Talent Attraction/Hiring Best Practices

Sara Parmenter

Sara Parmeter, SPHR
Human Resources Manager
Trivalent Group, Inc.

“We need to hire…” can start an exciting new chapter for your company or department.  But, after you’ve slogged through resumes that don’t remotely meet your needs, talked to candidates who are only interested in what you can do for them, and then not heard back from candidates with potential, the whole idea of hiring starts to lose its sparkle.   When did hiring get so challenging?

Unless you are hiring every week, the rapid changes in the world of recruiting can be rather stunning.

The Economy Matters
If you live in Michigan, you are well aware of the steady unemployment drop since 2010 (See  Candidates have options.  Great candidates have a lot of options and don’t last long on the market.  If you have hiring needs, be prepared to move quickly.

Get Creative
“How” you advertise openings has changed, too.  Don’t waste your time (and money) on an expensive job board site or (horrors!) a newspaper!  Connecting to the best candidates requires more creativity and grassroots engagement through your community of friends, family, social acquaintances, business partners, and online communities, such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

Candidates from Age 18-?
“Who” applies and for what reasons have also changed.  Stay open-minded to what different demographics of employees can offer your business and your clients.  For example, while millennial candidates have different wants, expectations, and behaviors compared to their Gen X or Gen Y counterparts (See, they can bring an important perspective to your company.  Conversely, don’t overlook hiring baby boomers, people working on their second career, or people who have previously identified as a retiree! There are numerous benefits your company can realize related to their experience, work ethic, and perspective (See

Make Them Want to Come Back
The person you hire will be spending a significant number of their waking hours away from family, friends, and hobbies working for you.  Does an interview process full of canned questions or “gotcha” moments make them want to spend their day with you?  Likely not.  Have interviewees share their personal career stories—why they came to the company, what future opportunities they see, etc.  Let candidates see how your teams interact, or share something your team is struggling with or a goal they are currently working on.  Get the candidate involved in coming up with solutions.  Give the candidate an overview of the whole company, not just the position they are applying for.  Introduce them to people who would be key resources if they accept the job.

“Not Now” Doesn’t Mean “Not Ever”
Remember the candidate you didn’t hire because their skills weren’t as advanced as you needed?   Stay in touch.  Be honest with them about why they weren’t selected.  Remember that candidate who was interested but decided to go with another offer?  Stay in touch.   Ask if they’d be willing to share the opportunity with their network.  Who knows, maybe the next time you need to hire, that person will be your ideal candidate or referral source!

Don’t Settle
When you have an immediate hiring need, the temptation can be so strong to say “good enough”; resist that urge.  It will cost you and the rest of your team in morale, time, money, and energy.  If you need immediate help, there are temp agencies that would love to assist you.  Your goal should ultimate be getting the best person whose skills and attitude will be an asset to your company.