Hiring Professional Spotlight

The Power of Referrals: How to Leverage Your Network for Hiring Top Talent

The war for talent is real, especially in the recent past with labor shortages across the country. We asked some of our most burning talent acquisition questions to Jessica Radford to help us better understand what it takes to hire amazing talent. Jessica is a talent acquisition leader that has been recruiting top talent over the past 12 years. She is currently a Strategic Advisor at Concinnity where she helps leaders accelerate growth in their organizations. The EKOS.AI team sat down with Jessica to discuss how hiring has changed during the pandemic, along with advice on how to land a job.

EKOS: What is your general advice for landing a job?

Jessica: When you're looking at a particular job requisition, you need to ask yourself if any of your experiences that you've had maybe translate to that. Not apples to apples necessarily, but show you've been able to demonstrate those specific skills in another area. For example, if you were the president of a student union or organization where you had to plan events and you had a budget and you had to help plan for people to do all these other tasks, that could align very well to task management and being detail oriented. So you need to ask yourself what are the things in your experience that you can point back to that demonstrate evidence of whatever quality they're looking for in lieu of having that experience directly. I think that it is definitely an area of opportunity that people don't always think about, especially when it comes to internships.

EKOS: How has hiring changed since the start of the pandemic?

Jessica: Everyone has had to adjust the ways in which they can act with candidates because we can't be in the same room and you can't interact face to face most of the time. So the way that you approach these conversations is still not as direct as recruitment had been prior. For this one particular opportunity, it's more like, let's talk about this opportunity, let's talk about the company, and let's talk about you and what you want to do. I think people have evolved to more of that recruitment strategy because people are using the pandemic and the time inside to reflect on truly what they want to do. I believe that there's an opportunity to capitalize on that and help people explore it and thus helping uncover opportunities that could be a fit.

EKOS: How can businesses expand their recruiting strategies?

Jessica: Referrals are the MOST POWERFUL way of recruiting amazing talent: 45% of referral hires stay longer than four years, compared to only 25% of job board hires (Zippia). I feel referrals are such an untapped resource and there should be a lot more rigor and process around gathering those insights from people.

EKOS: How can a company get a good hire?

Jessica: You have to think of an interview process that's consistent and that allows for a diverse set of candidates to come through the process and have the same experience. At the same time, make sure to tie the process directly back to the outcomes that you're expecting this person to have in their role so that it anchors on hiring the right person for the job. With level setting across the interview team, you're also able to make sure that the other areas that you're assessing are covered and making sure it's grounded in evidence and facts versus hypothetical or gut feel or no feedback at all. Being able to have that alignment across the interview team and have a partnership with your hiring manager in helping hold people accountable to that, I think gives you a higher likelihood of making an incredible hire.

3 Takeaways

1) When applying for a job, take your past experiences and translate them into the job you are applying for (Check out the job description in close detail).

2) Utilize referrals in your organization. It is one of the best ways to get incredible hires. The entire team should be working to acquire impressive talent.

3) Make sure your interview team is aligned with the values and traits you’re looking for. It increases the chances of getting an amazing hire.

We want to thank Jessica for her time and for sharing her insight into why networking is vital to the success of entrepreneurs.

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