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Sourcing the Heat: Five Tales of Passion . . . In Recruitment (Part 2)

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By Tom Brennan, Senior Writer

Part 2: Getting the Juices Flowing

Just about everyone is looking to add passionate talent to the team, and that is challenging. At Decision Toolbox (DT) we are passionate about mastering challenges. In my 14 years with DT, I have partnered with hundreds of clients in the quest for top talent, and here are three stories about how to attract passionate candidates. See Part 1 for two other stories. A key takeaway from Part 1 is to find out what makes your current top employees passionate about coming to work each day.

Create your passionate reality 

Of course, if you really can’t find passion in your people, you have bigger problems than filling an open position. Several years ago a nationwide client moved their corporate headquarters from Atlanta to Washington, DC. As we consulted with the client we learned that there was some passion, but on the whole their culture was sagging. We recommended that they leverage the move to give their culture a makeover.

Once we understood what kind of culture they wanted to promote in the new HQ — one that embraces values like initiative, creativity, and accountability — we developed Jobinfo Writeups (marketing pieces) to present the openings as an opportunity for candidates to join a team that shares their passion for those values. After 18 months or so, I was talking with a hiring manager (HM) who had made the move from Atlanta to DC. He said it was like working for a new company: the culture was high-energy and motivating.

He was still in touch with some former employees who stayed in Atlanta, and said they scoffed at the Jobinfo Writeups for being inaccurate. Well, they weren’t accurate . . . for Atlanta. But in DC, tenured and new employees were thriving in a revitalized and passionate culture.

Target a passion for learning

“A” players want to grow, and any role offering professional development should be attractive. But you have to communicate the opportunity in a way that speaks to the right people. For example, a client recently was concerned about how to search for a candidate who has analytical background, but wants to learn more. Few people put on their résumé, “I can do it but I’m tired of it and ready to move on.”

Yet what a great marketing hook for those target candidates! Start your job posting with something like, “If you are passionate about learning new skills, this position offers you the opportunity to complement your analytical skills by learning database development.”

The heart wants what the heart wants

Passion can help in the most challenging searches. One of our clients, a major casino operator, has developed a world-class accounting team. The challenge: the job is in Las Vegas, which is a nice place to visit . . . but it’s hot and, even in the suburbs, it’s hard for parents to shield their children from adult-only themes.

At first we downplayed the Vegas reality, highlighting local features that candidates with children might consider more appropriate. During one Discovery (intake) Call, however, an HM shared his passion for the city: high energy, burgeoning development, top-name entertainment, fabulous shopping and dining, and more.

It hit me: the ideal candidate isn’t someone willing to “put up with” Las Vegas, but someone who would enjoy the Vegas lifestyle. Maybe that someone is single or doesn’t have children. Anyway, we switched to sharing that passion for Las Vegas, and it has paid off. By the way, in a scenario like this, be sure to follow non-discrimination guidelines regarding marital/family status.

Hopefully these stories have made the point: to bring in the passion you have to give out some passion. After all, passion is meant to be shared.

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