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How to Find and Hire the Right Person

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 30, 2009

Don’t be fooled into thinking a difficult economy has made the war for talent as passé as acid-washed jeans and flannel shirts. Rather, the influx of highly qualified people into the marketplace makes it even more difficult for executives and hiring managers to find the perfect people for open, high-impact positions.

As CEO of TriNet, I’ve invested more time in making executive hires than ever before. I have been careful not to assume the recent spate of layoffs will help me fill crucial slots more easily. In doing so, I’ve developed some guidelines for finding and hiring the right person in a challenging business environment:

Cherish, rather than neglect, your network. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Outlook—whatever you use to keep in touch with your contacts. Your friends and colleagues will often know the right person for your open position, or will at least give you leads.

Don’t fall in love with a candidate at first sight. In the old days, I might have compromised a bit on my hires because I knew the talent marketplace was tight. Now, I’m likely to take longer to make a hire because I know I don’t have to sacrifice quality.

Still seek those passive candidates. I pursued, wooed, and courted my recently hired VP of marketing for several months, despite the fact that at the time he was safely ensconced in a great role elsewhere. I knew he was the right person for the job, and I kept at it until I got him.

There’s no question this is a great time to hire people. But don’t make the mistake of thinking it’ll be easier. The exceptional hires are out there, but just as in the old days, you may need to do some detective work and actively seek out the people who will make your company great.

Burton M. Goldfield
President & CEO
San Leandro, Calif.

Reader Comments

Ralph Palmigiano

May 11, 2009 10:59 AM

In the current job market it is hard to find good people, no make that great people, Most companies have tried to hold on to the best employees. With lay offs and cut backs, if you think your company is a safe place, most employees don’t want to take a chance right now.

I agree with Mr. Goldfield don’t fall in love with a candidate do the home work background checks, references, and compare. Interviewing is just like dating. Your first date is the best you are ever going get. So if you have doubts on that first date, look for a new date.

After you hire, don’t keep people if they are not doing the job. Don’t fall in love with the potential you think you see. Don’t spend months and sometimes years giving second chances hoping thing are going to get better.

Good market bad market, it is never easy to find good people.

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