Recruiting in a Tough Market


I receive daily requests from clients and past clients who say they just cannot find anyone they like. I try to help–but here are 9 strategies you can embrace today.


  • Go for MVPs–the minimum-viable kind. I see many job ads that chose the maximalist route: loads of experience, advanced degrees, scary number of technical specialties. Don’t write a wish list, write a minimum-needs list.
  • Concoct an appealing job description. The standard HR job description is useful for other things but not for recruiting. It’s bureaucratic; it’s bland; it says nothing about your culture or growth opportunities. Write the description as you would an ad and consider adding employee testimonials, including videos.
  • Use social media, your own and your team’s. Employed folks are not going to browse the Career section of your website just for fun.
  • Always Be Looking. For positions like customer success manager and support engineer, it pays to be looking all the time, even if you don’t have an opening right this moment. Keep the inflow going.

Finding Candidates

  • Try again with almost-hires. Maybe you did not think they were good enough at the time–or maybe they turned you down! No matter, either party can change their mind. It will take a little bit of reframing and re-courting, but it’s worth a try.
  • Go back to the future. Recently-departed employees thought grass would be greener, but they may now pine to come back. The beauty here is you already know how good they are.
  • Ask new hires. If they are escaping a not-great environment, they will have friends wanting to move.


  • Create a great recruiting experience. I’m hearing from job seekers who report a myriad of indignities, from being subjected to multiple, near-identical interviews, to having to submit to tests that seem disconnected to the purpose of the job–and, of course, not hearing back from employers, including after multiple interviews. That’s bad! If you are interested in a candidate, you don’t want them to drop out because the process is so awful.  And if you’re not, treating them badly may turn them into negative reference machines against your company.
  • Get personally involved. Recruiters may not be able to write that MVP description, reach back to a departed employee, or get past that obvious misspelling in the resumé. But you, the hiring manager, can.

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