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ClientsGain the Competitive Edge

Even in times when the economy is soft and the market is flooded with unemployed professionals, and others who are worried about their positions with their current employers, it is still imperative for companies to hire the best. And, even in bad times, the best candidates will usually be sought after by several companies. How can your firm compete with all of the others for those still rare, exceptional candidates?

1. Evaluate your recruiting process. Some companies shoot themselves in the foot by having a hiring process that either takes too long or turns off candidates. Streamline the process as much as possible. If you are using a Search firm, demand they do their due diligence by verifying education and references before they refer candidates to you. The good ones do it anyway. Look to your interviewing process. How long does it take from the time you receive a candidate's resume to determination of interest to first contact with the candidate? 48 hrs is a reasonable time frame. Longer, and the candidate may no longer be available. If you can move more quickly than that, you have out-maneuvered your competition.

2. Demand more from the Search Firms you use. Why use recruiters who only refer candidates they get from internet postings - - - the same candidates you could get with your own postings? Find Search Firms who have the experience and resources to dig deep in to the hidden talent pool and use a variety of resources to find the best candidates for you, not just the most easily obtained. You should also expect more in the service they render. Employ Search Firms who will be your strongest allies and advocates in promoting your organization in a good ethical manner. Remember, they are reflections of your organization every time they interact with candidates. Some recruiters don't even interview the candidates they refer. Is that the service you expect?

3. Use all resources available to you. All of us in business want to save money, especially in today's economy. But it makes no sense to save money while recruiting the very people who will be propelling your organization to success. A good hire will make you money- - - a bad one will cost you much more than you saved. Use a good search firm, employee referral programs, and, if necessary, internet postings.

4. Buy & Sell. Of course you want to be a careful "buyer" when evaluating candidates. However, it is equally important to promote or "sell" the opportunity to the candidate. What is your process for promoting your company, the position, career track, and community to candidates?

5. Evaluate your employment packages. Obviously this makes a difference in attracting and securing the best candidates. However, most candidates are seeking only a fair package. A progressive vacation policy is very important to candidates, and the insurance benefits and costs along with a good 401K or related benefit are hugely important to all candidates. Look for ways in which you can adjust or flex your benefits to meet the challenge of competing for and retaining top talent.

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