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How Companies Identify Talent, with Sarah Torres Ferrick & Kage Spatz

HR Strategy Series, Real Human Resources

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Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.

As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Sarah Torres-Ferrick.

Sarah Torres-Ferrick is a human resources expert who has worked over a decade with executives at government agencies on developing and sustaining high performing workforces. Now Sarah uses these skills to bring effective HR solutions to small businesses.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! First, please tell us what brought you to this specific career path?

I fell into HR like many of us. I graduated from college with a degree in philosophy but without an idea of what to do. My dad was in HR and I heard about an Hr internship program with the Department of Navy. I applied and was accepted. That was a great program that gave me exposure to many aspects of HR. Fast forward about 10 years and I fell in love with small businesses. At that time my husband had his own business and I was helping his business friends with HR needs. This naturally turned into a business where I get to help small businesses grow through building teams.

Wonderful. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill?

To effectively find and recruit the best employees (in the current labor market) a company needs to think like a marketer.

1. Establish employee avatar: Just like you develop your customer avatar you need to develop your employee avatar. Who is she? What does she love? Where does she hang out? What does she do for fun? What are her passions?

2. Follow the Know, Like, and Trust formula: Get in front of your employee avatar and take her on the journey so she is waiting for you to have a job opening. An easy way to do this is by showcasing employees and the work environment on social media.

3. Source passive candidates: We no longer can reply on just posting a job opening. The best employees are not going to job boards. Ask for referrals from your community, have an employee referral program, and use sites like LinkedIn to search for candidates directly.

4. Be engaging: In addition to finding candidates, you need to sell your company. This starts with your communication. Stay away from overly formal discussions that focus on the candidate needing to prove something to the company. Talk about the company in normal language and embrace communication channels like text and DM. Plus always remember to keep all your candidates updated throughout the process and respond promptly to candidate questions. Many companies are getting ghosted by great candidates, and you can reduce this by having regular and engaging communications throughout the process.

5. Be transparent: Clearly describe the position and company. Don’t sugarcoat the rough stuff and don’t oversell the benefits. Advertising things like the salary range can put you above other companies.

What are your top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?

1. Make it a constant object to advertise your company as a great place to work.

2. Create robust referral programs with customers, employees, and community groups.

3. Directly source candidates. Linkedin is great for this. Being involved in colleges and trade schools is also good.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would give flexibility to more workers. Employees today have many passions and responsibilities. Companies should embrace them instead of penalizing employees. Leave programs, remote work, and flexible schedules have the ability to impact many.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.”

This shows the importance of employees. They are not a piece of capital that the company can use to make money. They are the foundation of business and should be respected and recognized. With that comes business growth and personal growth.

Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!

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