If you ask top managers what their biggest challenge is when it comes to keeping their organization relevant they will say it’s recruiting the right people, for the right positions, at the right time. Yet many are flummoxed when it comes to actually recruiting that kind of talent. Instead of casting a wide net and hoping for the best, give these proven recruitment strategies a try.

Strategic Recruitment Offers a Strategic Advantage

Too often, recruiting talent is pushed off on the human resource manager or department in favor of more pressing needs of “the business”. In reality, increasing sales and generating revenue is nearly impossible with the wrong people on board. Consider the billions of dollars companies are spending every year on lost productivity with more than 86 percent of the American workforce disengaged or highly disengaged from their work. Now, consider the strategic advantage you could have in your market by pushing recruitment to the top of your priority list.

Know Thyself

This should go without saying, but you cannot recruit to your organization if you do not know what you are recruiting for. Too many businesses are trying to attract top talent without knowing two important things – the job they need and the organization they are trying to create. Where is your business today? Where are you hoping to be tomorrow? What knowledge, skills or abilities would help you get there? Which soft skills are vital to success in your field? Once you can answer these questions, you can begin to prioritize which hires you need, in the order you need them.

Create a Unique Process

Business schools in the 90’s loved using Southwest Airlines as an example for how to recruit and retain the right employees. Even now, the company receives a resume every two minutes, more than a quarter million a year, interviews less than half and hires just two percent of their applicants. In an industry where talent is in short supply, Southwest takes their time to make sure every hire isn’t just qualified, but shares the organization’s values. In fact, Southwest has a culture of hiring only those with a “warrior spirit, a servant’s heart and a fun-loving attitude.” Their entire interview process is based around discovering if an applicant has all three of these qualities. Your recruitment process does not need to be extensive, but it should align with your organization’s values, culture and needs. (Remember that whole “know thyself” part? That’s where this comes in.)

Ultimately, the future of your business rests on your ability to recruit the right people. Start acting like it.