How to Find and Hire the Right Person

Don’t be fooled into thinking a difficult economy has made the war for talent as passé as acid-washed jeans and flannel shirts. Rather, the influx of highly qualified people into the marketplace makes it even more difficult for executives and hiring managers to find the perfect people for open, high-impact positions.

As CEO of TriNet, I’ve invested more time in making executive hires than ever before. I have been careful not to assume the recent spate of layoffs will help me fill crucial slots more easily. In doing so, I’ve developed some guidelines for finding and hiring the right person in a challenging business environment:

Cherish, rather than neglect, your network. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Outlook—whatever you use to keep in touch with your contacts. Your friends and colleagues will often know the right person for your open position, or will at least give you leads.

Don’t fall in love with a candidate at first sight. In the old days, I might have compromised a bit on my hires because I knew the talent marketplace was tight. Now, I’m likely to take longer to make a hire because I know I don’t have to sacrifice quality.

Still seek those passive candidates. I pursued, wooed, and courted my recently hired VP of marketing for several months, despite the fact that at the time he was safely ensconced in a great role elsewhere. I knew he was the right person for the job, and I kept at it until I got him.

There’s no question this is a great time to hire people. But don’t make the mistake of thinking it’ll be easier. The exceptional hires are out there, but just as in the old days, you may need to do some detective work and actively seek out the people who will make your company great.

Burton M. Goldfield President & CEO TriNet San Leandro, Calif.

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