The Forgotten Talent Acquisition Tool — The Internal Candidate

Finding the right talent has never been more difficult, in my memory. It seems companies are clamoring for rock stars and unicorns and doing whatever they can to find and attract them. Salaries are on the rise, but so is turnover. With every valued employee that leaves for a new opportunity, the workload grows for depleted departments and internal recruiting teams. It’s a cycle that’s accelerated by making poor leadership hires or encouraging a candidate exclusion approach where only the most perfect choice will do.

I work with a company that is blessed with remarkable tenure numbers, which means most of the hires my team makes are for new positions within the organization. We’ve been able to build and maintain a culture that encourages employees to stay with the company because we’ve embraced the seemingly forgotten tool of talent acquisition — the internal candidate.

I joined Simpson Strong-Tie as an HR Business Partner in Stockton, CA on Oct 1, 2013. I was looking for a new position because I moved from San Jose to the Central Valley to be closer to family. When I found the job posting for Simpson Strong-Tie, I seemed to fit the description but didn’t apply right away because I didn’t know anything about the company. While researching, I found Barc’s story of how he founded the company on his values and philanthropy. I was immediately drawn to his entrepreneurial spirit, and how he demonstrated his commitment to employees and the community. I applied.

I supported the employees and leaders in Stockton for three-and-a-half years, trying as best I could to help them through changes the organization was experiencing. During that time, I had the opportunity to lead many recruiting efforts. As a result of what we accomplished in Stockton, I was subsequently given a chance to take on a new role the organization didn’t have before: Talent Acquisition Manager.

Simpson Strong-Tie is a 60-plus-year-old company that embraces the idea that leaders will arise from within when talent is lifted and supported. The powers that be could have decided that they needed to hire an external candidate more aligned with the Talent Acquisition Manager title, but they looked at my history of service to our employees and knew I could figure out the rest. If part of the job is protecting and growing our unique culture, then there is no better choice than to promote someone who knows what that culture is. Well, it turns out that fact applies to every position within our company.

We have a vast number of positions in our company that span from maintenance to manufacturing, sales to engineering, and marketing to software programming. Every time we receive a new opening to fill, we look to internal candidates of the company first. Not only does that protect our culture, but it makes it even stronger by reinforcing our value that every person in the company is valuable. If someone working in one of our warehouses has the same value as the CEO, why shouldn’t they be considered for a role in inside sales? As a result of this approach, most of the positions we need to fill are entry-level roles where we’re known for taking chances with folks that may not have the exact experience the description lists. I hire for a willingness to work hard, a strong sense of team and a desire to learn and grow. When we add our numerous training opportunities to the mix, we get some of the greatest leaders cultivated from within and a culture that supports career growth right here at Simpson Strong-Tie.

I’ve been in my current role for two years and I’m amazed at the personal and professional growth Simpson Strong-Tie has supported me through. I had a second child while in transition from one role to the next, have been able to provide for my family (husband, two young children, dog and cat) throughout my almost six years here and bought a home in a community my family can thrive in — all while doing what I love: working on meaningful, large-scale initiatives which improve the organization and serve its most valuable assets, its employees.

We’ve created a series of videos about the makers of Simpson Strong-Tie. Take a look at Eric, another successful internal candidate who is a perfect example of why we do what we do.

Juanita Rozak is Talent Acquisition Manager at Simpson Strong-Tie. She wrote this article for her LinkedIn page. She’d love to hear your thoughts on talent acquisition in the construction manufacturing industry. If you’re considering a future career change consider joining the Simpson Strong-Tie Talent Network.