Tips to Recruiting in the Bluff City

Memphis is known for many good things. From Elvis to the Memphis Grizzlies, there is something for everyone.

However, Memphis is not known for its talented labor force. For an employer, navigating talent in Memphis can often be like swimming upstream in the Mississippi River.

Our clients often ask, “Where is the talent in Memphis?”

My first answer is that the talent already has a job and is not searching job boards for your posting.

But, Memphis is also plagued with not having enough talent and high turnover issues. With the job market recovering, an employer has to seek out the talent they need and then be decisive.

The hiring process needs to move quickly. Time to hire is crucial. If a recruiter, or an employer for that matter, interviews an impressive candidate, the hiring process should move along promptly. A motivated candidate may be interviewing elsewhere and receiving multiple offers. Immediate communication and action are of the utmost importance.

Keep the interview process simple. The more steps involved, the more exhausted a candidate can become. A candidate may be taking personal time from their current employer, and he or she does not want to risk the job they have.

Interviewing can be likened to dating. If, after the first date you do not hear from the other individual, you assume that he or she is uninterested, so you lose interest, as well. If you are interested in a candidate, stay in touch and keep them informed of the process.

When making an offer to a candidate, make it the best possible offer for that position and their experience level. With candidates receiving multiple offers, the prospective employer may not have the opportunity to negotiate later.

And, if the skill set you need cannot be found in the Memphis area, you will have to seek candidates outside of the city to relocate.

There is a good chance that someone unfamiliar with the area will do their due diligence to see if Memphis is a place they could call home. While that research will most certainly highlight Memphis’ low cost of living, factors that drive negative perceptions — such as crime rates — may seem daunting in the minds of candidates.

To convince someone to make the move to Memphis, a recruiter must sell Memphis and the Mid-South. Recruiters should be able to touch on all the good things about the city, such as expansions at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, pride in the Memphis Grizzlies and increasing accolades as a foodie and millennial Mecca, to name a few. Be sure that your recruiter knows the city – where to live, about the churches and the schools – and can sell the city as well as the company.

The good news is: once people are in Memphis, they often don’t want to leave.

Employers also need to be aware of their online reputations. Thanks to advanced technology, information is now at the touch of a candidate’s fingertips.

Prospective employers should take the time to research and see what a candidate’s impression of their business will be. Facebook, LinkedIn and Glassdoor need to be reviewed and maintained to ensure that an employer is giving the best possible impression.

(Online reputations are also a two-way street in the recruiting world, so candidates should also be cautious about what impressions they might be giving through their online profiles. Social media accounts should be private, and what is open to the public should be something you would want your future boss to know about you.)

Recruiting is the initial impression a candidate may have with an organization. Be respectful of their time, be decisive and communicate to make the hiring process easy for both sides. This will make new employees happy with their decision to join your organization.

Kristin Lockhart is the director of recruiting services for Adams Keegan.

This article originally appeared in Memphis Business Journal.