This article was first published in the Bolton Remote blog.

john Keogh on Flickr

Photo by john Keogh on Flickr

Most companies follow pretty much the same process for hiring:

  1. You notice that you need some work done.
  2. You write a job description.
  3. You publish that through job boards and other mechanisms.
  4. People apply for the job.
  5. You do multiple levels of filtering, ultimately talking with a few candidates in person.
  6. You make your offer to the best candidate, or if this didn’t work, go back to square one.

These are the steps we’ve been using since the industrial revolution, and you’re familiar with the two key failings:

  • The number of applicants can easily underwhelm or overwhelm you.
  • Job postings often attract people who are a poor fit.

Attracting the right people

The problem is that we’re communicating about the job tasks, but the more important dimensions are hard to measure: attitude, initiative, personal goals, and interpersonal relationships.

I’ll be addressing this change of perspective in my free webinar on August 13th, Attract Amazing Employees. I’d love to have you join us.

Attracting remote employees

If you’re hiring remote employees, you have an additional twist to this. How do you develop relationships over a great physical distance?

The answer is very similar to how you build the brand for your products in another country.

When you’re connecting with potential customers, you reach them by:

  • Identifying who they are;
  • Figure out where they gather and discuss the issues that your product could solve; and
  • Become involved in those discussions.

The good news is that we’re not necessarily talking about people physically meeting together. Even more likely, these discussions are happening virtually. It’s easier than ever for you to join in.

The potential employee’s “issues”

When you’re selling to a customer, their problems and issues drive your product or service, and sales approach. What are the “issues” that your future employee has?

Most obvious is that they may be out of work and they need a job. Fair enough. But realize that it may be much more likely that your ideal candidate actually has a job, they just don’t like it as much as what you might offer.

This person’s deeper “issues” are that they’re in a situation where their personal goals don’t match very well with their employment. Or they’re working with people they don’t get along with. Or they’re uninspired in their career.

If you can satisfy those deeper concerns, you’re going to have a great employee.

Helping them find you

Sometimes people complain about, and discuss, these issues on social media. But most often they suffer in silence, embarrassed to mention difficulties in public, or are worried about retribution from their current employer.

You still have other avenues to build relationships:

  • Tell honest stories about the culture inside your company, with no evasion.
  • Open up public discussions about the topics you’d like help solving.
  • Answer questions with honesty and transparency.

As with product brand building, your goal is to get people positively talking about you and with you. It’s a slow and continuous process which helps you build an enduring organization.

It will take time, so get started today, even before you have open jobs. You may be contacted by a wonderful person and end up creating an ideal job for them!