The thing about hiring is that it’s a continual process. You’ll keep needing to hire people as long as you’re in business. And when someone quits your company abruptly, you’ve got to move quickly to find a replacement so that business can continue without interruption. But our traditional method of finding employees — typically job boards — often fail employers. When you list a position on Monster, CareerBuilder, or Craigslist, you’re typically inundated with a flood of resumes — many of whom aren’t even qualified for the position. You spend countless hours reading cover letters and skimming resumes to find a short stack of talented professionals you’re interested in interviewing. And even still, you might have to settle for the best of the bunch if no one really has what you’re looking for. That’s where having an extensive network you can turn to when you need to find the perfect employee is such an asset. If your existing network is lacking, look to these sources to find new connections that may know of someone who’s a great fit for your brand. #1. Local Networking Events It’s easy to remain mired in your work and never come up for a breath of air, but getting out into your community can be good for you. Besides possibly leading to new business, you can connect with others who may know of someone with the skills you’re looking for in your next employee. How to Use It: Networking is a long game, so don’t expect to swoop in and find someone right away. Your focus should be on building relationships with other small business owners or people in your industry. You may even set your eye on someone you think you’d like to hire; get to know him and when you’re sure he’s a good fit, broach the subject. With others, put out feelers for anyone they might know who would be interested in your open position. #2. Social Media Strange but true: employers who use social media for their hiring find a 49% improvement in candidate quality over other methods. There’s a reason recruiters are flocking to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to find talent. It’s a great platform for professionals to show off their industry knowledge through content, and this makes it easy to find them. How to Use It: Spend some time searching keywords that relate to your industry or the job you want to hire for. See who’s doing a good job of sharing informative content that shows they know their stuff. Connect and engage. Look at their LinkedIn profiles to see who’s currently open to the right opportunity, and for those who are, make your pitch. Also, link to your job description to alert your network that you’re looking to hire. Ask your followers to share the listing with their own networks (you see how the power of numbers works here to your advantage?). #3. Your Customers What better way to give your customers exactly what they want than to let them pick your next employee? Customers know what they like about your company and what kinds of people they enjoy working with. It’s also flattering to them to be asked for their input in your hiring decisions. How to Use It: Reach out to your best clients and ask if they know anyone who would be a good fit at your company. The more specific you can be with what you’re looking for, the better your clients can help you find the right person. If you regularly meet up with clients over lunch or coffee (and you should) work your candidate search into the conversation. You might be surprised at how many clients can give you a good referral! #4. Your Employees Your employees feel more invested in your company when you take their feedback into consideration. That applies to hiring, too. By creating an employee referral program, you open up the gates to people that your team can vouch for. The bonus? An employee referral hire is more likely to stay at your company longer: 47% of referrals stay with a company three years or longer. Here’s to lower turnover! How to Use It: Create a program that incentivizes your staff to send you their best picks for open positions. Offer rewards like cash bonuses, days off, or other perks that will actually light a fire under your employees to start sifting through their own networks to find their future co-workers. Create a little competition by updating your team on who has successfully referred the most new hires. Gamifying the referral program can make for better engagement. #5. Recruiters There’s a reason the recruiting industry is booming: recruiters know their market, and are tapped into the best talent in your field. They can make your hiring process significantly shorter, and can help you lure talent away from other companies (something you probably can’t do on your own). How to Use It: Find a recruiter that specializes in your niche. They can probably advise you on competitive salaries and benefits, based on what they’ve seen in the market. Get a sense of what their recruiting strategies are, and let them complement what you’re doing elsewhere to build up your hiring network. Final Tips on Hiring Hiring new staff is never fun, but as your network expands, you can at least make it easier and faster. These tips, too, can make the process more simplified: Know exactly what you want. The more specific your job description, the more likely you are to find exactly the right fit. Don’t skimp on salary. Use a tool like Salary.com to see what others are paying for similar roles in your area. Look for talent when you don’t need it. That way, you can reach out to possible candidates you’ve already met and vetted when the need does arise. Be willing to shift responsibilities. Paying attention to how overloaded your team is can help you determine if some of their work needs to be offloaded to a new employee. This will cut down on people quitting out of frustration. Images: ”Retro image of recruitment signboard on a wooden post with a right pointing arrow./Shutterstock.com“ ______________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.