If your company has 800 employees, your company has 800 recruiters.
If this sounds like a multilevel marketing scheme, rest assured: It isn’t about expecting employees to actively search for talent, it’s about recognizing that the key to hiring top candidates in 2022 is an empowered workforce.
Talent acquisition teams lead and drive the recruiting strategy, but they’re also involved in every step of the hiring process—conducting proactive sourcing, advertising on job boards, partnering with hiring managers, and more. This is all good and necessary, but it’s only one piece of the recruiting pie. In today’s competitive hiring market, recruiting top talent needs more.
Employees know a company’s culture, values, and mission better than anyone, and this makes them your best resource for hiring strong candidates. Simply put, your employees are the key differentiator to reaching your recruiting goals. As the VP of talent acquisition at ClickUp, I am passionate about empowering employees to get involved in the hiring process. I’ve found that activating employees to help build a healthy team comes down to three best practices.
Offer a referral bonus
One obvious (yet oftentimes overlooked) way to encourage employee participation in the hiring process is through a financial incentive. Referral bonuses encourage employees to take the time to play matchmaker in a sense—connecting people in their network to their company’s recruiting team. If a candidate referred by an employee is offered a job and accepts it, the employee is rewarded financially.
From my experience, employees are more likely to take the time to tap into their network and refer candidates that they believe will enhance company culture if there is a specific reward in it for them. More than that, the candidates being referred are already vetted by current employees whether personally or professionally.
Referral bonuses are worth the investment and are integral to expanding your team with new hires who reflect your core values and mission.
Equip employees for interview panels
Employee involvement should not stop with a referral bonus. When employees have a sense of ownership in team construction, they are more engaged throughout the hiring process. By preparing employees to interview candidates, you provide interviewees with the best experience and have the greatest chance of landing the best person for the role.
Before interviewing qualified candidates, it’s important for hiring managers and interview panelists to feel prepped on how to run successful interviews and align on what they’re looking for beyond what’s on paper. What type of working style should this person have? What kind of cultural addition is most valuable to the team? What soft skills are most beneficial to this role?
This alignment empowers employees to ask candidates more tailored questions to better understand their passions and strengths, and not just their experiences and skills. Since candidates are interviewing the company as much as the company is interviewing them, taking the time to ensure that candidates feel confident going into conversations will make for strong hires.
Focus on Cultural Ambassadors
Another way to democratize the recruiting process is by embracing the role of a cultural ambassador. These are people who embody the spirit of the company and live out the mission, values, etc. every day at work. Whether it’s how they celebrate a company milestone on LinkedIn or how they talk about the company to a friend they refer to the company, cultural ambassadors bring the organization to life more than your careers page ever will.
When hiring, it’s important to educate cultural ambassadors on the difference between “culture fit” and “culture add.” Creating and reinforcing a specific culture of a company is, of course, a necessity—but like every kind of culture or subculture out there, it is constantly evolving.
The idea of a “culture fit” implies looking for talent that fits the current iteration of the culture, rather than the core mission that the company was built on. But fostering a team of cultural ambassadors begins with seeing all employees and candidates as “culture adds,” or people who will actively grow and develop culture as the company grows and develops.
At ClickUp, the wildly passionate candidate who embodies the mission to make the world more productive is more appealing than the candidate who may be more experienced but only a quarter as enthusiastic. Why? Because that first candidate will serve as a culture ambassador as well as an employee; they will be living examples of why your company is a great place to work, and why others would want to work there.
Hiring for “culture add” instead of “culture fit” enables us to build a team with a diversity of thought, knowledge, experience, and mindset that is all marching toward the same mission.
It’s not hard to find talent in today’s job market; it’s hard to find top talent that doesn’t already have an offer on the table. If you’re not sure how to infuse creativity into your hiring strategy, start by identifying what unites your workforce in order to better engage and equip employees to join in on your recruiting efforts. If everyone on your team has their eye out for talent, think of how effective your organization’s hiring strategy will be.