Twenty-seven Things You Can Do Right Now to Win the War for Talent - Part One

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Twenty-seven Things You Can Do Right Now to Win the War for Talent - Part One

How about if I don’t start this out by recounting how hard it is to find and keep workers right now? That would be only slightly less useful than an OB/GYN standing over the bed of a woman in the travails of labor, saying, “Let me tell you how bad you hurt.”

I’ll also save for another day the lecture about developing a people-centric culture, which is, of course, the real solution. But, to continue the medical metaphor, that would be akin to an EMT looking into the terrified eyes of a patient in cardiac arrest and suggesting a diet high in omega 3 fatty acids. Let’s restart the heart first. Then you can order the salmon for lunch.

Instead, I’ll assume you’re feeling the pain and that you know you need to create a better culture. For now, I’ll talk about what your competitors for talent are doing to find and keep good people. And what you can do to join them.

I listened to my friend Clint Maun, who spoke the day before I did at this month’s Health Care Service Excellence Conference in La Jolla, CA, sponsored by Custom Learning Systems. Clint said, “The truth is that there is no shortage of workers. They’re just not working for you.”

Let’s see if we can change that.

So I’ll break this down into three solid chunks – one per week for this and the next two posts: Recruiting, Onboarding, and Retention. Today we’ll cover Recruiting. 

End of article. Beginning of list. Take notes.


I’ll assume you’re already doing the tried-n-true stuff everyone knows to do (or do they?) like advertising, referral bonuses, maximizing the use of social media, and creating a GREAT experience for every candidate who engages in your process. One that mirrors the great experience they’ll have when they start working there. Here are some things you may not have considered:

  1. Reach out to boomerang hires – people who left you for what they hoped would be something better. It wasn’t. Get them back.
  2. Runners up – they came in second in an earlier round of hiring. Now they may not be looking so “second place”. Make them an offer.
  3. Those who turned you down before. It’s not groveling. Things are different now. They may be willing to reconsider. If they still say “no thanks”, ask them for a referral.
  4. Look at your recent retirees. Maybe this whole retirement thing wasn’t what they’d hoped. They’ve still got some years left to give, and they’re perfect in so many ways. They know the job, the people, the culture. Work something out.
  5. Learn the difference between job requirements and preferences. No wonder you can’t find anyone! You’ve made your filter too restrictive and described a candidate that doesn’t exist, with overly specific skills and experience that they don’t need for success in the job you’re trying to fill. I’m not saying lower your standards; I’m saying make them realistic. And be more willing to hire and develop potential. We may not have the luxury of a “ready-made” candidate these days.
  6. Consider the autism community, including those with Asperger’s. Lots of good talent there, but many employers overlook this source. You have resources in your area that can help connect you.
  7. Ask for referrals DURING A NEW EMPLOYEE’S FIRST WEEK – while they’re excited! This is gold.
  8. Stop offloading one of THE most important parts of the recruiting process to Artificial Intelligence. Read the resumes. Your computer is leaking great candidates like a sieve. Their applications are ending up in front of actual human eyeballs at another company, and that’s why they’re not working for you. I didn’t say this stuff was easy. But it’s essential.
  9. Work on your website. Look at your “careers” section through the eyes of a prospective employee. Is there anything there that would make you look twice? Or would it make you go to the next site? I’m talking employer brand, video testimonials from happy employees, a window into your world, and why they should consider you.
  10. Load up your YouTube channel (you do have one, don’t you?) with great videos that highlight what makes yours an outstanding place to work. Make them findable through online searches, so people don’t have to stumble onto your site, but rather see your videos when they search for great jobs in their field.
  11. Make your job postings fun. Most of them are BORING! Like the one for a Certified Nursing Assistant, the most alluring line of which was, “Collect specimens as directed by RN”. Sign me up! Said no one ever. The job is still open. Hmmm. Take some inspiration from this one instead:

12. And finally… Never stop recruiting! Strike the words “We don’t have any current openings” from your lexicon (and your website!) Always keep a line in the water, and you’ll be far less likely to get caught short on talent the next time.

Subscribe to this blog, if you haven’t already, and when Part 2 on Onboarding, and Part 3 on Retention come out, you’ll be among the first to know.


The Series - Twenty-Seven Things You Can Do Right Now to Win the War for Talent

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