Finding talent, one person at a time
If you are looking for the silver bullet or the Holy Grail to resolve your recruitment needs, although I would like to say “look no further”, I can’t but I can share an old fashioned process I use with limited success, the Pen Pal. We all know the Pen Pal process was started by a teacher (in 1937) to stimulate learning and curiosity, as well as create opportunities to understand other cultures. Today the Pen Pal is no different, well it is a little – goodness I don’t send letters, I send emails, texts and befriend people on Facebook, etc. Please note that I absolutely refuse to Tweet them, though, that is a lot of work.
I personally began to use this technique informally years ago in Hawaii, but much more effectively upon moving to the Cayman Islands, as a means to create a relationship with some of Cayman’s top young talent as they mature. Through our email exchanges we each learn more about the others interests and desires and if / how they could fit into my organization.
How do you meet this talented group of potentials? I meet people at events, family homes, through applications or they are shared with me from others within the community. Many times I begin the Pen Pal process without ever meeting these talented young Caymanians in person; yep it is all through email, Facebook and online chats.
The first time I ‘formally’ asked an applicant if they would be open to a Pen Pal relationship was in 2012 and she was successfully hired into management less than 8 months later. But my first real Pen Pal in Grand Cayman was a high school student who was unsure of which way to go with her educational pursuit and after a successful internship; we established a casual routine whereby I would email her to ‘catch up’. Once I learned she was on Facebook, I sent a friend request (yes she accepted) and could periodically see how she was doing at school and her interests. I also connected, via Facebook, with her parents, you may see this as strange but Cayman is a very small community and this too helped. Through events and meetings I would continue to ask about her and keep up with her pursuits. I am so very excited that after several years this Pen Pal recently joined the hotel.
I continue the practice and have expanded it to all generations but I still refuse to Tweet.
My world may seem smaller than most, my world today is Grand Cayman. Attracting top talent within the local population and attracting them to my organization is no different than in your world. My applicant pool is much smaller but the number of choices is overwhelming to people, and those soliciting the top Caymanian talent maybe more savvy or have more bells and whistles, but I am finding that being a Pen Pal is slowly working, one person at a time. Feel free to try it yourself; if it has been around for over 75 years there is something to it and worth the effort.