Three Techniques for Acquiring Top Talent

Many operators find themselves in a bind when it comes to recruiting new employees. Overly-qualified, best-in-class candidates are not always the people walking in the front door and asking for applications. Fortunately, you can find a diamond in the rough by employing some of these common-sense — yet unconventional — techniques your competitors may be missing.

SEARCH unconventionally.

In a close-knit market, recruiting new employees solely from the local competitor may not provide a large enough prospect pool to find your next rock star. But every city has plenty medical offices, hospitals, schools and retail stores. Start by scouring these locations for people with the characteristics you desire.

In our business, I’ve had good success finding high-caliber candidates who were previously working as servers in surrounding restaurants. Many servers work part-time to supplement their primary income or they are in a transitional stage of life (exiting school, etc.) Servers, in particular, have a certain knack for being cordial while balancing a busy workload.

INTERVIEW outside of the lines.

Hopefully, your unconventional search tactics will produce lots of qualified candidates. But lots of candidates also mean lots of options. Consider using unconventional interviewing techniques to get past the fluff:

According to, Article 226475, Gwen Moran, 4/26/13:

Each year, Mankato, Minn.-based recruits more than 1,000 part-time staff for the holiday rush. Founder Tom Fallenstein says it’s important that the new hires fit in with the company’s quirky culture. About a year ago, the company began interviewing prospective candidates using a “rapid-fire challenge,” where four company representatives ask unusual questions in quick succession, such as: If you were a hot dog, would you eat yourself for food? What’s your favorite fish? If you were a color, what color would you be and why?

Fallenstein says the unexpected rapid-fire questions have been more effective in finding good candidates than more conversational interview techniques used in the past. “You can tell that you’re really getting to know them because they can’t rely on canned answers,” he says. “When they’re answering so quickly or in a game environment, [job candidates] really respond more honestly.”

COMPEL with clarity and conviction.

Just like you have many candidates to choose from, the candidates will also have options.

I’ve heard professional recruiters say that best-in-class candidates are always happily employed. So, how can you appeal to this class of employees? For many of us, simply offering more money may not be an option. The best hires in your field will share a mercenary characteristic. Play on those cords by presenting the size of the opportunity, responsibility and/or mission that belongs to this role.

Presenting this message with conviction is normally not the challenge. Doing so with credibility requires a more strategic focus. Use facts, stats and specifics to support your message. Savvy interviewees expect you to huff your own exhaust. Be sure to clearly distinguish why your company is positioned to excel and/or how the proper execution of this role directly influences organizational success.

Garrett Marshall is the Business Development Director for Fitness On Demand. He can be contacted at 952.567.2710 or at

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