New year will bring job hunters, so cast your nets wisely

Are you sensing that you need more help in your business, but you don’t know how to get it? No human resources department to guide you? Too busy to do much of it yourself?

Job creation might be feasible almost anytime, says Gordon Curtis of Curtis Consulting in Marblehead, Mass. He says 50 percent of the opportunities in emerging growth and midcap companies aren’t posted.

“These are nascent or ill-defined needs and objectives,” he said.

January and February are the months with increased hiring because of new budgets, which means that the competition to find good people may be greater than other times of the year. However, people are optimistic in the New Year, often willing to change. For that reason, it makes sense to proceed if you have immediate needs.

If your business has no HR function, you might be tempted to post a job notice online and wait for résumés and cover letters to stream in.

You’ll have set yourself up for a deluge of résumés and cover letters, many from people who aren’t even qualified. Don’t be afraid to post. Include other vehicles, too.

One employer, Global Rescue LLC in Boston, held a résumé and cover letter for about 18 months before digging it out and calling Omaha, Neb., native Scott Hume. The company owner said he had a need involving) sales, account management and enterprise client relationships, Hume understood.

“I thought my résumé helped them formulate what they were really looking for,” he says.

Hume is now associate director, security and rescue operations.

“Companies wrap a position around the right person, who has the right values and attitude and understands the company,” Curtis says. “Some of the best fits don’t come from retrofitting a person into a pre-existing square hole, because many people have diverse backgrounds that don’t make them a square peg.”

The best person might already have approached you or an employee about a job.

Why didn’t you bite before? Maybe you didn’t perceive the value that person could bring, because he didn’t make it easy for you or you felt he needed more experience to thrive in your business.

Many job hunters don’t explain on paper or in interviews exactly how their experience relates to the business considering them. They fail to do the research or you keep most information private. That means you’re challenged to interpret what the person writes and apply it to your objectives.

If you don’t have a file of good prospects, Curtis suggests you tap your business’s ecosystem — customers, employees, former or current partners, competitors, vendors, suppliers, channel partners.

Professional or trade associations, chambers of commerce and advisers, including accountant, can also offer leads to candidates.

This method might seem to be open-ended and, therefore, not uncertain. That’s why you need to post also. The danger of an online search alone for an employee is that you’ll find a person who’s just job-hunting “out there.” Instead, do everything you can. You never know where or when the person you need to wrap your job around will appear.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp of WorkWise welcomes questions at

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