Knowing Your Business Helps You Recruit Better

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Nov 5, 2019

I just spent a day in training. It didn’t have anything to do with recruiting. It actually was product and process training for a new sales guy I recruited. You might ask why I would spend nine of my valuable recruiting hours learning about products and processes for salespeople.

The reason is that I recruit salespeople for the company I work for. The parent company has four business units, and I am in charge of recruiting sales talent across the enterprise. The training I attended was for the business unit I understand the least. The better I get at learning the different businesses, the better I get attracting and recruiting top sales talent for my organization. Knowing your business always helps you recruit better.

How Well Do You Know Your Business?

Take a look at your knowledge level of the company you work for. I’m not talking about a description of the culture or the company motto. Those are important too. What I am referring to is what your company actually does. What products or services does it sell? How do those benefit clients? What is the target audience? Does the value proposition resonate?

These types of questions are important to get answers to in order to help you understand your business. If you want to get really good at knowing how your company works, take a long look at the financials of a sale. Getting to know how your company makes money will really open your eyes.

Reasons Knowing Your Business Help You Recruit More Effectively

It’s one thing to know that you work for a wellness company. It’s quite another to know that your company helps people with diabetes live more productive lives, and how. When you really understand what your company does, you understand how it differentiates itself in the business landscape.

I worked for a large insurance broker for 10 years. There are lots of insurance brokers out there.  Learning about the company’s place in the insurance world and how it differentiates itself helped me in the type of talent I sought to recruit. The broker was privately held, so I sought out people who wanted to work in a private company, not a publicly traded one. The company was decentralized, so I purposely didn’t reach out to people who had been in huge corporate environments for years. They simply wouldn’t like it and would have a hard time succeeding.  The salespeople it hired were paid in a unique way for the industry. I made sure I understood that from top to bottom in order to be able to fully articulate it to potential candidates. It resonated with some of them; many it did not. That helps me target the right talent for the company.

Knowing what your company does helps you connect it to the various job responsibilities when you speak to candidates. You’ll be able to paint a picture of how their role supports and fits into the business your company does. When you get really good, you’ll be able to tell candidates how what they do will impact the company’s business. This is huge when engaging potential candidates.

How to Understand Your Business Better

A few suggestions:

Show an interest

I am amazed at how many people who work for a company that have little to no idea of what a company does. We can all tend to get tunnel vision. Think of the accounts payable person who is exceptional at paying bills for the company. Many times when you ask that person what the company does, you wind up getting a blank stare.

Make time

We are all busy. You have 15 open requisitions and hiring managers breathing down your neck.  But it will pay off in a big way if you make the time to learn it. We all get so busy focusing on what is right in front of us that we forget to make the time to learn new things that will make us better and smarter at what we do. Start making some time.

Attend company updates

The company I am with recently had a town hall sort of meeting. The CEO spoke as did the heads of the businesses and several other departments. It was a wonderful update on current wins and challenges for the company. I loved seeing the number of people that attended. In another company I worked for, the COO had meetings every quarter to provide a status update on current business. I was quite literally the only person in the HR department who attended. I couldn’t believe that no one else had a higher interest level in the company they worked for.

Go to trainings

I’m not suggesting you get trained in every aspect of your company. But if you support the IT department, go to an IT training. If accounting is your main customer, sit in when someone new gets trained. Recruit for call-center people? Attend a new hire onboarding when a new group gets trained. You’ll reap huge rewards.

Go to lunch

This is a no brainer. Everybody goes to lunch at least sometimes. Invite one of your hiring managers to lunch. It will impress the heck out of them. Take them to lunch so you can understand their business better. Tell them about it beforehand. They will be prepared to fill you in. Interacting with your hiring managers in a more relaxing environment will help you build a stronger relationship with them.

Take a trip

If your company has multiple locations that do different things, consider taking a trip there.  When I began to recruit salespeople at the insurance broker, it was at a different location in another city than where I worked. I contacted the COO at that office and asked if I could visit for a few days in order to get to know the business better  He paid for the hotel and set up a bunch of meetings. Taking that trip to understand their business and make the face-to-face connections helped me out immensely in finding sales talent for that office.

The better you know your business the better you will be at finding talent for it. Understand your company’s culture and mission statement. But knowing your company’s business will take your recruiting to a whole new level. Gaining a deeper understanding of the products and services they offer and how it benefits their clients will pay big dividends for you and the company. Most importantly you’ll be able to share with candidates how their role fits into the company’s business. That is a huge addition to your recruiting toolbox.

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