Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
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How to Out Shop Amazon for Tech Talent

Family members and friends call me an expert in the art of shopping. When I need something, I define exactly what I’m looking for and go after it with laser focus. I’m relentless. I don’t stop until I bring home my prey, which is why you should follow my advice on how to out shop Amazon for tech talent, or any talent for that matter.

Here are some takeaways from Amazon’s HQ2 search that can help you beat the tech titan at its own game.

Hang onto your talent. Some of you may be wondering what hanging onto your talent has to do with shopping for new talent. Think about it. If you focus on keeping the talent you have, then you won’t be thrust into this crazy hiring environment that resembles the 6:00 a.m. retail dash on Black Friday. The simplest way to do this is to ask team members three questions.

1. What were your hopes and dreams when you took this job?

2. Are your dreams coming to fruition?

3. How can I help you achieve your hopes and dreams?

Then take action.

Make recruiting personal. Somewhere along the way, we’ve allowed technology to replace the human element of hiring. Hiring systems have been automated to the point where computers now decide whether or not candidates are an ideal fit for an organization. These systems are used to send candidates automated responses, for just about everything. It’s no wonder why so many positions are going unfilled! It’s time to make recruiting personal again. Here’s how:

  • Individualize every interaction. If you see someone who might be a good fit for your organization, call them. That’s right. Pick up the phone and call. I have clients, who are CEO’s of publicly traded companies, doing this and the results are stellar. Candidates are one hundred times more likely to take a call from a CEO of a company than someone in HR. Don’t believe me? Have your CEO give it a try.
  • Be compelling. Passive candidates (especially those in tech) are receiving a dozen calls a day from recruiters and headhunters. Think carefully about what you will say, prior to picking up the phone or sending an email. Make sure your message is compelling enough for them to agree to meet with you.
  • Build relationships. Recruiting is all about relationships. A candidate may not immediately agree to your offer of an interview. However, they may change their mind after their performance review. Stay in touch and offer value. This may include sending them an article of interest on a topic that you recently chatted about or seeing if they want to grab a coffee at next month’s industry association meeting.

Look for talent where no one else is looking. I call this my amusement park approach to hiring talent. If you’ve ever been to an amusement park, you may have observed what I have seen as visitors flow through the gates. The majority of people immediately turn to their right, and follow the crowds, where they encounter long lines for rides and food.

That’s why I suggest going to the left, both when visiting amusement parks and when hunting for talent. Amazon is looking to hire 50,000 workers. Even if they split their headquarters into two locations, as rumored, there are going to be a ton of want-to-be Amazon employees flocking to their company. The chances of a small unknown company winning the war for tech talent in Amazon territory is dismal. You will be better served looking for talent in markets where others aren’t looking. Think Silicon Prairie. There is a notable amount of top talent in the Midwest. Thanks to technology, workers no longer need to be housed in your home office. They can pretty much live anywhere and commute to your headquarters when necessary.

Get help. I see the same companies posting “We’re hiring!” notices on LinkedIn on a daily basis. Let’s be honest here. If this approach was working, they wouldn’t be advertising to fill the same jobs day in and day out. I get that companies are desperate. However, desperation will not fill your pipeline. If you found yourself in a sales slump, you’d get outside help, right? You’d bring in people to help you pinpoint exactly what’s needed to get your sales back on track. It’s time to do the same with your quest for talent.

The time to do this is now. Here’s why. There’s a gold rush for certain kinds of tech talent. You could get lucky and stumble across a few nuggets of talent. But in all likelihood, you’ll be panning for candidates and coming up empty. It’s projected that the need for tech talent will outstrip supply. According to research firm International Data Corp, an estimated 30% of global IT jobs will be left open by 2022. The year 2022 isn’t as far away as it sounds. There’s no overnight solution here. Creating a talent pipeline takes time and focus.

Get started today, to ensure your shopping cart is full when your organization is hungering for talent.

©Matuson Consulting, 2018.

Special Opportunity:

Ready to take action? I’m offering the first five executives who ask, a complimentary 45-minute executive session (virtually or in person) on How to Create a Solar System of Talent (a $2,500 value). We’ll discuss specifically what your organization can do to pull in talent. Email me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com and we’ll get a date on the calendar. No strings attached here. Consider this my holiday gift!

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