The Power of 10 Ideas for Finding Great People Without a Job Posting

I met the remarkable James Altucher and his equally remarkable wife, Claudia, at a recent hiring product design session.

In tandem they suggested using “The Power of 10 Ideas” as a means to figure out any important problem. I don’t think they called it that, but they were both speaking so fast that’s what I interpreted them to say. Claudia enriched the point by saying the as you start thinking about the 10 ideas, the last two or three of them would be the best, but in order to get there you shouldn’t say no to the first few or you’ll kill the creative process.

Given this “Power of 10 Ideas” concept, I decided to apply it to the hiring process — specifically, how to find great people if job postings weren’t allowed.

Since I don’t know what I’m about to write, the last few should be the best, but I’ll let you be the judge.

10 Ideas for Finding Great People without Job Postings

1. The nodes know, so build a network of nodes.

When I start a search assignment I begin by finding someone (a “node”) who could provide a referral to an outstanding person. These are people who have likely worked with the candidate in the past. Examples: Buyers know sales reps, product managers know engineers, architects know project managers and project managers know everyone.

2. Conduct a Google search with Achiever terms.

You can find resumes and LinkedIn profiles by searching for skills, companies and job titles on Google. This search can be narrowed by adding Achiever terms (those in the top 25% of their peer group) like “speaker, patent, coach, fellowship, award or promoted” to the search string.

3. Design a bigger apply button.

Currently, we ask people to apply to jobs with little or no knowledge of what the actual role entails. Designing a bigger apply button means creating a four-step process: Explore, Consider, Meet the Manager and only then Apply. This “Getting to know all about your first” approach to screening is a win-win that addresses the needs of all qualified people who would rather first consider the career opportunity as a slow dance versus the quick step.

4. Use the 2-step to prevent unqualified people from applying.

For my book, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired, I asked a top labor attorney if having candidates submit proof they were qualified for the job before applying was legally allowed. He thought this 2-step would be a great idea to minimize the burden of tracking unqualified candidates for compliance purposes.

5. Get your very short story out through social media.

Telling stories is a great way to send people to a creative job description. You can use email, InMail, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram to get your message out quickly and, if creative enough, it will go viral.

6. Write messages that scream “Think Doing and Becoming” rather than “Must Have.”

Emphasize the learning, doing and becoming in your recruiting messages. If the person can do the work and finds the becoming motivating he or she will have all of the skills needed. In fact, what the person gets on Day 1 (company, title, compensation and location) will be less important.

7. Make hiring managers responsible for 50% of the leads.

About 15 years ago I was working with a large restaurant chain when the VP of HR asked a group of recruiters and district managers what they would do if a bunch of managers suddenly quit. The recruiters rambled. The district manager pulled out notebooks with a list of restaurant managers they’ve been cultivating over the years. This is something all hiring managers should be doing.

8. Develop a “Who do you know who you’d promote?” outreach program.

This is an advanced proactive employee referral program asking your employees to recommend people they know outside the company who they believe have the potential to quickly take on bigger roles.

9. Start an “Identify and Nurturing” recruiting campaign very early.

At the meeting mentioned earlier, the head of the admissions office at a major university said his school was starting a marketing campaign targeting promising elementary school students. Having great people in your pipeline is a great first step, but engaging and nurturing them requires a full-court recruiting press.

10. Build a strategic workforce plan on top of a hub-and-spoke recruiting platform.

Urge all department heads to identify their most important hiring needs over the next year. Create a series of SEO-optimized microsites describing these roles addressing the candidate’s intrinsic motivators and emphasizing the strategic importance of the jobs. Use the big apply button and start customizing the job to better match the person rather than force fit the person to an ill-defined job that needs to be filled fast.

Although I was tempted to reorder the ideas above, I decided to go with what I initially came up with. Some of these are pretty good so I’m now working on my next Power of 10 Ideas List for Finding Great People without a Job Posting. Why not put your own list together and send it to me? If I get enough responses I’ll host a webcast to discuss the best of the best 10. Maybe I can even get James and Claudia to join as the judges. That would be remarkable for all of us.

* image by *vlad*