If you want to hire the right people, you need to look in the right places. In this article, you will learn six places where every company should hunt for talent.
This is the most obvious place to hunt for talent and for good reason. First of all, people working for your competitors will have relevant knowledge and relationships within your industry. Secondly, if you poach a great employee from a competitor, you also weaken that company.
While this strategy seems like a no-brainer, non-compete and non-solicit clauses can be difficult to navigate (especially for client-facing roles). It’s also dangerous to assume that someone who has been successful with a competitor will automatically be successful inside of your organization, too. Culture and organizational dynamics also play a big role.
Question to consider: Which of your competitors do you respect the most?
This is a term that I use to refer to other companies in your industry that sell complementary (not competitive) products and services to your customers. In some ways, targeting people from these organizations can be better than targeting people from your competitors.
Candidates from “complementers” bring relevant industry knowledge and relationships, along with a unique perspective on serving and selling to your customer base. In addition, non-compete and non-solicit restrictions are generally not an issue here, like they often are with people working for competitors.
Question to consider: Which companies sell complementary products and services to your customers?
People who work for your customers have firsthand knowledge on how your customers think and how they make buying decisions. That sort of intelligence is extremely valuable for any organization.
Hiring people who work for one of your customers can be tricky, however. A customer might not be pleased if you poach one of their top people. Consider the role and proceed carefully.
Question to consider: Which companies are your best customers?
In addition to hunting inside your customer base, you can also search in the opposite direction. Consider targeting companies who sell products and services to you. That includes vendors and relevant professional services firms (i.e. consulting and advisory firms).
If you respect how these organizations conduct their business, chances are that their people could be a great addition to your company. Individuals working for relevant vendors and professional services firms also bring a broad perspective of your industry.
Question to consider: Which companies do the best job of serving and selling to your industry?
5. Non-industry peers
While the four categories above are focused within your industry, you should also search outside your industry. People from other industries will bring a fresh, unique perspective.
Not sure where to look? Consider companies who have experienced similar conditions to what your organization is facing. For example, if your organization expects to go through an IPO soon, you could target candidates at companies outside your industry that previously went through an IPO.
Question to consider: Which companies outside your industry have experienced similar conditions to yours?
6. Admired companies
Finally, you have a catch-all category for other top organizations where you might want to hunt for talent. While you will identify a number of top employers from the five categories listed above, there are additional companies to include in your recruiting strategy as well.
For example, it’s always wise to search inside of organizations (across multiple industries) that are known for developing great leaders and for providing a world-class experience for their customers and employees. Based on your organization and a specific role, some companies will be more relevant than others.
Question to consider: Which companies outside your industry do you respect the most?
Summary and final thought
In order to hire the right people, you need to search in the right places. Here are six places (and questions) to help you determine where your company should hunt for talent:
- Competitors: Which of your competitors do you respect the most?
- Complementers: Which companies sell complementary products and services to your customers?
- Customers: Which companies are your best customers?
- Sellers: Which companies do the best job of serving and selling to your industry?
- Non-industry peers: Which companies outside your industry have experienced similar conditions to yours?
- Admired companies: Which companies outside your industry do you respect the most?
About the author: Pete Leibman is an executive recruiter, speaker, and author who helps leaders and companies thrive. He is the creator of StrongerHabits.com and he’s the bestselling author of Work Stronger; Habits for More Energy, Less Stress, and Higher Performance at Work.