Talent is what makes a company, but it can be tricky to pin down. The challenge is finding that perfect candidate: one that will get the best out of your staff. Too often hiring teams are faced with impossible choices, but finding a great applicant can feel like you have won the race. Whether you are targeting active candidates or headhunting across companies, these applicants are being tracked down for other positions too. So how do you find the talent that will take your company forward?

Don’t assume you know your company

Companies are fast-changing and your teams will include the full range of characters. Don’t assume that you understand all the idiosyncrasies of your staff or even all of the strategies they employ. But it is vital to get to know the way that your company and employees work, on good days and bad ones. This will mean that when you pick a candidate, they will deliver an approach which fits well with existing structures. So how do you get to know your company? Taking a look at it from an outsiders’ perspective will show your processes in a fresh light. Alternatively, taking the time to listen to what staff at all levels in the company think about how your business works will speak volumes about what you need from your next leader.

Don’t limit your company

Every business hits a plateau at some point, but yours doesn’t have to stay there. You may be confident about your company’s procedures, and you may be comfortable with the service you offer, but that doesn’t mean you should look for a candidate who will simply replicate what you already do. If you want to spot talent you will need to think about how your company might change under new direction. Consider candidates who work in new ways; consider hiring across different careers, and consider staff who are willing to think differently about your business. Casting the net wide when you are headhunting for candidates will help you find that unexpected gem.

Don’t forget your current staff

Many of the best candidates are found through existing contacts. Talk to people across the company. They may have been managed by a great leader elsewhere, or know of a manager who gets great results. Asking for referrals is also a great way to get to know what your employees prioritise in the person who manages them. Since staff will be unwilling to refer a candidate who might reflect badly on them, the applicant will already have undergone the most rigorous interview process: the informal one! This means that these referrals can be a great way to widen your pool of candidates.

Don’t be short-term

Last but not least, finding the right candidate is only ever the start. If they are worth chasing, then they are going to do your company good in the long-term. That is if you are able to keep them. New staff often report a lull in training and attention from managers and colleagues soon after they have settled in. This is a tricky time, one where they are implementing new strategies and building new relationships. If you really believe in the candidate’s talent, then make sure you invest in them beyond the initial stages in the job. Take the time to check in with them, offer training solutions, and ask them what they need to keep working well in your company.

The round-up

Widen your thinking and your pool of candidates, and you will track down the hidden talent your company needs!