One of the things I often hear from companies recruiting candidates is that there’s a talent shortage. But award-winning author and sales management expert Lee Salz views it differently: The talent is out there, you just have to know what you want (and how to find it).

Lee Salz wrote the book Hire Right, Higher Profits, which I highly recommend. Too often, he says, companies focus on people, not processes. The days of receiving a gold watch for 25 years of loyal service have come and gone and Generation Y is anything but loyal. However, it is possible to find loyal talent. Here, then, are four steps from Lee to help you recruit the right candidates.

Always Be Recruiting. 

Much like grocery shopping when hungry, a big mistake is looking for candidates when you desperately need to hire them. Always be recruiting and open to networking. You never know where it will lead.

Use the Tools Correctly.

Assessment companies provide data about a candidate, but it’s up to you to interpret it and combine it with nuances gleaned from those in-person interviews. The same goes for tracking systems, which are designed to make the hiring process more efficient. The problem is setting too many filters, which can shut out some great candidates. So manage these tools correctly and consider them part of the overall process, not the end-all be-all.

Do Your Homework.

When considering a candidate, be sure to assess all the factors that will help that person succeed or fail, as the case may be. Prioritize those factors based on their level of impact and come up with a “Performance Factor Portfolio.” This sheet will give weight to the qualities you’re after and help you keep score as you interview candidates. Base your interview questions on those priorities to see not only if a candidate is the right fit but what skills he or she has to offer.

Give Them a Test. 

Before you make an offer, ask for a one-page business proposal in which the candidate explains how she or he would succeed at your company. Let him or her set the deadline. This step will reveal five things: whether she can communicate in writing; how well she gets the role; whether she’s aligned with your company and can meet deadlines; and whether she is capable of following directions. All of these are important.

Following these steps can help you maximize this market to find the dream candidates. To check out more from Lee Salz, visit his website or listen to my interview with Lee in full here.

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