How to get hard-to-find talent!

During my career I have been fortunate enough to work in over 27 different countries. This teaches you a lot about many things, but above all it teaches you how to find work. Where to look, who to talk to, what to say and where you are most likely to find the most challenging and interesting roles that are on offer are all part of the skill set I have developed to enable me to continue doing what I do. Amazing how things change isn't it? When I started out doing this there was always work, but never an abundance of it. Today, there is more work than people. Almost all of my clients report that one of their key issues in implementing reliability is trying to find adequately experienced and competent resources to do this. In fact, in our recent survey on Asset Performance Management the second most common problem when implementing reliability initiatives is finding competent reliability resources. So, looking at things from the other side of the fence, here are the top ten techniques to help consultants and operational companies to track down hard-to-find reliability resources! 1. Use an agent. In fact use several! This ones a no-brainer! You are not in the recruitment business - so why do you think you can do it any better? Agents have ready made databases, they have a budget for advertising, they are experts at the filtering process and pre-selection and if you play the game correctly they will do so for low or no cost until you hire. One agent will give you a lot of names you don't currently have, so imagine what two agents could do! Even better make it an open listing, set targets, time frames, requirements and profiles and see what they deliver to you. This also gives you a better insight into the workers that you are attracting. If a resume appears in two or more searches it tells you that this person is very proactive about managing themselves in the job market - it may be worth trying to find out a little bit more about them! 2. Don't use "Dodgy Brothers Body Shop"! (We find 'em you fry em) If you are going to scrimp on price them you will probably get what you deserve. The recruitment game is one of the most democratized sectors on earth. Everybody has had a go at it, a lot of people operate from their living rooms, and there is always somebody who will give you a better price. But, you get what you pay for! If you seriously want to get the most suitable candidates, then go with established and professional firms. Companies that have significant reach. Adecco for example is a company that I have worked with a lot over the years, and when I was working as a technician I used to use Skilled a lot, and there are many others. Check them out, take the time to have a discussion with them to see if they can fit the bill, and then start to worry about the price. 3. The world is your oyster! Some countries are still difficult for people to get work visas, but most have made it remarkably easy these days. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that your next brilliant hire has to be somebody from your own neighbourhood, city or even country. Many young professionals are longing for a chance to travel overseas and to see the world through the lens of an international employee. 4. Use web based posting boards If people are seriously looking for work then they use the Internet. Full stop. In Australia you cannot go past http://www.seek.com.au/, in the USA you would be mad to not think of http://www.monster.com/ or http://www.hotjobs.com/, and in the UK my experience has been that http://www.jobsearch.co.uk/ is one of the real leaders. But don't just post one and be happy about it. Post many, flood the place with your ads. And don't forget the specialized boards. For example, our own board "Whos Hiring" receives between 3,000 and 5000 hits a week. And we drive them from this blog and from Google mainly. So if your target audience is in the field of reliability I hope you will consider advertising with us. But there are still others; http://www.top-consultant.com/ runs a website where people pay to search the "Contractors Corner". These are self selected professionals who are so keen to earn good consulting or contracting rates that they will pay for the privilege of doing so. An ad here will get you to a select group of UK consultants. And there are, of course, many more. Again, ,web based Internet job sites are now extremely common and extremely competitive. 5. Be realistic! Face it, this is a sellers market. And if you can find a degree qualified expert with ten years experience in RCM, International experience and a knowledge of different cultures who will work for $50k then you have a problem. They are either not what they say they are, or they will only be with your company until the next offer comes along. 6. Look for potential! Some of the hardest working people I have ever come across are those who are trying to work their way into the game of asset management. So try to get past the pre-qualifying garbage and look for potential. The people you hire, mentor and build up could well end up being some of your companies best ambassadors, or most innovative thinkers. 7. Consider an interim appointment, or s sub-contract resource. "Subbies", or interim managers or professionals, often represent the best source of potential labor. Sure there are issues that will need to be overcome but think about it. These are people who are so confident in their abilities that they are able to float themselves on the open market. They may cost a little more initially, but they are generally more aware of the business end of employment. E.g. "You give me money, I give you great services. If I stop giving you great services you are going to stop giving me money!" Some of my best roles have been as an interim manager. 8. Pay the price If you want good people then you have to offer good money. Full stop. I don't care how many surveys out there tell you that people have a lot of non-financial motivators; the number one rule of hiring good people is paying them good money. And here's one for free - Advertise how much you will pay! Today if the price is not advertised then why should you waste your time to apply, go through the hoops of pre-qualification and so on only to find out that the package is not what you were looking for. Why bother? There are many other opportunities out there. Paying the price has many faces including hiring bonuses, finders fees, recruitment programs, paying housing and relocation and many others. 9. Keep current I have just checked out the Internet for two companies I know are looking for people. Both searches led me to a range of dead end advertisements on some regional out of touch boards, whose dates had expired. So people are no longer able to apply but it is still advertised. Wonderful! 10. Use headhunters Agencies are one thing. But there are specialists out there who are experts in finding out who the guru's are within a company and approaching them. Before you judge this as ethical or not, think about what we are doing here. You are in a battle with other companies of your size and scale for dwindling resources. I hope these are of use to you, there are many more but I thought these would be of interest. So the next time your company, client, boss tells you that they are doing their level best to find resources. Hopefully you now have a few places to look to see if they really are or not.