It Is Harder To Find People When Unemployment Is High. Here’s Why.

Q. We have run ads on the job boards for two manager level positions and only received about 30 resumes. We expected to have more resumes than we could review in a reasonable time frame.  There has to be a good reason for such a low response rate. For years when we were hiring for these same positions we received over 150 resumes.

This is a common misunderstanding by companies. As a recruiter, companies just don’t believe it when I tell them finding top talent is much harder when unemployment is high and easier when unemployment is low. I can sum up why in one word, “fear.”

This happens because even with 12% unemployment in California, only a very small percentage of those people will actually be qualified for your position. Variables to consider include location, compensation, industry, the right skills, years of experience, cultural fit and so on. This means that there really isn’t that huge of a pool of candidates to choose from in the unemployed arena.

That then leaves those currently working. But stop and think about those working for a minute. They are thinking, “The devil I know is better than the one I don’t know.” Do you believe they want to take the risk of changing jobs, having something not work out and then face unemployment for 6 months? Not very likely. Chances are they know people that have been unemployed for a long time, so working candidates bunker down. Staying with a company where they may not be happy is a whole lot better than unemployment. As a result, most employed people are not looking or even interested in considering something.

Contrast this with times of very low unemployment. There is no fear. The candidate figures that if the new job doesn’t work out, no problem, I will find another in no time so they are willing to consider other opportunities.

Don’t underestimate “fear” in your analysis.

This is why it is imperative for companies that want to hire top talent in bad economic times to be proactive in hiring and not reactive. Most companies have the philosophy that when they need someone, that magically out of thin air the stars will align and top talent will beat a path to their doorstep. WRONG. Top talent and those passive candidates work on their, not your, time table. Most companies hiring today are hiring because the position is critical, not just needed. So it is imperative it be the right hire and they get it right the first time.  To do this you must change from reactive (looking only when you need someone) to proactive, always looking and building a queue of candidates, so when you need someone you already know where they are. Until you do this  you will continue to hire from a very limited pool of candidates.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

If you want to know if your hiring process is reactive or proactive you can download our free Hiring Methodology Assessment matrix. Take the assessment and then you will know the strengths and weaknesses of your process. CLICK HERE to download then click the LEARN MORE link at the top of the page.

If this was helpful please pass it along to others. I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

How To Lower Your Risk When Hiring Salespeople

Q. We hire sales reps to be out in the field. Some are not even in Southern California. Hiring successful salespeople seems to be the most difficult hiring we do. How can we ensure they aren't just selling us in the interview?

This is one of the most asked questions I receive from my clients. It all starts with expectations. I find that often the expectations when hiring sales people aren't very realistic. The company wants the salesperson to start booking sales right away, bring a book of business with them, have quotas none of their other sales people attained when hired or they expect the salesperson to start making cold calls on day one. All of these are good things, but for many companies not realistic. I would start with a reality check on your expectations for the first year. Ask yourself, “How many new salespeople have met these sales goals?” If the answer is none, then you might have to realign your expectations.

There are a couple of things I like to do when hiring salespeople. I like to find out what they have done to become better at selling. So I like to know what continuing education they have received in sales training, what books on selling they have read recently, and have they or do they use formal training to become better at their job. Most salespeople have never received much formal sales training, never read a book on selling, or how to get to the decision maker. So what do they do to become better salespeople? I think salespeople should have continuing education similar to most professions.

If making sales presentations is important for your salespeople ask them to come in and make a sales presentation. They will probably tell you in the interview that they make a lot of sales presentations. Great, ask them to do the presentation for you. Then you can evaluate if it is at the standards you expect for your company's sales force.

Finally, I have a client that actually pays the person he is seriously considering to take a day off and they spend the day in the car making sales calls together. He gets to see and learn a lot about the potential hire. This is really putting the candidate in the job before hiring them.

Learn exactly how to define expectations for salespeople by joining the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Is your hiring process designed to attract top salespeople? If you answered, “No” then download our free Hiring Methodology Assessment Matrix to discover how you change from “No” to “Yes.”  CLICK HERE to download, then click the LEARN MORE link at the top.

If this was helpful, please pass it along to others. I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

How You Can Expand The Pool To Find Qualified Candidates

Q. How can we improve our advertising so it expands the pool of candidates we attract?

Most company's job advertisements actually turn off many candidates which results in a very small pool of candidates to choose from.

If you want to expand the pool of candidates your ads attract, you probably need to change your advertisements so they get to the candidate's motivations. Advertising is supposed to be targeted to the customer or person you want to get excited about your product or service. Job ads rarely do this. Most ads do what we refer to as “drill sergeant” advertising. Too often the ads are a list of demands the company requires. We want X years of experience, X education, X skills and experience, etc, and if you don't have these you shouldn't reply. This is not targeted to the person you want to attract and certainly not focused on what will motivate someone, other than those actively seeking a new job, to reply. That is why most companies are limited to those candidates available, rather than those open to exploring something new that gets them excited. Few ads get to the motivation of the candidate.

If you want to expand the pool of candidates you should begin to advertise with the candidate in mind. Focus on what will motivate those candidates not actively seeking a position, but open to something new if they are motivated. This usually involves three things, the opportunity to learn, make in impact on the company, and grow. I recommend focusing your advertisements on these three things.

This is what the great advertisers know how to do. Think about Nike, Apple and McDonald's and how their ads are all about the motivations of the person. They are not about them.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE for your FREE eBook.

Download this free assessment of your company's hiring process to see if your company will attract top talent.

I welcome  your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Solving The NUMBER One Hiring Problem Can Be Done

The number one hiring problem is untrained people. Most people have never had any formal training on hiring. This is especially true in mid to small companies. Even many large organizations don't train managers on this topic. Some companies may provide interviewing training, but that is only one step in an effective hiring methodology. There is a lot more to hiring than just interviewing. For example sourcing top talent, you can have great interviewers, but if people aren't trained how to bring top talent to your table, then all interviewing will do is validate they aren't qualified. Your hiring process is still ineffective. That is just one example.

Many companies treat hiring different than any other process in the company. If most processes in a company were as poor as the hiring process, training would take center stage. Yet for some reason poor hiring is often accepted as the norm, when it doesn't have to be with proper training.

Most people learn to hire from the person that interviewed them. And the people that hired them learned how to hire from the people that hired them and so it goes back to Moses. We refer to this as the “tribal hiring process.” This is not a training program. Recently I asked about a hundred CEO's and key executives how many have actually sat in on interviews for the sole purpose of assessing/auditing the ability of their managers or peers to conduct a thorough in-depth probing interview? Less than 10% had actually done this. So most CEO's and key executives don't even know if the people they are relying on to hire are competent. Only in hiring would a manager not know if someone is competent or not.

To dramatically improve your hiring process involves two steps; first there are 5 key steps to every hiring process. So develop an effective hiring process that will work for your company. It must be able to put candidates in the job BEFORE you hire them. Second train your people to effectively implement the process. This should include an annual refresher or some sort of continuing education on the hiring process. Think what the ROI will be to your company if you only hired the best and hired them the first time. A small investment in training your people can accomplish this.

Making a bad hire can be costly, but rarely dramatically changes a company. Making a great hire can not only transform your company, but help ensure you reach the goals you desire for your company.

Join the other 10,000 CEO's, key executives, and HR professionals who have downloaded a FREE copy of our best selling book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired.” Just CLICK HERE for your FREE ebook.

Download our free hiring process assessment tool. It will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your hiring process. Then fix the weaknesses so you can start hiring top talent.

I welcome your thoughts and comments

Brad Remillard

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Why Skills And Experience Are Irrelevant When Hiring

One reason hiring fails is because people focus on the person's skills and experience, and then if everyone likes the person, they are the right person and will be successful. This is not true.  I have asked thousands of CEOs and key executives if they have ever hired someone with an excellent resume, that had all the right skills and experience, that the interviewing team really (I mean really) liked and once that person came on board the person fell flat on their face within 6 months. Usually about 99% reply, “Yes.” How could this happen if skills and experience are so relevant? The fact is, just because a person has all the right skills and experience and everyone likes them, that doesn't mean that they will be successful. These things are important but having the right skills and experience isn't what is relevant when making a good hire. What is relevant when making a good hire is whether or not the person can apply these skills and experience in your organization. Can they apply them to achieve the results you need? Can they apply them effectively in your culture? If they can't, they are not the right candidate for your organization.

Skills and experience are simply tools every candidate brings to the job. The ability to use them effectively is what matters. I know many people that have golf clubs in their car and have been playing golf for 20 years, can swing the club over 100 miles per hour, and have taken so many lessons that if an MBA in golf existed they would have one. Even with all of these skills and experience they still aren't on the PGA tour. Why? Because having skills and experience is different from applying them. When hiring, it is important that the person you choose can apply these effectively in your organization and your culture.

One problem is that when we define things around skills and experience the interviewing process often becomes focused on these rather than the real job. For example, if you were hiring a CFO, most job descriptions would define the ideal person as a CPA, 10+ years experience, 5 years industry experience, knowledge of GAAP, financial reporting, cash management experience, good leadership skills, etc. All of these are important, but not what you really want to hire. What you really might want is a CFO that can improve cash flow by 10%, implement a cash management system, reduce overhead costs by x% within x number of months and have accurate financial statements within three days of the close. This is the real job and requires the person to  have the right skills and experience or they could not achieve these goals. When you are ready to make your next hire, instead of focusing on the person's background, focus on how they would apply those skills and experience to achieve the results you are seeking. Ask yourself this, “If you hired someone with all the skills and experience listed above, what are the odds they could achieve the results listed?”

Just because a person has the skills and experience you seek doesn't mean they can deliver the results you need.  But if they can deliver the results you seek that means they have the skills and experience you need. I don't know if that is 10 years, 8 years, or 15 years, and it doesn't matter, they have enough to deliver the results.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives, and HR professionals who have downloaded a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired.” Just CLICK HERE for your FREE eBook.

Is your hiring methodology effective? Download this free assessment scorecard that will highlight the strengths and weaknesses in your hiring system. CLICK HERE to download.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard