Tips from TJ

Recruiter offers words of wisdom for worker searches

As a general rule, word of mouth is how the majority of businesses find their employees, said Tony Johnson, president of TJ & Assoc., a La Center-based business offering custom services in recruiting, business and human resources consulting.

But Johnson cautions against relying solely on networking as a form of employee searches – just as he recommends steering clear of any one method.

"It’s a matter of casting the net and being responsive once you get applicants in the door," he said. "There are all sorts of options out there, and the companies that do it best utilize a number of different strategies."

Use tried and true methods. Resources include traditional newspaper and professional association ads, temp agencies, paid employment agencies, job fairs and head hunters.

Use new media. Free Web sites Craigslist.org and WorkSource are popular and reach a large audience. Craigslist is a city-specific, no-cost online classified service, and WorkSource has a business services unit that works with local businesses specifically to help them find the qualified employees they need at no cost. Craigslist is especially helpful if a company wants to place a blind ad and WorkSource has quite a user-friendly site that can be very valuable if employers take the time to fill out the right forms when placing an ad.

Know your company. When placing an ad, the company culture should be defined, and needs and response methods should be defined.

Engage the applicants. When applications come in, don’t ignore them.

"The worst thing is when companies are so busy that recruiting is the last thing on their list," Johnson said. "They let resumés sit in an inbox for two to three weeks. Move quickly. If you don’t, some other company will."

Responding means more than an e-mail of acknowledgement. Johnson recommends doing a phone screen to follow up with quality candidates.

Formalize the process. "Make sure you have a process in place to move through, and do it," said Johnson. Use the same tactics, questions and settings for candidates uniformly.

Cast a wide net. Employee referral programs can help with this.

"Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand to bring in good candidates from nowhere," he said. "The better your network is, the better you’ll do at recruiting. Always."

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