bianco studio

winning the recruiting wars

Author

Moose

category

business strategy

the problem with recruiting

Right now, it's harder than ever to find staff. Organizations are paying huge bonuses, increasing salaries, and better benefits.

So how does a mid-sized gaming organization compete against the multitude of options job seekers have? Well for one, you can hire a partner who already has the best talent on board. If that's not for you, then don't worry. There aren't a lot of quick fixes, but there are a couple things that you can do immediately.

in the short term

First, you need to give hiring the time it deserves. The work will remain the same work, customers will be the customers they always have been, and neither of those situations will ever improve unless you tear yourself away a bit and focus on hiring the right people. How do you know who the right people are? By knowing what is and isn't a good fit for your organization, clearly defining your values and beliefs for applicants, and having a clear purpose, vision, and mission to reference.

Second, take a look at your job descriptions.

  • Make sure they are thorough, accurate and honest. Don't sugar coat the role and fill it with buzzwords that you have no intention delivering on. You'll end up wasting your own time screening the candidates later.
  • Inject the organizations culture and soul. Job descriptions don't have to read like a dictionary. Have your copywriter write the descriptions in the tone and voice of your company, then take it through some revisions to reel it back in if necessary.
  • List all benefits. Don't list the boring (but essential) ones like medical and insurance. Get creative, inject some weirdness and create fun. Annual company retreats to Italy, professional development stipends, dedicated company service days...if you don't offer any non-standard benefits, shame on you. Get creative.
  • Talk yourself up. Do this at the beginning or end of your job description, but give a brief synopsis of what you do and why. List any awards you've won (particularly ones about being the best place to work).

Thirdly, post jobs sooner than when you need them, and leave the offer open for longer — up until you have a signed offer letter. Oftentimes, the best candidates take a few weeks to respond. It takes them time to find the listing, do their investigative work on you, and determine the best course of action for them. Plus, if you do have a candidate fall through the cracks, it's much easier to not have to start from scratch. Some of them might be good to keep on your radar for future roles, and are worthy of either informational interviews or following up with individualized emails. You know, so you don’t find yourself in the same place the next time you need to hire quickly.

Fourthly, we are going to shift slightly into longer-term solutions. Consider automating part of your hiring process. There's a lot of great software options to make hiring more effective and less time consuming. We have personal experience with Hireology and Breezy, and both are great. A more automated hiring process can help with a number of things:

  • Job postings to multiple services, increasing the reach of your posting
  • Automated pre-screening, such as video interviews or questionnaires, to save you time
  • Consistent methods for tracking and grading applicants, which is helpful particularly if multiple people are involved in screening and interviews
  • A documented rolodex of applicants to reach out to when you do have a new job available

A big challenge with investing more time into hiring, is the idea that it will take even more time to do. But we've found that with a proper idea of who you want to attract, and having systems in place, it actually does take less time.

in the long term

Odds are, even by implementing the short term solutions above, you're still going to struggle sometimes with finding the right applicant. Here are a few suggestions to think about. These are probably worth their own articles, but we are going to keep these high-level and to the point so you can get a sense of what is required to win the recruiting war.

  • Build an internal training and career development program. If you are promoting from within, you only end up having to recruit and hire for lower-level positions, which are much easier to fill.
  • Build out an intentional internship program. The word “intentional” is key there. Don’t use your interns to grab your coffee and do your grunt work. At least not exclusively. Use your internship program as a feeder program for lower-level positions. This can work great in conjunction with the suggestion above. Stay in touch with the ex-interns you liked but weren’t able to bring on at the time.
  • Build relationships with final round candidates. Oftentimes you end up “going a different direction” with a candidate because they don’t have enough experience (yet) or they are really more qualified for a different type of role. Remember that just because you turned them down at some point in the past doesn’t mean you didn’t like them. You just didn’t like them for a particular position at a particular point in time. Be honest with final round candidates, ask to stay in touch, and see what the future might hold. This is how we have found our best employees.
  • Build your own Careers list. Actively recruit people to sign up for your “Careers” newsletter list or Discord room or wherever else your ideal employee hangs out. Ask everyone who opts into your email list if they would also like to join your Careers list. Over time, we have amassed thousands of people who receive job postings from us, because they actually asked us to email them when we had a new opening.
  • Build relationships with nearby schools. This goes beyond posting to their internal job boards, though that is an easy win. Get to know some of the professors of classes that might overlap with your firm’s specialities. Do some guest speaking. Once you find a couple professors you trust, ask them to pass along any exceptional students so you can be “first in line.”

Admittedly, it is a difficult time to be recruiting in-house personel, which is why a lot of gaming organizations are choosing to hire consultancies like us. Lower risk, less overhead and management required. The silver lining is that this might be just the push you need to put a bit more thought and process behind your recruiting and hiring practices. Putting the time and effort into hiring upfront will move the needle. It just might take a little time.

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