When Is the Best Time to Hire?
By Joe Mullings
One of the most common stressors for companies is knowing when to hire. Many build out hiring plans for the next year in late Q3 or Q4 while they’re deep in budgeting mode, and start hiring in Q1 when bonuses have been paid out vacation time has been used, and top talent is willing to make a move.
But attaching seasonality to the decision can be a major roadblock to finding the best talent for your team — especially if it means waiting until you desperately need to fill a position before starting the process.
Apply a Hum/Sing/Shout Approach
I’ve talked at length about how to implement a hum/sing/shout approach for your branding efforts — but the same framework works for hiring. Here’s how it works:
- Hum: Keep the underlying rhythm of your employer branding at work at all times to ensure that your opportunities remain front of mind for top talent in your industry niche.
- Sing: About 60-90 days out from when you actually need to have your new employee on board, get a little bit louder — not just about the open position, but about what it’s like to work for your company.
- Shout: Within a 45-60 day window it’s time to shout about the position itself and the underlying opportunities associated with joining your company.
How to Build Your Hum
Most likely you already know how to focus your strategy to sing, or even shout, when a specific role is open and a hire needs to happen. But the best people — those you really want to attract to your company — are rarely seeking a new position actively, so no matter how loud you’re singing and shouting, they won’t hear you. Developing a strong hiring brand narrative in the public domain, with a heavy humming chorus, ensures that you’re always “on” from a talent attraction standpoint, and allows you to build recognition among top talent long before there’s a specific role in question.
People follow the brands that they feel they can connect with emotionally and learn from — and there’s a ton you can do in your “hum” phase to position yourself as a value-add in their feeds. For instance, professionals are always curious about topics and trends relevant to their industry or careers. By sharing meaningful insights, they’re likely to stumble upon you and begin following you for your analysis and perspective, without even thinking about a career transition. Then, as you continue sharing helpful and interesting information with them, their trust in your company grows long before you ever connect with them directly.
As you start to build your hum, focus on the four pillars of an effective corporate content strategy:
- Market: Gretzky famously reminded us to “skate where the puck is going.” As people consider the next step in their careers, they want to ensure they’re placing their bets on a market that’s ripe with opportunity — where the trends are heading, not where they’ve already been. Talk about why your space will see success long into the future in order to build their confidence.
- Product: Once you’ve established your market’s value, explain how your specific products or services align with that opportunity. The goal here is to highlight why your organization in particular is an exciting one to join.
- Leadership: You are most influenced by the people you hang around with every day. Candidates know this and are becoming increasingly focused on opportunities where they know they’ll learn from a strong leadership team. Take the time to highlight the expertise at the helm of your brand so that they understand their development opportunities.
- Mission: Your team doesn’t show up every day because of the product or service you provide, but rather because of the underlying problem they care about solving and the opportunities they’re excited to create. Communicate this North Star externally to illustrate to prospective candidates what could be motivating them every day.
By the time you move to the sing and shout portions of your strategy when you have a role to advertise, potential candidates are primed to pay attention. They already have a clear idea of who they can become when they work for your organization. And that’s what people really want: the chance to evolve and be part of something meaningful.
Take Timing Out of It
You should always be looking for talent, not just when you need it. Otherwise, you will only be getting the people who happen to be available during that very specific window — and they may not be the best people for your team.
Applying the hum/sing/shout approach gets you out of the seasonality trend that decades of hiring managers have established. Instead, you develop a bench strength mindset that encourages you to constantly be networking, connecting, and sharing the vision of your organization. By learning how to hum, you can add depth to your existing team and find the best people to grow your organization, regardless of when you hire them.
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