When you start doing research before posting a position, what is the first thing you look at? When defining a market, the first step many companies take is to look internally. They may even audit where current employees acquired their skills and their compensation range. This can be a very good step to take in many cases, but is only the first step in gauging what you need. Now that you’ve looked internally to what your company offers, here are other things to consider.
Years of experience – The key here is to look at where they gained their experience and in what fields. Other industries or positions often require a similar skill set that could be very transferable to your role.
Skills – When looking at this portion, don’t just take into account the skills necessary for the position, but also any potential gaps your team may have. Your “preferred skills” may actually become something that is required to fill in these potential gaps.
Culture fit – What is your team dynamic and what kind of person will fit into this role? Will they be interacting with clients or working with internal departments?
What makes your position stand out – This is a big one. You need to know why potential candidates would want to accept your position and what differentiates you from the competition.
Now that you’ve looked internally, the hardest part of this process is looking externally. When assessing the “market,” the best thing to do is take a flexible approach until you see what is out there. There are many resources available that can give you the average salary, years of experience, target companies, etc. that can aid in your search. The problem with these resources is that they don’t account for what your company offers, or the “available talent.” When I say available talent, I don’t mean only people actively looking, but passive candidates that could be pulled from their current employment. If your requirements don’t align with what is available, it’s going to be a long and difficult search.
So how do you truly assess the market? The only real way is to dig in, source and start talking to people. It may seem fairly open ended, but when you find qualified individuals, gain as much information as you can within every interaction. When it comes to sourcing, be sure to note the range of experience you’re seeing. Are there a lot of entry level people in the market, or are they mostly experienced professionals? Also, what companies, or industries were they in before their current position? This can give insight into professional progression and show you where they developed their skills.
Once you feel you have a good number of qualified candidates found, now it’s time to contact and start talking! When setting up your phone call with passive candidates, make a list of things you hope to find out about the candidate and the market. A few things I try to outline are years of experience, compensation, why they are interested in talking, and what they’re looking for. Obviously these change based on position, but this will give you good insight into whether the targets you set are attainable. The key is to talk to as many people as you can in order to build out a range of what is realistic for this position.
While there is always a “market” of candidates for the position - that may not always be your market. It’s important to quickly define the parameters for your candidate pool. There are numerous reasons the market changes, but, in most cases, it’s very fluid. In order to bring in the top quality candidates you’re looking for, you need to be flexible and adapt to what is available at the time.
Written by Philip Giuffre, Recruiting Consultant