Recruitment: How to Find and Hire Top Talent

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Recruiting is about selling your company to candidates

Whether it’s entry level positions or more senior and managerial roles, finding the right people for your business can be challenging. But since a company is only as good as its employees, it’s important to dedicate enough time and resources to recruiting and building the right team.

As a result, here are the steps you should take to attract the best candidates for different positions at your company.

  1. Create a candidate profile

Before you write a job description for a position, it’s first important to brainstorm and think about who your ideal candidate is. This includes:

  •   What type of educational background do they have? And does this matter to the position?

For instance, if you are looking to hire for a Business Development position, is it important that the candidate has an MBA? Or is it more important that they have had the right experiences in the industry and are well connected?

  •   What type of experiences do they need to perform well in the position?

If it’s a managerial position, then do they need to have managed a team in their previous job? Or is it ok for them to learn how to do that in this position? Also, are there other ways that they can demonstrate their leadership skills? For instance, through serving on the board of a non-profit or experiences being the team lead in certain projects?

  •   What do they value in their work experience?

Do you want someone who really cares about collaboration and teamwork? Or is the role for someone who is comfortable working by themselves? Do you need someone who is innovative and proactive, or do you want someone who can take and implement direction well? You need to list all the work-related personality traits that are important to performing the job well.

Once you are done brainstorming, narrow down your list to the most important factors you need in your candidate. For example, let’s say you are looking for a copywriter:

  •   Ideal candidate is someone with at least 2 to 3 years of experience writing copy for both traditional (TV and radio) and digital (websites, banners ads, social media videos) mediums. The person should be flexible and willing to work overtime and generally long hours to get projects completed.
  •   They should have a good command of both English and Swahili, however, English is the most important and Swahili content can always be outsourced.
  •   They should have a sense of humour and creativity in their writing; able to create witty, relatable headlines and catchphrases.
  •   They should also have a visual eye, and be able to work with designers on creating and executing creative concepts.
  •   They need to be up to date with social media trends both locally and globally, as well as pop culture.
  •   Our office is open space, so they should be able to work with other activities going on around them (music, meetings), however, if a quiet space is necessary that can be facilitated.

As you can see, by brainstorming you’ve already begun to figure out what you need to put in your job description.

  1. Create a job description

The job description is the employer’s version of a resume and cover letter. It’s supposed to sell both the position and your company to the best candidates in the market. Things you need to consider while creating a job description include:

Tone: What’s your company culture like? And how will this be reflected in the position? For instance, if you are a laidback and close knit start-up then this needs to be reflected in how you write about the position. Whereas if you are a stricter corporate law firm, then this also needs to be clear in your writing style.

So, the laidback start up may write something like; “We are digital nomads working from across the country to bring up-to-date information on the hottest restaurants, bars, and night spots in Tanzania through our app. We love flip flops, fart jokes, geeky banter, and pizza…”  

Whereas the law firm may write, “Founded in 1982, we are one of the country’s oldest and most respectable law practices, with over 20 national and international awards. Our team exemplifies excellence in every order…”

Tell them about your company: Once you figure out your tone, figure out how you want to introduce your company to that specific candidates. What information and qualities do you think would most appeal to them?

So, using the copywriter example, you can imagine that the best copywriters are innovative and incredibly creative. They may also have an ego. As a result, you should write about some of your best campaigns, and the awards you were nominated or won as a result. This will indicate to them that you are a team of successful creatives that they should want to be a part of.

“We don’t like to brag (maybe we do just a little), but Pineapple Digital is one of Tanzania’s most innovative agencies – and we’ve got the audience and awards to prove it. In 2015, we created the “Strength of a Woman” movement as part of Always Pads rebrand campaign, and this became a trend beyond Tanzania and was adapted by Always International. As a result, we won the Loeries Award for Best Digital Social Media Campaign, as well as a Cannes Advertising nomination……”

Responsibilities of the position: Write about both the general day to day and potential bigger responsibilities the employee may have on the job. Try and paint a picture of their day to day experiences as an employee.

“In the role as copywriter your key responsibilities will include:  

Creating copy for all content projects for both digital and traditional mediums. So this will include; scriptwriting for TV and radio ads, creating website copy, banner ads, eBooks, white papers.

At times you’ll be asked to help the social media team come up with engaging posts for our clients’ different social media platforms. But this won’t be on a daily basis.

You’ll also have to work closely with the design team and the strategy team to come up and effectively communicate concepts for campaigns. In fact, you’ll serve the role as the middle man between the strategic side of the business and the more creative side.

So, to give you an idea of what a typical day on the job will look like, well, we can’t. Your job will be incredibly dynamic, working on projects for different brands. One thing’s for sure, you’ll be writing and brainstorming a lot!”

Qualifications: Once again the candidate profile you created will help you figure out what qualities are critical for the job position, and which aren’t. Being too rigid when it comes to the number of years of work experience or educational background, may make you miss out on candidates that may not have these qualifications but have other factors that make them a good fit. At the same time, being too general will open up the application to people who aren’t a good fit.

  •   “At least 2 years of experience writing copy for both traditional and digital mediums or evidence of the ability to effectively do so.
  •   A sense of humour and wit that reads well and resonates with a wide range of people.
  •   The ability to create catchy and engaging catchphrases and copy that attracts today’s online consumers.
  •   Flexible work hours, so can work from home if necessary or weekends if necessary (within reason).
  •   Ability to communicate ideas to both visual thinkers and more data based thinkers.
  •   Can present ideas to clients with confident.
  •   An exceptional writer who is in tune with pop culture both at the local and international level.”
  1. Figure out what you can offer

This is also part of the job description, but it’s incredibly important to give not only the base salary but additional perks and benefits some serious thought. Top tier employees know their worth and are often coveted by many companies, but even if you can’t pay them the top rates, there are other benefits that you can offer that will positively affect the quality of their lives. This includes:

  •   Comprehensive health care
  •   Paid vacation and sick days
  •   Flexible working arrangement (can work from home on some days with modem included)
  •   Housing stipend
  •   Transport stipend
  •   Quarterly bonus based on KPIs
  •   Gym membership?
  •   Lunch provided?
  •   Career training and development?
  1. How will you assess candidates?

  

We all know that the job market is highly saturated, and unless a job position is incredibly unique and specialized, most employers receive dozens of applications for a single job role. As a result, you have to come up with ways to filter out those candidates that are not a good fit. This is often done by asking applicants to submit:

  •   CV or Resume
  •   Cover Letter
  •   Portfolio of work
  •   Answers to specific questions
  •   Take a standardized test like the AMCAT
  •   Have another specialized exam or project for the job

However, you decide to assess it should be aligned with the job position. So for instance, asking someone who is applying for a graphic designer position to take a standardized test is not the best way to assess skill. Instead, ask them to send you a portfolio of their work, or give them a sample campaign to create a banner ad for.

  1. Advertise on multiple platforms

So, you spent all that time creating an amazing job description however you are barely getting any applications. Chances are you are not advertising the job in enough or at least the right platforms where the viable candidates are. Places to advertise include:

  •   BrighterMonday
  •   ZoomTanzania
  •   LinkedIn
  •   Your social media platforms

Also, ask your employees to post the job on their platforms, and share them on Whatsapp.

Leave it to the professionals

Finding and hiring top talent takes time and effort that most employers and even HR officers simply don’t have. The best thing for a business to do, especially when it comes to hiring for more mid to senior-level positions, is to work with a recruitment agency. They will not only create the candidate profile with you, job descriptions, figure out salary and benefits, but also handle the most time consuming and not so fun parts of the recruitment process like,

  •   Reading and assessing job applications
  •   Performing reference and background checks
  •   Setting up times for first and second interviews
  •   Negotiating with the top candidates you want
  •   Finding top tier candidates through their own networks
  •   Replace employees for free if the candidate leaves within a certain time frame, usually 3 to 6 months

Sometimes it’s best to leave things to the professionals, and if you work with a recruitment agency the results will outweigh the costs.

Iman Lipumba
A digital storyteller, experienced in creating content that improves website visibility on search engines, enhances the user experience, and nurtures brand loyalty. With a background in the social sciences, an expert in researching complex ideas, and communicating them in engaging language to multiple audiences.