How to hire (Part 2 of 2): The Position Promotion Push

See the first part of this series, "How to hire: Get a system. Use it."

The Position Promotion Push is what you need to do to get all the good candidates to apply for your open position all at once. It is a big, exciting, coordinated push to get the news of your open position in the right hands.

Here is what happens if you don’t make an organized, concerted effort to tell the world about the hire you need to make: Some okay-but-not-great people get the news and apply. One or two great candidates apply, but not as many as you need. ... You stall, hoping for better. ... Then you interview people, but you aren’t sure you want to offer the job yet to either of the top two candidates. … You hedge, you re-circulate, the interviewing continues … One of your top two gets the message that she’s not a slam-dunk match for your needs … She takes another job so you lose her. … You are stuck in a cycle of almost-good-enough and let’s-do-one-more.

The Position Promotion Push should be fun. It definitely takes time, enthusiasm, and creativity. And it works best when you have a good internal and external network who are fans of you and your team. Here are some ideas for how to make the Push work for you:

  • Offer gifts or incentives for staff and colleagues for doing something specific within a couple days of launching the open position. Be specific and directive. It helps people follow through. For example, a prize for people who post the position to three online networks (alumni sites, LinkedIn), OR email three good candidates directly and personally. Extend this to people outside your organization, too. For prizes, cheap and thoughtful works. I did little desktop plants as prizes for a couple of hires a few years back. People liked those. Or fancy lunch on you.
  • Sell the selling. Share your excitement. Make it face-to-face when possible. Go desk to desk to sell the position and tell people what you need them to do to help find the right team member. Make calls to people you don't see every day. Do the email blast asking for help getting the word out, but save that for last.
  • Work closely with HR to post the position in all the right places. Pay out of your own department budget to post on specific job boards if you need to.
  • Cast the net wide, outside your industry if you can. Think about other industries where you could find good candidates.
  • Encourage internal candidates, but be clear and fair. Say “I want you to apply for this position” to specific people in-house you want to interview. (Consider whether you owe other managers or execs a heads up before you do this. Or this may not be okay at all where you work.) When people approach you, be very clear if they are or are not a good candidate. Don’t lead anyone on just to be nice. That’s not cool, and it confuses people and confuses the process.

Hiring is really tough to do well. Give yourself the luxury of time and a step-by-step system. And turn on the charm during the Position Promotion Push. Have some fun with it. Good luck!