Good employees hard to find? Here's how

This article by KLA principal Ken Leiner appeared in the Washington Business Journal:

Internet systems developer Jeff Walker has just won a $1.2 million contract with E-WebSpeed, an Internet services company with an international client-base. The contract is one of the biggest for Walker’s company, which is a local two-year-old start-up.

For most small businesses, such a lucrative contract means taking a company to the next level. But Walker is faced with a challenge: He has to find qualified people to work on the business. E-Web speed has set very tough deadlines, and Walker is expected to begin the project in two weeks with a completion deadline of three months. Walker needs to recruit the best talent now, but he doesn’t have the time to do that, prepare the contract and the project.

This scenario is fictitious, but small and large businesses throughout the Washington metropolitan area are experiencing very real and similar situations.

Use more resources

How do you win the battle to find and hire the best people? Nimble, resourceful companies are using a combination of resources to get the job done, including employee referrals, networking, Internet postings, job fairs, traditional advertising, internal human resources, contingency recruiters and retained executive recruiters.

Carefully assessing your needs for the short and long-term will save you money and time. Define job requirements for current positions, keep employee referrals alive and contact outside resources early in the process so you have them ready before you desperately need them. Professional recruiters are a key resource in bringing you the hidden talent. But what type of recruitment firm do you need and how do you best use recruitment resources?

Be sure to interview your recruitment firm and check their credentials. Determine their areas of expertise. What skill sets do they recruit? Do they get to know your corporate culture, the style of the hiring manager, the core selling points of your company and work closely with you through the hiring process to help you successfully close the best candidates?

Retainer search

The retainer search method is most often used to fill key senior level positions. The hiring company enters into an exclusive contractual agreement with an executive search firm. A portion of the fee is paid in advance and the remainder upon completion of the search. The fee is usually a percentage of the first-year annual income.

A key advantage in a retainer relationship is the executive recruiter should give your company’s search complete dedication. At the same time you are locked into one single resource for your candidates.

So, it is critical to be as sure as possible you have chosen an appropriate executive search firm with experience in your field that is familiar with your corporate culture and needs.

Contingency search

Contingency recruiting means the recruiting organization gets paid only upon successful completing the search, when the candidate starts at the new job. In this case the risk is on the shoulders of the recruiter, because there is no up-front payment from the company. This allows the hiring company to work with one recruiting firm exclusively or also use other firms.

The more time the company spends with the recruiter on the front end of the search, defining its needs and setting up the parameters of the hiring process, the more efficient and successful the search will be.

Recruiters need the hiring managers to be responsive and move quickly. In today’s competitive hiring market, smart companies can turn around hires within a few days. The successful hiring company treats the recruiter as a business partner, an extension of their own human resource function.

Knowing your niche

The key here is to partner with a recruiting organization that understands the niche you need to recruit in, has credibility with the professionals in the industry, and provides the dedication needed to accomplish the search.

Businesses in this country are losing hundreds of millions of dollars because of the talent shortage. Successful companies know how critical the people resources are and are willing to invest what is needed to bring the right people to their organizations.

Your successful growth depends on your human resources. Having the right human resources means being prepared. By building a relationship with a professional recruiting organization you will have one more avenue to finding talented people when your new business and growth demand it.

Ken Leiner Associates is a leading information technology search firm based in the DC area. For more information, contact us through, or call (301) 933-8800