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If you are an employer, you know all too well that good applicants are scarcer than hens' teeth these days and employers are having to get creative since many traditional recruitment techniques are not producing results.

So let's go through the basics first.

If you are a savvy employer, you already know the following:

* Good employees are like gold.

You continually strive to keep the ones you have.

You understand you have to pay them reasonably.

You follow the wage trends of your competitors.

You never forget the importance of benefits.

Yes, I know they are expensive, but so is replacing and training people.) And you never neglect showing your folks that you value them.

You remember to say "thank you" for those jobs well done.

And maybe you have even moved on to special recognitions, like treats, lunches, etc.

* You have to throw out a wide net for your job openings: You use the newspaper, online services, job fairs, and word of mouth and exhaust all your resources.

* You have to write a great job description: Your job listings not only depict your job fairly and accurately but also market your company.

You have found ways to make potential employees want to work at your place because it's family-friendly or cutting-edge or a team environment or dynamic, etc.

You understand that applicants are not looking only for a job but for a second place to call home.

(Look how much time you are at work!) When job seekers find their niche, they stay.



And double check.

So now you are ready for the advanced course in recruitment.

What are the secrets? What are super successful companies doing? First, recognize that nearly every employer is struggling to find the best people they can.

So competition is very stiff! As long as our wonderful local economy remains wonderful, we will be vying for the top talent at all levels, entry-level warehouse workers, structural engineers or company presidents.

Second, don't think that you will recruit and then be done.

This is a long-term commitment.

(Sorry!) You'll be doing this over and over again and improving your techniques along the way.

But if you pay serious attention to your retention efforts, your recruitments will be fewer and farther between.

(See Rule No.

1 above.) So what are some effective old standbys and new techniques you maybe didn't think about?

* Job Titles.

Have you thought about whether the titles of the positions you are looking to fill are outdated? I recently heard about a seminar where a simple change of the seminar's title and no change to the content increased attendance three-fold!

* Have you tried staffing services? A growing number of companies are going this route.

It's a little pricier on the front end but you can part company with the misfit employee much easier.

Everyone gets a tryout this way the employee and the employer.

And don't think this is just for entry-level people.

It's not! Bay Area businesses use contracted employees all the time while fishing for the right person.

You can be just as sophisticated as they are.

And get good results.

* Are you connected to the community college and/or private and state universities? Don't miss out on these hidden treasures.

Find a professor in your field and make him/her your friend.

This takes a little work on your part but this can be a valuable ongoing pipeline for you.

Do it right and this person will be invited to your house for Thanksgiving.

* Have you thought about a younger employee? For many entry-level situations, younger workers can make great employees and be mentored into the perfect fit for your company.

This can be more tedious on your part because you'll be expected to explain the obvious, such as: "Yes, I will be expecting you to be here every day, even if there was a party last night." (Some grown-ups need to hear this sometimes too!) But, it can pay off in the long run.

* What about school Career Centers? This is a great place to find those young diamonds in the rough.

They exist not only in community colleges and universities but also at local high schools.

Bring donuts when you visit along with flyers on your suitable job openings.

Go to your closest high school because young people often need parents to chauffeur them around (when their cars aren't working) and Mom isn't willing to drive across town.

* Consider hiring people who don't fit your mold.

What is it that you need? Someone with great customer service skills, for instance, can also be someone with a diamond pierced into her nose.

Look for skills and traits and when appropriate, be willing to overlook tattoos and piercings.

* Think outside of the box.

Just because you need a receptionist doesn't mean you need to hire someone who's been a receptionist.

Many people are making career changes that will end up being better suited for them and you in the long run.

I once heard of a dentist who needed front desk personnel who could be willing to handle a lot of stress at a fast pace.

So instead of hiring experienced front desk staffers, he hired waitresses! We know how much they are used to balancing!

* Are you using professional organizations? Northern Nevada Human Resources Association for HR talent, for instance.

Or what about Pro-Net for a variety of professionals? If you want talent and prestige in a suit, there's no better place to go.

* You might think a job fair is too much for you, but mini job fairs or hiring events at the local Nevada JobConnect office offer a unique

opportunity to meet a great number of applicants and connect to many, whom are actively job seeking.

Nevada JobConnect can pre-screen applicants or do as much or as little of the hiring process as you prefer.

You can conduct interviews on the spot in private interview rooms and may find just the right person.

It's like the job version of speed dating! JobConnect sees a lot of people.

Maybe one or two are for you!

* Do you pay a bounty? Squash visions of galleons of old, and think in terms of your employees being your finest recruiters.

Offer them incentives to bring in successful candidates.

Who would ever be pickier than the people who work for you?

* Bring people up in your system.

Create a pipeline.

I'm not talking just about promoting.

Do you help your folks get training or education for advancement? Look in your own backyard and foster growth among your employees.

* Institute Exit Interviews.

Oh, this is the painful one.

You might hear things you don't want to hear.

In fact, you probably will.

But you'll learn a lot about your workplace and how your employees perceive it.

And maybe you'll re-channel your hurt feelings into positive change.

You can do it!

* Look on the inside.

If you're having an extremely difficult time attracting and retaining employees, maybe you need to make some changes that are desirable to the type of people you are looking for like flex-schedules, on-site daycare or a pet-friendly work environment.

Your people are your greatest asset and finding them can be difficult.

But, by looking in places you might not have thought about and incorporating some fresh new approaches, you'll be much more likely to find that perfect fit!

Tina Grefrath is manager of the Reno, Sparks and Carson City Nevada JobConnect offices.


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