3 Guarantees To Recruiter-Proof Your Best Talent

As recruiters for more than 30 years, my partner Barry Deutsch and I have intuitively known why every now and then a potential candidate we try to recruit says to us, “Thanks for the call, but I really like my position.”  Until last year though, we have never actually validated those reasons. Last year I decided to start keeping a list of the reasons these candidates indicate they are so happy. Usually, we just say, “OK” and make another call. Last year I probed a little further. I started asking , “Why” or “What makes your position so enjoyable that you won't consider something else?”

You will have to read to bottom of the article to find out  the most interesting and yet obvious aspect of the informal survey.

First some background. Since most of our executive search practice tends to be at relatively senior levels, most of the comments are not from entry level or manager level people. Although having recruited at these levels for many years, I believe the same reasons apply at all levels, including labor, hourly and administration, or non-exempt as well as exempt employees.

I have prioritized these as best I can, however, I doubt that there is that much difference between the rankings, with the first one as the exception. I also firmly believe that the happiest, and therefore the candidates virtually impossible to recruit away, have all three of these in their position.

1) A boss they can respect is far and away the biggest reason for a potential candidate turning down our recruitment efforts. They never use the word respect, that is our word. Respecting their boss is not the same as liking their boss. I'm not suggesting they don't like their boss, just that you shouldn't interchange the two. Although the majority do have some sort of personal relationship with their boss, many tell us their boss is hard to work with, demanding, too direct or blunt, not a people person, and other words similar to these. So what is respect? It means that their boss takes an interest in them and their career. It is more than just approving of their work. Their boss ensures that they are continually challenged (see Success Factors below), they often referred to their boss as a mentor,  they are growing and becoming better, their job doesn't fit easily into a predetermined job description, they know each other on a personal level, and their boss actually seems to care about them and their career succeeding to put it simply. They are not taken for granted. Their position isn't one of we are doing you a favor letting you work here. Rather both receive value from the relationship.

Their fear in leaving is that they know that few bosses are this way and they don't want to risk leaving a good to great boss. They are not just there to do a job, they are a person that wants to feel good about their job when they get up everyday to go to work and their boss contributes to this.

Do the people you manage feel this way about you or the managers in your company?

2) The candidates are learning and growing. They see positive change in themselves and their careers as they look back on each year. This is why Success Factors are so important. This is the tool by which they measure their growth. A Success Factor includes time based  measurable goals, often stretch goals for the person to achieve. Top talent and your best people like challenges and want to be stretched. It gives them a sense of fulfillment when they achieve the goals coupled with a sense of purpose. Achieving the Success Factors is often the excitement that gets them up each morning and coming to work. It also demonstrates their boss's interest in them. Success Factors send a clear signal that as their boss your role is to help them improve and find purpose in their job. This isn't just a job where you come to work to do the same routine duties and tasks everyday and then go home. Average to below average talent want this. Top talent will grow and become something better by working for this boss.

Do your people have measurable Success Factors? Every position in an organization from the CEO to the janitor should have measurable Success Factors.

3) They are making an impact. This doesn't have to be a significant life changing impact. Any impact is better than just doing a job. We believe it is this impact that makes them really enjoy their job. Everything else contributes to the enjoyment of their job, but feeling like one is positively impacting the business makes an employee feel like they are part of the team. It gives them purpose in the job. They are now directly linked to the company's success and  its profits. They take great  pride in this. They know that regardless of how small a role they played, they did play a role. When the CEO stands up and thanks the employees for the successful year, they feel the CEO is personally thanking them.

Are your people impacting your organization? Do they feel a sense of purpose that their job is important and contributes to the success of the organization?

Here is the most interesting and yet obvious thing that came out of this informal survey. We validated why certain employees enjoy their job and even a recruiter can't pull them out. Inadvertently, we also validated that these same reasons apply as to why someone  wants to leave an organization. When these things aren't present, the employee is likely to start looking for something better. A position that includes all three rarely has turnover.

You can take an easy assessment of your hiring process with our free Hiring Methodology 8-Point Scorecard. Find the strengths and weaknesses of your hiring process. CLICK HERE to download.

If you struggle with finding people, you can download the chapter from our best-selling book “You're NOT The Person I Hired” on sourcing top talent. It is free and one of our most downloaded items. Simply CLICK HERE to get your free chapter.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. If you liked this article please pass it along to others and post it on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Brad Remillard

Who Is Responsible For Hiring Top Talent In Your Company?

Was your answer HR or the hiring manager?

I typically ask this question in our hiring workshops, seminars and Vistage presentations to CEOs and key executives. The answers are generally either HR or the hiring manager. Both of which I disagree with.

I believe hiring top talent in any organization falls squarely on the CEO's desk. The CEO is responsible for all activity that takes place in the company. Just ask those CEOs in jail who tried to claim ignorance, or the  “I just didn’t know it was happening” defense. Too bad for them as they should have known. That isn’t to say that CEOs can control every activity. They can’t. Every company has or has had a wild employee that says something stupid or does something stupid, however, the company is still often held accountable for the actions of this one employee.

Remember Management 101A, you can delegate authority but you can’t delegate responsibility. The buck still stops at the CEO’s desk.

This is why I’m rather surprised when CEOs answer this question HR or hiring manager. They may have the authority for the activity around hiring, but the CEO sets the tone, priorities, importance around hiring, and who will be hired. Like everything else in the company, when the CEO sets high standards of performance the employees tend to accept and even expect that level of performance. This includes hiring.

The CEO has the ability to determine the quality of people that are hired into the company. The CEO can define top talent for the company, departments, or positions. The CEO can make hiring top talent a priority in the company. The CEO sets the tone and importance for hiring in the company. It is the CEO that has the ability to get everyone focused on where hiring falls on the list of priorities. It is the CEO that has the megaphone to drive this point home. It is the CEO that has the ability to hold HR and hiring managers accountable for hiring top talent. It is the CEO that ultimately controls the training budget for hiring, enabling these employees to learn how to make great hires.

So what are some of the practical things a CEO can do to ensure hiring top talent?

  1. First and foremost, build a culture that includes hiring top talent. Do this by re-enforcing it in the values of the company, discussing it at staff meetings, promoting it in the company newsletter, and on a regular basis emphasize how important hiring is to the success of the company. Few companies do all of these on a consistent basis. Many do it once or twice a year, mainly as an after thought. Hiring top talent should never be an after thought.
  2. Train your people in hiring. Most employees, especially in small companies, have never had any training on hiring. They do their best to hire the best, but that doesn’t mean they are skilled at it. In fact, many are intimidated by the hiring process and just as many actually find the hiring process as painful as buying a new car.
  3. Encourage your people to always be looking for top talent. Top talent isn’t always available when you need them. The CEO should encourage all employees to be on the look out for future talent, especially when there isn’t a need.
  4. Incorporate referring and hiring top talent into the performance management system. Set goals for referrals and reward those managers that maintain a queue of potential employees that can be hired.
  5. Build into your hiring manager's schedule time to meet with potential employees, participation in trade or professional associations, and other community activities. This should be less than 10% of their time.
  6. Build a website that speaks to future employees, the way your current website speaks to customers. The first place candidates go to research a company is the company's website. Yet few websites really engage future talent. Most are not candidate friendly and less than 1% have any significant “WOW factor” for candidates coming to the company's site. Add employee testimonials, have the CEO do a 2 minute video talking about the company's vision, how the CEO values employees, promote your employee friendly culture, the importance of hiring only the very best and the CEO's personal commitment to all of the employees.

Hiring top talent doesn't have to be a time consuming effort. It is in most companies because they are only consumed with it when they need to hire someone. It does have to be a consistent effort though that consumes a small percentage of the hiring manager's time each month.

If the CEO set raises the bar on hiring top talent, the employees will follow and most will jump over the bar.

You can determine if your company's hiring process is effective at hiring top talent by taking our Hiring Methodology Assessment. It is FREE to download. CLICK HERE.

Want to make your company a candidate magnet with a great website? Read this short eight hundred word article with some great tips to building a  candidate friendly website. CLICK HERE.

Finally, download this culture assessment to determine whether or not your culture will attract top talent. CLICK HERE

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

 

Too Much of a Good Thing?

How do we “balance” work hours, career advancement, family and relationship needs? This seems to be a perennial topic of discussion. We want it all. Despite our technology, things don't seem to be getting any better on the time management front. Now, instead of one partner trying to balance demanding activities, we have both partners in a family struggling with time management.

And here's the confession: I've never really had a problem with balancing work and life demands. I believe this attitude, one of not feeling out of balance, is due to the fact that I've been lucky enough to always enjoy my work. As a result of loving my work, I can count on just two hands the number of days I've wished I could stay home; and that's out of more than 32 years in the semiconductor industry at four different companies. Those “bad days” were either because I had to discipline one of my employees or because I had “messed up” and expected to be in trouble myself. In short, the only days I didn't want to go to work were the days when there were personnel issues.

I'm convinced that if we are doing the work we love, then there is no such thing as imbalance between work and lifestyle from our own point of view. Now that's not to say that we shouldn't be aware of and perhaps adjust the time spent between career work and time needed to attend to important personal relationships. There can be too much of a good thing. And that's also not to say we won't feel some pressure to prioritize a bit differently than we want to. What I am saying is that we won't feel the need to escape to some exotic retreat to regain our energy. Work is not a burden when you love what you are doing.

I don't want my comments to be misunderstood. I'm pretty sure my family would say that I spent too much time working and that I didn't get the priorities right much of the time. Also, I do believe in vacations, sharing parenting and home responsibilities – I'm sure I didn't get that time allotment totally right either. Still, I don't see the problem with not wanting to leave for vacation because work is exciting, interesting and challenging. Once on vacation though, it's time to wind down and be fully present for loved ones.

So in my mind, this “life-style” versus “work focus” balance thing is more of an issue of being fully present in the moment than forcing an arbitrary segmentation. It's about making sure we don't overdo a good thing. When at work, be fully present to work. When at home, be fully present to home and family. When at play, be fully present to play.

I'm still at it today. I have no intention to retire in the normal sense of that word. I hope to continue working until I can no longer physically and/or mentally do so. I love what I do and can't imagine not contributing to the business world in some meaningful way. For me retirement is doing what I want, when I want and with whom I want. I guess I'm retired! How about you? Will you retire to the rocking chair? The golf course? The tennis court? Or will you keep on working at what you love?

Finding life balance starts with hiring and retaining top talent. Download our FREE chapter on sourcing top talent from our best selling book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired.” CLICK HERE to download.

Is your culture a culture that top talent will thrive in? Download our FREE culture assessment tool to determine if all of your team would describe your culture the same. CLICK HERE to download.

About the author

Dave Kinnear is a sought after Business Advisor and Mentor. He works with highly successful executives through one-to-one mentoring and coaching meetings. Individuals who are presently running successful businesses and executives in transition work with Dave to ensure meeting corporate and/or career goals. Through his affiliation with Vistage International, Dave convenes and facilitates Advisory Boards comprising Business Owners, Company Presidents and Chief Executives dedicated to becoming better leaders who make better decisions and achieve better results.