Check out Eric’s new column, The Hiring Squad, in the Pittsburgh Tech Council’s TEQ Magazine every month. In case you missed it, here was his column for November:

Imagine Careers - 3 Steps to Being More Authentic and Less Noisy in Your Hiring Strategy

The competition to hire great technologists is fierce.   With a sea of over 30,000 job boards and tens of thousands of recruiting agencies, the world just keeps getting noisier.    As we attempt to navigate the labyrinth to top talent, we’re also trying to do the right things to keep the ones we have happy and productive.  In this series, we’ll explore some of the many challenges plaguing the human capital space.

I’ve talked to hundreds of companies about their hiring challenges, and they’re pretty much all experiencing the same pains.  For just about every person I hear turning to LinkedIn to try to solve their hiring woes, I hear of someone else abandoning their LinkedIn Recruiter accounts.  I recently talked to someone who had fired their internal recruiters, said no to LinkedIn, and cancelled their Dice subscription simply because nothing was working.  This information didn’t come as a surprise, as these dated methods of sourcing are highly inefficient and simply add to the noise.

The first piece of advice I can give you is to worry more about your own hiring brand and less about your job listings.  When your entire recruiting strategy revolves around attracting applicants with job posts, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Step 1: Focus on the “why” of your brand.  If you haven’t seen it, watch Simon Sinek’s “How great leaders inspire action” TED talk.  The cliff notes: the best leaders (and therefore companies) attract talent and customers based onwhy they do what they do, not how they do it or even what they do.   Make sure that your mission and vision come first and resonate with the people you are trying to attract.  Put out to the world who you are, and why people love working for you.  If people don’t love working for you – I’d start there and figure out why.

Step 2: Use your social media following to promote your employment brand, and not to SPAM out job listings.  Let’s say you are looking to hire a Data Scientist.  What percentage of your followers are Data Scientists, and wouldn’t they have already applied to your postings?   Even more so – for those that aren’t Data Scientists – what’s the chance they know one that happens to be looking? Instead of job postings – talk about your growth, your commitment to the community, the great projects you are tackling, and other noteworthy things that make you human.  By doing so, you’ll find the people that are looking for their home away from home and not just another job.

Step 3:  Pay attention to what matters most to people – starting with the people you already employ.  Everyone is different.   Some people are motivated by money, others by time away from the office, and others by flexibility.   The more you can make a person feel both valued in the workplace and able to balance work with their life, the happier people will be and the longer they will tend to stay.  By creating a more satisfied and engaged culture within your company, you in return create one of the most precious recruiting resources: a team of brand ambassadors.  On the flip side, a company of disengaged, unhappy employees will have a opposite and often catastrophic impact.

I’ll leave you with this – don’t rely on reactive hiring strategies.  This is a topic we’ll explore further in a future article.  You shouldn’t limit yourself to only hiring when you get blindsided by key team member quitting or once you have your next round of funding.  You should ALWAYS be hiring – everywhere you go, and everyone you meet.  Surround yourself with people that fit your company and your culture – and build a relationship with them based on trust that enables you to bring them on board if and when the timing is right.