Shotgun Recruiting—Possible with Preparation

It is Friday afternoon at about 4:30 p.m. I am finishing up screening my new resumes for the day, responding to the emails from my regional leaders and getting ready to enjoy a nice summer weekend. Then, my phone rings… let the race begin!

The call was letting me know that we needed to fill 25 positions, from line to mid management-level by Tuesday. I know, you’re thinking there is no way you can do that successfully. However, it is possible and I do it all of the time. 

How do I find great people, quickly, that fit our culture, core values, qualifications, etc. with as little as a few days lead time?  Preparation…ladies and gentlemen…preparation. 

By being in constant communication with business leaders, keeping an eye and ear on where the organization is headed and trying to foresee what will happen next is the absolute only way to be successful in this type of situation. 

Here’s another lesson on preparation. In September of 2011 I start hearing rumors about pending acquisitions in Texas, Nevada, and Maryland but was told not to worry because it was unlikely. I feel like there should have been a devilish laugh at the end of that sentence. These were new states to me so I felt compelled to research the current candidate pool in these locales—within and outside my industry. 

So let’s talk about what this challenge really encompassed. It included finding mid-level leadership positions, sales professionals, trades (maintenance) professionals, laborers, and even senior-level leadership positions. 

I scoured social media (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter) and researched similar companies to my own to find out what the most successful ones were so that I could keep an eye out for that on resumes. I sourced through job boards (CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed and Craigslist) and started connecting with leaders that may be interested or know someone who was interested in the potential opportunities and just kept pushing forward to find a strong pool of candidates

Long story short, I received a call very similar to the one described at the beginning of this blog. “Hey Julie, we will need to fill 70 positions in 4 states and we have 30 days.” If I had waited, and played the odds I would have been toast!

However, I didn’t wait I decided it was better to be over-prepared and not need the candidate pools than to wait and see. The result is that I filled 70 positions in just under 3 ½ weeks and have only about a 15% turnover rate from the initial 70. Beat that! 🙂

So my goal in sharing this with you is to impress upon you that nothing is impossible with preparation. There are great candidates out there and it is possible to find them quickly—you just have to be constantly sourcing before the actual job opening. I know, you might be thinking you’re too busy for that but it really it saves a ton of time on the back end. 

About the Author
Julie Crichton is a PHR-certified HR professional who works as the Regional HR Leader for McKinley, Inc.  Whether it’s through her role at McKinley or her community advocacy via her board seat at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, volunteer commitments at Habitat for Humanity, Dawn Farm and Shelter Association—the common theme that propels her forward is helping people.  

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