Sometimes we try to re-invent the wheel only to realize that the wheel is actually quite effective. Other people, to put it in Game of Thrones terms, come along like they’re Daenerys Targaryen and make it their life’s work to break the wheel. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum. Now, as much as I might like to proclaim myself the Khaleesi of talent acquisition, that might be a bit of a stretch. (I probably need to raise some dragons and conquer some kingdoms first.)
Still, I do have some dragons I’d like to present to you – the dragons of talent acquisition. They should act as an overwhelming force against all obstacles you might face. You probably have heard of these, but do you remember them day to day, and have you truly witnessed their power? Adapt any of the following techniques to your arsenal and your organization’s talent acquisition function will rule the Seven Kingdoms.
*****Also, SPOILER ALERT for Game of Thrones!*****
1) Embrace the Referral: Tormund Giantsbane and Jon Snow once found themselves standing before the Wildlings in a tough situation (“Hardhome,” Season 5, Episode 8). The Wildlings wanted to cut them both to pieces, but Tormund ended up giving an impassioned speech about Jon, vouching for his leadership and skill in battle. The character reference Tormund gives ends up saving their lives. You and your team aren’t likely to face such a dire scenario, but keep in mind that you know great people and you have great people working for you. Create an environment – an established, incentivized employee referral program – where everyone feels comfortable vouching for each other. You will find it well worth the effort.
2) Always Be Recruiting: Jon and Daenerys are the show’s hot couple right now, but they started out very suspicious of each other. It’s only when Jon receives a glowing endorsement of Daenerys from Missandei, wherein she says of her Khaleesi, “She is the queen we chose,” that things start to change. (“The Spoils of War,” Season 7, Episode 4) It inspires him to finally find a way for him and Daenerys to work together. Sounds like employer branding, right? If you talk about how happy you are with your company, how invested you are in your project, the fabulous work-life balance, your fantastic benefits, people will notice and remember. When they start thinking about their next career move, your company might be a place they consider. This is akin to networking, and you can always take a more hands-on approach.
3) Search the Right Environment: Remember the insane adventure north of the Wall to find the White Walker, because it was the only way to convince Cersei of the real threat? (“Beyond the Wall,” Season 7, Episode 6) Jon led a ragged group of warriors on what had to feel like a certain death mission, to a place none of them ever wanted to go, because it was the only place to find what they needed. In your search for talent, have you really thought about where you can find the ideal professional for your positions? Are they on GitHub, GoodReads, aboutme, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn? Do they lead a meetup group? Can you sponsor that group? Did they write an article in your industry publication? Do they attend industry conferences? Meet them where they are. After all, you cannot fish in the forest.
4) Use Your Applicant Tracking System: We eventually find out, thanks to the annals of the Maesters, that Jon Snow is the best man for the job of King of the Seven Kingdoms. This is something we would have never known, at least not from the official stance on legitimacy, if not for recordkeeping. If you are at a company large enough to have an established ATS, you absolutely can use it to your advantage to catalogue all candidates. You can refer to previous finalists, or start conversations with the folks who had accepted offers elsewhere or who had to drop out for personal reasons. Circumstances do change, and you may quite literally already have the resume and contact information of the perfect candidate.
5) Right Fit the Candidates: Remember Podric? The painfully awkward, seemingly incompetent yet completely dedicated squire eventually goes on to provide incredible service to two masters, even saving one of their lives on the battlefield. Now, think back and remember a candidate you spoke to who checked off all your boxes on paper, but unfortunately showed no passion for your organization or product. You were wise not to hire them. Instead you went with a candidate who knew when your organization was founded, where your headquarters are, how your stock is doing, what your product or service is, and better yet, has used it and loved it. Candidates like these are invested and enthusiastic, something that can’t really be taught through on-the-job training. You made the right decision. You want to hire Podric, because that kind of loyalty and dedication cannot be bought.
In today’s talent acquisition world, things can be so complex, and often that complexity is of our own making. We are surrounded by new software, rules and regulations, the latest/greatest time-saving techniques and, to be sure, these new methods have their uses. However, I recommend evaluating your mission semi-regularly, asking yourself if the precious time you are spending is furthering your mission or distracting from it. It might be time to break out your very own fire-breathing children and conquer.
Like this article? Check out “Balancing a High-Tech & High-Touch Candidate Experience.”
Post contributed by Genevieve Walters, Recruiter. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter. Also by Genevieve, "How Do We Make Job Interviews Better? Ask Better Questions."