Although the world’s markets have yet to recover to the levels enjoyed prior to late-2008, the recession that has caused such dramatic issues seems to be abating. Businesses across most industries have begun hiring again, and overall the U.S. economy is adding thousands of jobs each month. It will still be some time before the pressure is off, but for corporate hiring managers the focus now is not on finding people that can do several tasks for less money, but finding ways to bring in the cream of the crop. The best talent on the job market isn’t just looking for whatever they can find to pay the bills. They want to work for an innovative company up to big things, and to be compensated at a high level for what they do. These folks are worth whatever you need to pay them, but you have to get them to invest their time in your business. Here are five tips for recruiting top talent.

First of all, have a pipeline in to the universities. The next generation of industry leaders is graduating this year, and you need to be where they are if you don’t want to lose them to the big boys. It’s going to take some serious recruiting efforts, but finding those amazing young minds fresh from college gives you the top talent you want but at a starting salary rate. Make sure your company is represented at job fairs put on at schools known for talent in your industry. But also connect with the career counselors and department heads as well. If you create a strong relationship they can give you the heads up if a truly spectacular candidate has come through.

Next, put your opportunities out on the web where this top talent hangs out. You can post job openings on Craigslist and and you’ll get literally thousands of responses. But how will you know which one of these are worth considering without going through every single resume? Make a list of the online networking groups, blogs and social media sites where the thought leaders in your industry network and share insight. Look at the message boards and you’re likely to see some heated conversation. Someone within those ranks could be your future hire.

Sometimes you have a lot of positions to fill and there’s no choice but to post opportunities widely online. In that case, set up an automated process of culling resumes based on keywords. Your IT department should be able to set this up for you, as it’s not that different from putting together databases for your website or for internal documents. Set the process up so that it looks for certain keywords within the resumes you receive. You can do it based on GPA, on standardized test scores, on years of experience or particular job tasks. Be as detailed or a simple as you like, but this should help you quickly cut out the candidates that aren’t up to snuff.

Personal recommendations are also crucial when looking for talent. You should reach out to associates and friends to see if they have any recommendations. This can be tricky, especially when you try to speak to people who work for other companies. But as long as they aren’t direct competitors they should be willing to help. Perhaps they came across a great candidate but there just wasn’t a good opportunity at their company, or maybe the compensation didn’t line up. Headhunters could also be useful for this work, as long as they focus on your industry.

The last step has nothing to do with recruitment software or the wording of your ad, and everything to do with the culture of your business. Top talents choose a company because of the environment and the people as much as the opportunity itself. Make sure you have a culture that rewards excellence and hard work, and compensates people generously. This doesn’t always mean money. If you can offer extras such as gym memberships, commuting cards and a casual workplace that can do just as much to sway a candidate’s decision as matching contributions on a 401k plan.

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