When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, everyone will tell you. Walter Payton

With 20+ years of experience recruiting under my belt – first as an employee, then manager and now business owner – I can tell you from first-hand experience that this quote is very true. The best performers in an organization, the best companies within an industry and the best leaders on the word stage all have two things in common – figuring out how to deliver great performance, service or decisions on a sustained basis and taking joy in identifying and developing talent as a means to establish a meaningful legacy.

Developing talent when you’re a busy business owner can be a delicate balancing act, but these three tips are easy ways to start developing your star performers:

  1. Trade time from doing your regular duties for delegating your work that will be developmental for others.
    Especially within a small business, investing in some cross training is always a smart idea. You’ll be surprised at how quickly most people will agree to take on a new project that was deemed “your work”, if it’s something that could benefit them and stretch their skills – and comfort zone.
  2. Incorporate industry conferences and trainings into training budgets. 
    Your most talented, committed staff will insist on these opportunities because they know that knowledge is power within their fields and they can’t afford to not keep up with thought-leadership and best practices. Your business can’t afford a pass, either.
  3. Have an open-door policy – and mean it by your actions. 
    Many leaders like to think that people know they can just stop on by to discuss a new idea, voice a concern or just check-in – but their office door is closed all day because they have back to back meetings. Leaders who encourage open communication and camaraderie by deliberately scheduling time they are accessible every day (or most) develop teams who feel empowered, valued and respected.

There’s an ongoing debate about the pros and cons of working remotely within organizations. Here at Talent Tap, we’re on the frontline of the battle to attract the right professionals for our clients’ organizations and their specific staffing needs.

Especially within the tech sector in the southcentral PA area, it’s an increasingly tight market to recruit and hire experienced developers. There are more openings than qualified talent to meet demand. In such situations, remote working arrangements widen the talent pool and decrease the time to hire. The ability to internally collaborate, hold meetings and communicate with clients has never been easier with on-line tools such as Slack. The bottom line is that senior developers can often choose remote work arrangements over on-site full time offers. They also can be very effective at working remotely because they are self-directed problem-solvers who have enough experience to anticipate circumstances which require proactive communication. To win the war for senior talent, remote work offerings dramatically increase your odds of hiring success.

However, early-career millennials are finding that working on-site fosters better mentorship opportunities and the ability to learn from more experienced staff, even though they prefer the option to work from home when necessary. Some tech companies with a wide generational employee mix have created “step ups” to increase work from home opportunities over time, as employees develop their skills, gain experience and are able to work more autonomously.

Most significantly, more of our clients are offering a mix of 1-2 days of remote work with the remainder of the week dedicated to being in the office – especially for roles that benefit from quiet time, free of distraction.

All of these scenarios require organizations to create systems that can objectively set and track performance goals within an outcomes-based work culture which facilitates open communication and trust.

What are your thoughts or experiences with remote work options?

In the past, hiring organizations have looked at staffing agencies with a bit of a wary eye and who can blame them? Most of the resumes that were passed on tended to be coated in effusive praise and the promise of a hefty commission if one of their candidates landed the job. But, much like other businesses having to shift their strategies, so too are recruiters. More and more recruitment firms are working as trusted partners to HR departments and companies, taking a little bit of pressure off already harried staff.

The change is subtle, but it’s there if you look for it. Gone are big commissions for sticking a company with a candidate…any candidate. Here at Talent Tap, we provide objective feedback, frank opinions on candidates (and what their references really said) and a singular focus on finding the right candidate, not a commission.

The breakdown and reasons as to “why” to use a trusted recruiting partner are actually pretty simple:

1)    Your hiring managers are freed up to concentrate on more profitable work

2)    The human resources department or your hiring managers are focused on interviewing only the most quality of candidates – giving them more time to devote to working on internal projects for your valuable employees

3)    Third-party recruiting partners can gather and track down a greater collection of objective information and references on a potential hire

4)    An ongoing recruitment partner will drastically lower your cost-to-hire rate as they become hiring experts for your company

Let’s start a conversation about finding your next great hire!

Many companies have traditionally approached hiring in a reactive, rather than a proactive, way – which means that they don’t give recruiting much thought until there’s an open position.  Your rock star sales person walks into your office and gives their notice – yikes!  Or perhaps it’s something a little less dramatic, but still stressful, such as rapid growth.  However, our most successful clients understand the value of continuous recruiting as a great way to attract the best talent, increase employee retention and promote their brand.  Here are four reasons why your company should always be on the hunt for the best and brightest:

  1. It decreases the time and cost of hiring.  If you’re constantly developing a community of interested applicants, you’ll source better candidates quicker. Having a careers link on your website which accepts resumes is different than having a continuous recruiting process, which is all about nurturing potential relationships.
  2. It increases employee retention because a quicker hiring process means that existing employees are not stretched thin for a protracted period of time, which can lead to burnout and turnover.
  3. You’re less likely to make a bad hire if you have multiple applicants to compare and contrast against the open position.
  4. It creates positive buzz for your company’s brand.   Job seekers who have a personal and positive experience as an applicant will talk about it with friends and family.

For years Talent Tap has effectively managed continuous recruiting campaigns for our customers.  Contact us for more information!

If you’re operating in the creative field, then any job that you’ve looked at will include a request for a portfolio.

The reason is simple, it’s all well and good to talk the talk, but you’ve got to walk the walk. Too often hiring managers will end up interviewing candidates who sound incredible, but can’t deliver the goods.

Your portfolio is the first key to an interview and beyond.

The problem here is that most professional creatives are married to a lot of their work. Culling down the list to the best of the best is key. Example? Unless you’re going for a gig in the music industry, the hiring manager doesn’t want to see mock-ups of your friend’s band’s CD cover.

Do’s and Don’ts

Before we hit the “do’s” let’s talk a bit more about the “don’ts”:

  • As mentioned, no CD covers
  • No flyers for the very same band
  • No schoolwork*
  • Nothing that isn’t yours. I didn’t think I had to say it, but there have been times…
  • Nothing that could be NSFW (look it up, learn it, love it)
  • Not on a CD in the form of a bunch of files that need to be clicked through

*Unless you’re fresh out of school and that’s all you’ve got.

Think of the “do’s” as a checklist on your way to a new job:

An attractive portfolio online

Behance is a great place to create an attractive portfolio online

  • It’s online and is easily navigated
  • It has only examples of your best work
  • It makes sense for the industry that you’re targeting
  • You can clearly state which part of the project you were a part of

Of course, I’d be lying if I told you that it’s just all about the pretty pictures. There also has to be a knowledgeable mind at work. The best way to show that? Let your portfolio site have an “About Me” and “Blog” section (much like the one you’re reading right now). Recruiters and employers alike are going to be giving this stuff a really good once over and if you can prove to us that you’ve got it where it counts, you’re going to be way ahead of the pack when it comes to getting a gig. Use the “About Me” to talk about your past experiences and interests while you leverage the blog to drive the point home that you can think critically and are up to speed on the latest and greatest.

Oh, and speaking of interviews and such, don’t show up unprepared. Bring a laptop or tablet to show your work on as well as hardcopies. It’s a horrible mistake to put all your eggs in technology’s basket.

For those that aren’t in the position to need a portfolio, think of how you’ll present your amazing deeds. It’s best to approach it like a case study. You need to be able to tell the story, from beginning to end, about how you made a project happen.

Have any portfolio tips?

Experienced any portfolio disasters? Now is the time to share them with us! Leave a comment to help our other job hunters everywhere!