In her War College presentation, McKee offered additional ideas for recruiting and retaining employees.
- Internships. “Try before you buy,” she says. If an intern doesn’t like the lab, so much the better. “You don’t want to hire that person.”
- Consider candidates from outside the United States. “You can’t ignore it as an opportunity,” says McKee, who says she’s seen an uptick in requests for placement from foreign job-seekers.
Emphasize science and salary (a range if not an actual figure) in your want ads, even if doing so means pulling the task of writing ads from your HR department. Remember, you’re trying to draw candidates based on their interests as well as your own. “You’re selling an opportunity. So sell it.” Look at all the ads you’ve run for jobs in your lab, and ask yourself if you’d be excited about it. “If you’re not excited, neither is your candidate.”
- Add a “careers” page to your lab’s Web site. (And build a Web site for your lab if you don’t have one.) Keep job openings listed on the site, even if they’re not currently open, as a way of keeping the traffic coming. When you need to fill the position, you’ve got a pool of people who’ve already applied.
- Today’s candidates, already comfortable with social media searches, are also comfortable with an automated response acknowledging receipt of a resume. You can use the response as an opportunity to let them know about your other social networking sites. “Start the conversation with them. HR may not like it, but HR’s not the one on the line when you can’t fill your position,” McKee says.
- Keep in touch with a medical technology school. Go there. Sponsor a study session. Host a pipetting contest. Offer internships and visits. Contact the school’s advisers regularly. And invite students and advisers to your blog, Facebook fan page, LinkedIn group, and newsletter.
- Set up a mentor program in your lab. It’s a way to guide employees and to create more opportunities for those who want more responsibility.