5 Tips to Recruit a Star Candidate
You know the scenario: You have a mission-critical position open at
your company, and the right candidate has been impossible to find.
You might be looking for the head of product with specific industry
experience, the sales person who blows out her numbers every year, the
engineer who knows how to properly scale large web apps, or the user
experience lead whose design is so smooth that it makes butter melt. You
know this is one of the most crucial hires for your team. Ultimately,
if you bring on the right all-star A-player, the impact will be
substantial to the overall success of your business.
But you're concerned because you have been looking for a while and
can't seem to find the right fit for one reason or another. You start to
doubt whether or not the ideal candidate is out there. You know, the
old needle in the haystack analogy. But you're not a quitter, and you'd
like to stick to your mantra, 'Never settle for second best.' I don't
As a recruiter for start-ups, I deal with this challenge every single
day! I know the feeling and have compassion for you. I also know that
if you put in the time, energy, patience, and dedicated focus, you can
find that ideal candidate.
Here's how to hunt down the best of the best:
1. Network, network, network
I can't stress the importance of networking enough. The more time you
spend meeting and talking with new talented people, the more valuable
your network will become. Networks are like spider webs; great people
know other great people and when the need arises for you to inquire with
your network for candidate referrals, you'll increase your odds of
finding your ideal candidate exponentially.
2. LinkedIn groups
If you are looking for someone with a very specific skillset or work
experience, check out LinkedIn groups. LinkedIn has a group for almost
every industry or topic and the odds are high that potential candidates
are a member of a group that is targeted toward their professional
background and interests.
If you are looking, for example, to hire a user experience person, you probably want to poke around a LinkedIn group called UX Professionals.
It has more than 23,000 members. Yes, 23,000! Join the group and then
search for people within it that are located in your targeted location.
Like LinkedIn groups, there is a Meetup just about everywhere on almost every topic. If you're looking for a mobile developer in New York, for instance, check out the New York iOS Developer Meetup,
which has more than 2,200 members. Meetup has a search function that
allows you to search for groups via keyword and location. Join the
relevant Meetups and then start attending in-person gatherings.
Quora is a community website
where questions are asked and answered on a wide variety of topics. It
is a great online forum for people to share expertise and get recognized
as subject-matter experts. The site has a search function that allows
you to mine through questions and discover the most relevant and
intelligent answers—and maybe even, in the process, that ideal job
For example, if you did a search on Quora for "web analytics" you'd
find that it is a designated topic with a variety of questions
underneath. It also has a list of "top answerers"—people who have
responded to the most questions on the topic—as well as a list of people
who are "following" it. In the case of "web analytics," it has more
than 3,000 people.
The only downside of Quora is that it's tough to search the site for
people in a specific location. It's time-consuming to review each
person's profile to find out where they are based.
5. Hire an up-and-comer
You probably remember a time in your career when someone gave you a
shot to step up and take on more responsibility. You were ready for it
and, once given the chance, highly successful in the new role. Now might
be a good time to give someone else the same opportunity. This can be
an especially useful idea if you run a start-up and need someone to be a
leader, but also involved in hands-on day-to-day execution of the
business. You might find this now gives you a larger pool of
exceptionally talented people, those who are at a crossroads in a
current position and ready to take the next step forward. One caveat: Be
sure you do due diligence to ensure a proven track record of success,
and that the up-and-comer is really ready to tale this next step.
Keith Cline is the Founder of VentureFizz and Dissero (a recruiting firm focused on startups). This blog post originally appeared on Inc.com. You can follow Keith (@kcline6) on Twitter by clicking here.