There is a war on top talent, and distributors need to arm themselves with a different set of tools to be successful, according to John Salvadore, managing partner at Global Recruiters Network-Coastal (GRN Coastal), a search firm specializing in distribution and manufacturing.
“In the past, it was always the company looking at the candidate and trying to figure out if the candidate was the right fit for them,” he said in his role as moderater of a panel discussion on talent at last month’s Power Transmission Distributors Association Industry Summit. “Nowadays, the table has changed. It is a real candidate-driven marketplace. Candidates and top talent really have choices. So, just as you’re looking at the candidate, the candidates are also looking at your organization as a potential fit for them.”
The bar is much higher today for employers. When it comes to a company’s culture and brand, potential candidates want to know how employees were treated during the pandemic, the financial stability of a company, whether there were furloughs and whether they’ll be allowed to work from home for a better work-life balance, according to Salvadore.
“That work-life balance is really something you need to consider,” he said. “And almost every candidate wants a coach. Whether it’s a senior-level or a low-level person in your organization, they want coaching from management. They want a chance to advance in your company. They want to see that upward mobility available to them. They want to see the career path. It’s really important, especially when you’re dealing with millennials.”
Here are key takeaways from a panel discussion on the new rules of hiring:
- Be proactive. Use LinkedIn, other social media platforms and other non-traditional recruitment methods to connect with candidates who may not be actively searching but are open to the right opportunity.
- Use a cross-functional team to test for a candidate’s fit and to better assess soft skills. It’s more than the technical skills a candidate brings to the table; the ability to work well in a team, particularly in a flex work environment, is a valued skill.
- There are a wide range of effective hiring processes today, with more non-traditional methods for vetting candidates. Some companies start with an initial virtual interview, then set up a series of one-on-ones; some are using testing more; and some are going to team interviews to shorten the cycle.
- Evaluate carefully for cultural fit, as it’s more important than ever before. Demonstrating and selling the company culture during the interview process is critical in the current competitive hiring landscape.
- Flexibility is still a big issue. While many companies are requiring employees to come back to the office, it’s impacting both existing employees and candidates. Expectations and priorities have shifted dramatically regarding workplace; that’s likely to stick.
- Referral and signing bonus programs are effective today. Word-of-mouth referrals by employees can yield great results, and signing bonuses are common today.
- Start a campus recruiting program. Keeping the talent pipeline open and full is challenging. Even beyond the traditional strong distribution programs, establishing campus and department relationships can improve the hiring process significantly.
- Make sure senior leadership is available for interviews and mandates candidate interviews as priorities. It’s challenging to get executive attention due to heavy schedules, but it sends a message to candidates when management is clearly responsive.
- Once you find the right candidate, keep them engaged. Speed is critical to land the best talent.