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SIgn from a job fair sponsored by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce in Ashburn, Virginia, July 12, 2011.
SIgn from a job fair sponsored by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce in Ashburn, Virginia, July 12, 2011.

Grow: Mia Pearson

Top-gun talent make ideal recruiters Add to ...

Business is heating up, and you’re in the enviable position of being able to bring in new talent to manage the workload.

To build the credibility of your small business, hiring the right people is critical to success. Recruiting for a specialized industry, however, can be a challenge. Where do you find the talent? Will your potential hire be a good cultural fit? How do you convince people to join your team when your company is not well known?

Imaginet, an award-winning, Winnipeg-based software application firm, is shifting a significant portion of its hiring out of the human resources area and into the hands of employees.

“Our employees are seen as thought leaders in their field – we call them ‘top-gun talent,’” says Rod Giesbrecht, CEO and co-founder of Imaginet. “They are passionate about our business, respected and connected within our industry, which makes them ideal recruiters for Imaginet. They are active within industry social-media forums and our best resources when it comes to finding new recruiting talent leads.”

Imaginet uses social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as a way to find and research potential new hires. Social media provides a public window into the personalities of job applicants. Are their tweets or Facebook comments negative or positive? Are they open to new ideas or are they arguing with those they're connected with? Do they have positive references on LinkedIn?

Imaginet has succeeded in using this approach to attract talent in technology circles. The expertise of its team is what the company has become known for in the industry. These employees are also actively and organically promoting Imaginet through their influential social-media networks.

“We’ve allowed our recent hires, who are very social-media savvy, to promote the expertise of Imaginet,” Mr. Giesbrecht says. “Not through traditional marketing, but by allowing the experts to have an authentic voice in the social-media realm.”

As a small-business owner, it’s important to build a strong community of high-performing employees who share your passion for the business and its goals. Allow your team to actively contribute to the hiring process, exploring qualified individuals in relevant, online communities. Use social media as a research tool when recruiting, gaining insight as to whether the candidate will be a good cultural fit within your organization.

“We continue to attract new recruits at the top of their game, and as a result, Imaginet enjoyed 250-per-cent growth over the past year,” Mr. Giesbrecht says. “We’re just getting started, but we know this approach is working. We will continue to embrace our employees and social media as valuable recruiting tools.”

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mia Pearson is the co-founder of North Strategic . She has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing communications agencies, and her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle.

Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT

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Follow on Twitter: @miapearson

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