Note: This is the second in a series on decreasing turnover and increasing profits. In the first article Terry identified the eight major factors that contribute to staff turnover and he looked at whom to hire. In this article he discusses how to attract the right individuals (winners not whiners) to your firm.
A company is known by the people it keeps.
For most firms in our industry, whether temp, perm or search, the managers attempt to hire individuals who are intelligent, well educated, possessing solid business experience, can think on their feet, present themselves in a positive, professional manner, possess better than average interpersonal skills and are well motivated to do the job. Almost daily, these managers meet individuals who appear to possess these traits. However, most managers we have surveyed described a feeling of increased frustration at being unable to attract these good people to their firms. Over and over we hear comments like:
- “No one wants to work on straight commission anymore.”
- “The right people have too many good employment options available to them and, therefore, they will not give serious consideration to our business.”
- “We can’t match what they can be offered elsewhere.”
Nevertheless, there are firms in our industry (both large and small) that consistently attract and hire the “top talent” they require to grow their businesses.
In most instances, the individuals they hire have several employment options available to them, and yet they joined these firms without receiving a high salary or guaranteed compensation program. In almost every one of these cases, there were three key elements present in the hiring process that allowed the firm to attract and hire the people they needed.
- The believability of the hiring manager.
- The presentation of the employment opportunity.
- The firm’s strategic plan for the future.
People Go to Work For People
First and foremost, people go to work for people. We see this with our clients every day. The hiring manager’s ability to ignite an appropriate level of excitement in the candidate is a major key in making a placement, and it is a major key in attracting good people to our firms as well.
The manager’s image (hopefully one of success), interpersonal skills, personal enthusiasm for the business, and, as we discussed in the previous article, operating/management style will either attract or repulse the sought after individual.
Everyone wants to be associated with a winner. Do you come across as a confident, successful businessperson who knows where to go and how to get there? Or do you present the picture of a depressed, battle scarred, cynical veteran who no longer believes in the business or the opportunity it offers? Obviously, these are extremes. However, ask yourself the question:
Based on what I believe about people, this business and the opportunity it offers, and based on the manner in which I project that belief, would I go to work for me?
Sad to say, there are many managers in this business, who, if they were really honest with themselves would answer that question with a “no.” Nevertheless, they are attempting to hire good people and they wonder why they are frustrated in their efforts.
It does not have to be that way, but in order to change the outcome, they have to change their beliefs, and they have to recapture the vision, the enthusiasm, and the excitement. For some managers, that may be impossible. For others it may be difficult. For all managers, it is essential.
First and foremost, a good manager must develop the personal ability to attract good people.
Another important factor in attracting winners to your firm is the manner in which you present the employment opportunity. Once again, there are stark comparisons. A contrast of actual examples will illustrate the point. Incidentally, the first example is not an isolated case.
A candidate comes into an office for an interview. The staff person (or manager) who conducts the interview believes the candidate may be good in this business. The manager makes a presentation of the opportunity, highlighting the income potential and little else. The candidate is pushed for a quick decision on an opportunity he or she knows little about with an employment service they know nothing about.
One of the two results will follow. The candidate panics, leaves the office, never to be heard from again. Or, the ill-informed candidate accepts the offer and begins work with little or no commitment to the job. A high risk for turnover is built into this
A candidate comes into an office for an interview. The staff person (or manager) who conducts the interview believes the candidate may be good in this business. The manager approaches the candidate, indicates that he may have an opportunity that would be of interest.
The manager then asks a series of qualifying questions to determine the candidate’s initial interest. If interest is present, the manager makes a preliminary presentation on the opportunity, stressing the firm’s selectivity, comprehensive hiring process, the position’s career potential and the rewards of the job in terms of challenge, job satisfaction, and personal growth.
If the candidate is interested in learning more, the manager explains the multiple steps in the hiring process and sets up the first interview.
In the first example, everyone is forced into making a premature decision.
Remember: It’s not realistic to expect a new employee to give the position a level of commitment that is greater than the manager gave the hiring process.
In the second example, the manager and candidate go through a carefully constructed, mutual selection process (see “High Turnover Is NOT Just Part of the Business“). The emphasis is placed on the uniqueness of the opportunity in terms of what it offers in job satisfaction, challenge, career growth and personal reward. Additionally, the nature of the selection process itself underscores the need to ensure that both parties are making the right decision.
One of the consistent qualities present in most winners is their ability to make good decisions. In order to make good decisions, they need information.
Understanding this, successful managers ensure their hiring processes are designed to provide the candidates with the information they require to make good decisions. How the information is presented, to a large extent, determines how the opportunity will be perceived. How the opportunity is perceived may determine whether or not the manager can effectively attract the right person.
Your Strategic Vision
A third key element present in the hiring process of successful firms is a presentation of the company’s strategic plan for the future.
Remember: There’s no such thing as a good job with a bad company.
A company without a plan for the future is a company that is destined for trouble. Good candidates know this and refuse to become involved in such a venture. Therefore, you should consider sharing appropriate information about your strategic plan with them during the hiring process.
The areas of greatest interest to the astute candidate include operations, finance, training, marketing, resource allocation, technology and timetables. Nevertheless, your plan can still be as simple as maintaining a boutique operation servicing a specific market niche or as grandiose as becoming the dominant full-service employment firm in your market.
However, trying to hire good people without a strategic plan in place is tantamount to asking them to blindly place their trust in you. For the good candidate — the potential “winner” — the risk is too high. They will pursue alternative employment options.
Therefore, in order to attract the winners, you must be sold on what you are selling, i.e.; a career opportunity in one of the most exciting fields in business today. Additionally, you must be believable in your presentation of the employment opportunity, and you must demonstrate to the candidates, through your strategic plan, that your firm has a solid foundation and a bright future.
As always, if you have questions or comments about this article or wish to receive my input on any other topic related to this business, just let me know. Your calls and e-mails are most welcome.