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April 15, 2004
How to Reel in Your Next Great Employee
by Rebecca Mazin, Principal

With the economy improving and the competition for top candidates heating up, where will you turn to find outstanding employees? While it is possible to obtain good results through ads in major newspapers and postings on the giant online job boards, remember that thousands of other companies are looking in these very same places. Savvy employers use targeted, "people oriented" approaches to locate and attract the best.

  • Network, Network, Network! Networking is probably the single most effective way to generate candidates. Ask for referrals from your own managers, counterparts at other companies and former employees, vendors, and at industry or trade associations events. When you speak to individuals who are not interested in the position, ask them if they know of anyone who would be a good fit.
  • Employee Referral Programs. You do not have to offer a huge, or even monetary, reward for successful hires to attract interest. The most critical elements of a successful employee referral program are communication and follow-through. If your employees don't know about the program, the existing job openings, or how to participate, you can have a very attractive program and not generate the results you want.
  • Proactive College Recruiting. Successful college recruiting is not limited to companies with high visibility, and can be as valuable for filling one opening as a dozen. The most effective programs start with ongoing relationships with college career centers that you establish before openings occur. Identify alumni of the school within your company and enlist them to help nurture relationships with school officials, students and recent graduates.
  • Job Fairs. Participation in an appropriate career fair can both generate candidates and increase your company's visibility. To find out whether a particular event is right for you, determine whether attending employers are comparable to you in size and contact past participants for references. Plan ahead for a professional-looking booth, prepare useful screening questions and inform promising candidates about the "next step."
  • Niche Employment Web Sites. If you are not a large company with significant name recognition, your posting may get lost at some of the larger recruitment sites. Identify smaller, targeted sites that are more closely geared to your industry or geographic location. Besides being less expensive, these targeted sites will generate candidates that are specifically interested in what you have to offer.

  About the Author
Rebecca Mazin, Principal of Recruit Right
Recruit Right connects organizations with entry-level and low skilled employees that make businesses eligible for significant wage subsidies and tax credits. This article has been adapted from THE HR ANSWER BOOK An Indispensable Guide for Managers and Human Resources Professionals by Shawn Smith, JD and Rebecca Mazin. You may email Rebecca Mazin at

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