is helpful, narrowing potential candidates by only what is written on their resume can be very limiting. What attributes should this person have outside of the customary list of requirements? Do they need to be very technical or creative? Should they follow specific instructions without much variation or do you want them to think outside the box for different solutions? Being open to a candidate who has most of the experience but also has the drive and motivation to learn new things can open up more options. Conducting an initial screening on prospective applicants will tell you much more than their written profile. This will also give you an insight into their personality and work ethic, which for many people allows them to surpass performance expectations.

Determining the appropriate salary to match the desired skills is crucial. If you initially set an unrealistic pay rate, this can deter qualified applicants from applying to the position and delay the overall hiring process, eventually impacting your business. If your budget is firm, then you may need to be more flexible on the years of experience or be willing to train someone who doesn’t currently possess every requirement. Understanding the key aspects of hiring and keeping an open mind will lead you to a successful acquisition.