I’m sorry who are you? How can you secure top talent when nobody knows you

I must admit I get a little jealous when I read all these cool amazing things some of these larger organisations use to find and attract people to work for them. Imagine recruiting with all the bells and whistles; people actually knowing where you are calling from and you did not have to explain. That would be so cool, right?

Well some of us haven’t had that luxury. I’d love to tell you that there’s a Smartphone application that will help you attract candidates, sell your (no brand) company and hire the best people effectively but, sadly, there isn’t. I’ve had a career of searching for this Holy Grail though. Fruitless, I grant you, but there are heaps of lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Here are a few of the things we need to think about when starting off on selling without a brand.

 Firstly you need to commit to doing this

Commit to yourself, commit to your team that you are not going to just rely on posting job ads and waiting for the reply. I’m not saying don’t use that medium, but you need to commit time, effort, passion and patience to getting those stars into your organisation.

 If you wouldn’t buy it… don’t sell it

If you wouldn’t buy it, don’t sell it. An old manager told me this and I can still remember him writing this truism on our office whiteboard. To attract people to your business, it really helps if you believe in it. Even better if you are passionate about it too.

You must also be able to translate this passion effectively to the people you are talking to. I’ve been lucky enough that I have believed in the vision, direction and management of most of the organisations I have worked with and that really makes life that much easier.

 Start with the perfect candidate in mind

Build a mind map, really take the time to think about what these people will look like, where they would work, what they would be doing, or would have done? What would their title be? What do they want to do in the future? What are their core drivers, what would they not like? Once you have answered these questions, you can build your target list from here.

 Get your leaders in the game

Speak to your leaders about your ideas. Get their buy in, get them involved. Get time in their diaries; involve them in championing this process and being visible and approachable in the process.

 Prepare your value proposition with this in mind

Once you are in that headspace, mark out how you organisation can appeal and be attractive to that person. Don’t be fooled or tricked into saying stuff that can’t or won’t happen.

 Be brave and pick up the phone

It’s easy to send an InMail or an unsolicited email, tweet or direct message and cross your fingers that someone will respond. Pick up the phone; get some good old fashion one on one personal contact.

 Make it personal

Whilst this may be just a business thing for you, remember it doesn’t get much more personal for the person you are talking to. Put your ego on hold and remember it is all about this individual. Ask them questions, find out what they would be looking for, what they want, what their passions are? Resist the standard pitching. Listen and then formulate your message accordingly.

 Don’t rush it

Good things come to those who wait. Don’t be that Recruiter who wants to close everyone every meeting. Don’t fall for the Gordon Gecko’s “ABC” “Always Be Closing”. Take the candidate on a journey and remember that relationships are not built on the back of a two-minute phone conversation – they take time.

Companies are always looking for great talent. When the time is right, the time is right (I think my mum gave me the same dating advice once upon a time). I have got countless examples of candidates I have spoken to off and on for years before the stars aligned and the time was right for us to work together. It’s great when it works though; these are the types of relationships that make your reputation as a Recruiter.

 Invite Them To Functions

If the hiring process is taking a while, show that they are still front of your mind by inviting them to a company meeting or a lunch. Prove and re-iterate your interest in them.

 Work on the Relationship. Really connect with people (more than just LinkedIn or Facebook)

You need to invest your time in the right people.  Have coffees, take the phone call, respond to emails, reach out occasionally, wish them well in new ventures, and remember their kids and spouses names.

It’s all important, it will build your credibility and enforce the notion that you are doing the best for them in the long run.

 Be authentic

Do not fabricate or use hyperbole.  Tell them what it’s like straight up. Don’t coerce someone to join your company, let them choose for all the right reasons and become an ambassador before they even join.

I remember a sales person I once hired, we’d danced for about a year before we finally signed the deal. The area he was going into was tough; a demanding boss who had bursts of micro management and “my way or the highwayisms”. I was straight up with this candidate about this but I highlighted heaps of positives too, like the amazing learning opportunities and rewards he would receive etc.

Do as you say

Nothing builds credibility like this. If you say you will call them, call them! If there is feedback to be given, give it. Living up to your word is essential in building relationships. It makes someone feel important and valued, and that is important and will separate you from others.

 Be happy, authentic and honest enough to walk away

Some people take all this work as an indication that they may hold the whip hand in negotiations when trying to woo or entice someone to join us. Be firm and be willing to walk away. If you have been open and honest throughout the process, you should have nothing to hide nor be worried about. If the candidate is invested in the relationship like you are, and you have done your job throughout the process, there should be no 11th hour surprises.

All this seems pretty straightforward. But do remember – people tend to buy from people and brands they trust. Whilst a brand can be seen as important on someone’s resume, your reputation and your ability to showcase an authentic “what’s in it for them” to your targeted audience is an essential ingredient for getting those stars into your (no brand) organisation. Believe me, you really don’t need to have a super huge budget (unless someone wants to give me one that is).

Image: Shutterstock


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