Best recruitment strategies rely on building relationships

Across industries, the ability to attract and retain talent in new markets continues to be a major area of focus in 2013.

Across industries, the ability to attract and retain talent in new markets continues to be a major area of focus in 2013. A shrinking pool of top PR talent, along with increased competition from companies all over the world, has made recruiting quite a challenge. Agencies are willing to go to great lengths to recruit and retain targeted, valued professionals.

Talent is becoming the key competitive differentiator; companies with access to the right talent are positioning themselves to succeed in a rapidly changing global economy. Employees must have international experience and multicultural sensibility. The best place to find that? Within your organization. Companies that take succession planning seriously will have a head start in filling positions abroad.

Whether it is gaining experience in a niche area or offering someone the opportunity to work on a global account, skill gap assessments should be conducted frequently. Providing stars with opportunities to grow their skill set will allow an employee to quickly move into an international role when the need arises.

Externally, fewer executives seem willing to move to remote locations, so it is imperative to cast a wide net across the globe.

When recruiting, timing is everything. Some candidates may only move after a school year has ended if they have a family. Others may not be interested until reaching a career milestone they're in the process of achieving. Understanding what makes a candidate tick and their personal timeline puts firms ahead of the game.

It is also important to ensure your organization has a consistent brand message globally. Potential candidates may interview with executives across several locations. Many times, I've heard how impressed candidates are when multiple offices are all "singing from the same choir book."

Every interaction with your company is a stepping stone to make a candidate feel comfortable. They want to be reassured that you will take care of them if they decide to make that major move.

Sourcing people who have new business skills and developing these skills with your employees is par for the course in today's competitive world where big pitches are few and far between. These strategies point back to the simplest of things - connect with people and know what gets them excited so you can sell them on how to create a fulfilling next chapter by joining your firm. 

Stephanie Howley is SVP, human resources at Cohn & Wolfe.

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