Peer to peer: Take your time to find the right fit for your firm

What are some best practices for recruiting in Vancouver’s global economy?

Manu Varma - Vice-president of human resources, Traction on Demand

The Vancouver market is globally competitive, vibrant and dynamic. Talent in Vancouver knows what opportunities are out there. Here are some of our best practices, which have helped us double in head count every year for the past four years.

•Look for cultural fit and aptitude first, then skills. Recruit not only people who fit into your culture but also those who strengthen it. Next, look for smart, thoughtful people. We can train skills, but we can’t train intelligence, work ethic or humility.

•Use technology effectively. We built our own recruiting application, which puts our brand front and centre and keeps the candidate informed throughout the process. We also use a phone booking app to move the process forward efficiently.

•Give a tour of your space. A tour of the office helps candidates see your company in action and allows you to watch the candidate’s body language in the work environment.

•Involve others in the recruitment process. Candidates can interact with up to 10 people throughout the process at Traction on Demand, so we take into account the insights and opinions of fellow team members.

•Implement a “demonstration interview.” Candidates who progress deeper into our recruitment cycle can do what we call a “demonstration interview.” They get a free Salesforce.com account, create a use case and role-play it out with us. We get to see candidates’ technical aptitude in action, as well as their presentation and client-management skills.

Michael Checkley - President and CEO, QHR Technologies Inc.

As the next generation of young professionals becomes more vocal about career goals, companies are starting to understand the crucial necessity of hiring great sales talent – and the cost of getting that wrong. Hiring well is the most important thing that a growth company must to do remain agile in B.C.’s economy.

Today, young professionals are searching for careers that have impact – they want to achieve meaningful goals while elevating their personal brand and professional reputation. In B.C., we are faced with a unique working culture, particularly within the technology industry. The “rock star” millennial employees who are in such high demand are looking for more substance in their careers, as opposed to their boomer antecedents who focused more on the job description and salary range.

Companies need to be thinking about how they market both their brand and vision. As social media communities continue to grow within almost every industry, companies have the ability to capitalize on everyone’s desire to be a part of a great story to tell.

For larger companies, this can be slightly more difficult than for smaller businesses. Many corporations that have proven hiring practices often advertise opportunities headlined by flashy titles and alluring wages and overlook what the next generation is looking for in a career.

If B.C. businesses want to attract the best and the brightest, they should look to innovative practices and benefits while defining opportunities that have purpose and impact and, above all, make their employees feel like they are a part of something bigger.

Jeff Duncan - President and CEO, Meetingmax

Like many local software companies, we are based in Vancouver, but our business isn’t. To provide our meetings-industry clients with the service we promise, global experience, or at least a global mindset, is essential.

While it can be cost-prohibitive for smaller companies to hire international candidates, we’ve found that Vancouver’s talent pool offers more than enough diversity. Here are some examples of how we’ve successfully hired global perspectives, locally.

•Look for recent transplants. Often people who have recently relocated are looking for informational interviews to understand the local landscape. These individuals have likely already been through the immigration process and are ready to work. 

•Be specific. Be crystal clear on what you are looking for. Create a scorecard that outlines the required skills and attributes. By specifically looking for global perspectives we have hired Vancouverites from India, Ethiopia, Iran and Europe.

•Engage your network. Recruitment firms can be expensive for smaller companies, often charging 20% to 30% of a year’s salary. Instead, we engage our networks in finding successful candidates by offering free flights and hotel rooms as incentives.

•Hire slow. Sometimes an employee’s experience on paper causes you to jump the gun and make a bad hire. We have moved from a casual interview to an in-depth, five-step hiring process that takes at least four weeks. 

By looking for different perspectives and not rushing to fill a position, you’ll be better able to find the right employee for the long term.

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