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Never Stop Recruiting Star Talent

Sept. 19, 2012
You may not always be hiring, but you should never stop looking for “A” players or “Topgrading” your workforce.

Keeping your cache of talent filled with the highest quality professionals requires continuous talent acquisition and management. You should always focus on identifying, hiring, promoting and retaining high level performers.
If recruiting only starts after you fire someone, or you receive a resignation, then you’re putting yourself and your organization in a bind. By having that talent pool filled with “A” players, you’ll avoid hiring in a hurry and having to settle for a “B” or even “C” player.

But let’s be clear. There are challenges associated with “topgrading.” Common challenges include:

• How to afford top professionals and

• How to persuade them to join your organization when they have other choices.

To start, even if you don’t have a budget for them now, at least invite them out for a cup of coffee and get a feel for their enthusiasm, talent and ambitions. Find out what makes them tick. Stay in touch so that when you are ready to hire and you do have the budget, you have a list of “A” players ready.

Remember, though, since there is a high demand for this select group, they will have choices. You will need to develop a capture strategy that revolves around a winning value proposition. Selling a job to an “A” player is exactly like selling to a discerning consumer. Your candidate will be asking themselves: “Why should I buy into this?” or “Why should I do anything at all?” Therefore, you will require compelling and persuasive answers and actions to these questions. I suggest the following:

1. Ask your current employees to serve as ambassadors for your organization. Referrals are the unwavering, irrefutable and the most efficient and effective methods of recruiting new employees.

2. Gear your infrastructure to help “A” players continue to succeed. Let them know you are flexible and open to new ideas and business practices that will yield positive results. Also, convey and/or demonstrate how you acknowledge and show appreciation for a job well done.

3. Invest in developing a relationship. “A” level candidates want to be wooed. Spend the time and effort required to help them build familiarity and trust in your organization. Be accessible and encourage open and regular communication.

4. Ask about their pain. It’s important to find out what they need but aren’t getting from their current employer. However, keep in mind that “A” players usually have a high tolerance for pain so their ache may not be surface level.

5. Offer a lifestyle. Since “A” players stay at jobs longer than the average worker, they are looking for more than a paycheck; they seek a lifestyle. It may be of interest to note that money rarely attracts their attention. More likely, it’s a balance between family, work, and fun.

So here’s the point: Never stop recruiting and topgrading your talent. If you’re not dedicating a large chunk of time to recruiting, you may not succeed in landing the talent you want. Selling your organization to the “A” player is core to your success. This is not hyperbole but reality.

Dan Charney is managing partner with Direct Recruiters Inc. (, a Cleveland, Ohio-based search firm for companies in automated packaging and material handling systems.

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