Four Things Companies Do To Shoot Themselves In The Foot When Hiring – Part 2

I recently asked over one hundred CEOs and their key executives, “Is hiring top talent critical to the success of your organization?” Not surprising that everyone replied “Yes.” Not simply important, but critical. So then I asked,”If it is critical, then how many of you spend time each month focusing on hiring, excluding when you are actively looking to fill a position?” Not surprising, only three people raised their hand.

WOW, something that is critical to the success of the organization, gets virtually zero time unless there is a current need. Is that the way most critical issues are handled in your company? No strategic planning. No thought or action discussed or taken until the problem arises? Only once the problem arises is it dealt with it. Until then it is that famous management strategy, “Out of sight, out of mind?” or “We will cross that bridge when we get there.”

I believe this management style only happens with hiring. Most other critical issues are regularly discussed, on-going programs such as, cost reductions, product development, increasing sales or market share, customer service, improving operational efficiencies are all constantly discussed and often major components of the company's strategic plan. In fact, I have seen many strategic plans that all have great plans for growth. Yet few ever include a strategy for hiring the people needed to execute the plan as the company grows. Strategic hiring is rarely part of a strategic plan.

I believe companies that truly want to hire top talent and do it on a consistent basis must avoid these four major land mines when hiring:

1) Untrained Managers – Discussed in part 1.

2) Poorly Defined Job – Discussed in part 1.

3) Finding candidates – This is one of the biggest problems faced by companies. This happens as a result of number two. Most companies search for the least qualified to start with. Then they complain that all they are seeing is unqualified candidates.

The other issue causing this problem is that most companies start the hiring process too late. They wait until they absolutely need someone. Then they expect that when they are ready to hire someone, at that moment in time, top talent will also magically appear on the market, find them, and be so compelled after reading the minimum job description to update their resume, and respond. YEAH and a multimillion dollar customer will also magically call too.

Reactive hiring is a thing of the past. Hiring top talent requires proactive hiring. This means your hiring managers must be in the market engaging people all the time. They should be connecting with people on LinkedIn, involved in professional associations, and commit at least an hour or two a month to hiring. Few managers spend any time engaging potential candidates when they aren't actively hiring. In fact, many even discard resumes as they come in if they aren't hiring. Finding top talent doesn't take a lot of time each month, but it does take a consistent monthly effort of an hour or two.

4) Disrespecting the Candidates – Top talent, especially those candidates who are working and in no hurry to make a job change (referred to as passive candidates) will walk away from a manager or company if they aren't respected in the interviewing process.

Some common complaints that left candidates feeling disrespected include:

  • The hiring manager being late for the interview. Few managers would accept it if the candidate was late, so why should it be OK for the manager?
  • Lack of  preparation by the interviewer. Again, if the candidate came in unprepared would that be acceptable?
  • Taking calls during the interview.
  • Finally, telling the candidate that if they have any further questions to call them. Then ignoring the calls. If managers don't respect the candidate during the hiring process, it isn't going to get any better once they are hired.

The interview is a PR event. These candidates will make sure others know how they were treated. They may post it on a website or hear about a person they know is interviewing and ask them about their experience. Bad PR is never a good thing. This is an easy thing to fix. It only takes treating candidates the same way you would treat a customer.

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.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad

Jobless recovery – been there, done that.

There is a lot of talk about the “jobless recovery.” Well, I've been there, done that – back in the 70's. Seems like the glass half-empty versus the glass half-full syndrome to me. Don't get me wrong, if you're in transition or out on your own trying to “drum up business,” this is a very tough economy. Bear with me on this though; even if the real unemployment rate is close to 20% rather than the 9.8% number being bandied about, that means 80% of the people are still employed. And if 3 million people were let go last month, but the unemployment number stayed the same, then that means that 3 million people were hired. Okay, you get where I'm going with this.

If you're in transition and looking for your next great position in the corporate world, what are you to do to make yourself the next person hired? To begin with, if you're reading this post then you're off to a good start because you've found the best blog for researching what you need to do. Between Brad, Barry and their team, the information they post here about how to go about finding your next position will be invaluable. And since I am not an HR, recruiter or retained search person, I will leave all of that to them. However, I can give you a bit of perspective of the hiring manager.

I am very lucky to be able to work with a great set of business owners, company presidents, CEOs and senior executives in a wide variety of businesses. I can tell you what I am observing in the small business world. You can take that information, marry it to what you learn on this blog from the search/recruiting professionals and come up with a plan. Here is what I'm seeing.

Money is tight. Hiring at this point is going to be done at a very slow and deliberate pace. Part time employment or outsourcing work to 1099 independent consultants is what is happening now. Are you able to take advantage of that trend? Can you do some outstanding work as a part time employee or consultant that will make you the lead candidate when full time employment is justified?

My advice to business owners in this economy is to be ruthless in “husbanding your cash.” Do not waste money on bad hires or employee turnover. I advise them to make sure they do hire when the time is right, but to make sure they take their time, define their success factors and are deliberate in finding the right candidate. If you, as a candidate know that many employers are taking that point of view, what can you do to help them reach that goal while at the same time helping yourself? When you are presenting yourself to a prospective employer or on-line or to a search firm are you focused on yourself or on their challenges? Are you appearing confident and results oriented or self-interested and perhaps “desperate for employment”? Clawing our way back to profitability is going to be a very long process for all of us. Employers can't afford to make mistakes. You have to convince yourself and them that you are the right person, understand their challenges and can be successful in resolving those challenges.

On the employer side, have you ever assessed the full and true costs of a bad hire? Few companies take the time to conduct this assessment. I think if could be they are afraid of the results. If you can handle it download our Cost Of A Bad Hire Worksheet. CLICK HERE and be sitting down when you complete the worksheet. A respirator near you is recommended.

LinkedIN is a powerful tool for hiring top talent. Join our Hire and Retain Top Talent Group. There is a wealth of articles and discussions for you there. CLICK HERE to join.

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.

Can’t Find People? They Are Hiding In Plain Sight – 3 Examples

Finding people is a consistent problem we encounter just about every time we ask CEOs or key executives what their biggest issue is when it comes to hiring. If it isn't in the top three it is always in the top five.

Yet when you ask them what their process is to find top talent most reply in the same way, “We run ads” or “We post it internally.” That is the way 80% of all companies go about finding people.

Below are three real life examples of alternative ways of finding people.

1) In 2007, I was having lunch with a partner from a local CPA firm. During lunch he commented that they had been struggling for six months to find an audit manager. In fact, he commented that they would pay a $10,000 bounty for an employee referral. I didn't add a zero. So I asked, “How many people have you hired?”  The reply, “None.” They were doing the usual, running ads and asking current employees. That was their process for finding people.

So as the lunch continued, he mentioned to me that they had just brought on a new client and that he had just had lunch with the new CFO at this same restaurant. I immediately asked the partner, “Did you ask the CFO who was the best audit manager at his current company?” or “Who were some of the best audit managers he had worked with in the past?” He had never even thought of this. I suggested that he could contact all of his CFO clients and ask them. After all, it is in the client's best interest to have good audit managers.

This was such an obvious thing to me and yet he was willing to pay ten grand. For those of you thinking it takes too much time to find good people, I don't think asking these few questions would have extended the lunch that much.

2) Last year I was conducting one of our in-house workshops for a mid-sized technology company in New York. During the workshop, one of the key executives mentioned how difficult it is to hire technical people. I probed a little further and asked about the type of people they hire. She commented that they want people comfortable with technology. People who understand how networks work, people who diagnose a computer problem when a client calls with a problem, install software, and perform basic repairs that clients need right away if something goes wrong. They were willing to train on their specific systems and software. They just wanted someone that was moderately technical and comfortable with technology.

These people were “extremely” hard to find.

I asked if they ever go to Best Buy and engage the Geek Squad. Have they ever taken in a computer and found someone that provides great customer service and demonstrates that they understand technical issues?

She and her team had never thought about these people. I received an email two months after the workshop letting me know they had hired two people from Best Buy.

3) My best friend manages a store for one of the major retail chains. Every time we play golf, I have to listen to him complain about how hard it is to find people willing to work. He complains that his company works people hard and is demanding. The result is a lot of turnover.

So I asked him how often when he or his team is out shopping and they come across a great person in another retail chain do they engage the person, give them a business card and ask the person to call him, or let the person know that if they ever think about leaving to call him.

I mentioned that I go to a coffee shop most mornings when I'm in town for an hour of work. At this coffee shop, every person is probably in their late teens and early twenties. These people run the coffee shop. They open every morning at 6 AM so they have to get there by 5:30, they are friendly, they know customers by name, the coffee shop is clean and they are great employees. So I asked if he ever asked any of them about potentially coming to work a his store.

In both cases he replied no, and that he doesn't even encourage his team leaders to be aware of potential employees when they are out shopping.

Qualified people are all around us. As a recruiter, I always have my antenna up. Most CEOs and hiring managers just walk right by these people. Work with  your team and start noticing people hiding in plain sight.

Download our Hiring Process Self Assessment Scorecard and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your hiring system. CLICK HERE to get your assessment.

Get our most popular chapter “Sourcing Top Talent” from our best selling book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired” which is available for Free to download. CLICK HERE to get the chapter.

Consider joining our LinkedIn group,  Hire and Retain Top Talent. This group is dedicated to discussions and articles to help  you improve your hiring and retention. CLICK HERE to join the group.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Networking . . . Part (3)

If you've been following the posts on this blog, you will recognize the similarity between the comments I have made about the art of networking with the comments made on the sales process. The sales skill ladder has four rungs: Product Based Selling, Solution Based Selling, Consultative Selling, and finally Trust Based Selling. As I've mentioned with respect to sales, the first three rungs are salesperson oriented. The fourth rung is truly, genuinely, authentically, client focused. We have the clients best interest at heart. It's the same for networking!

The networking ladder might be: Card Based Networking, Group Based Networking, My Strengths Based Networking and finally Trusted Relationship Networking. As before, the first three are focused on you and the highest rung is truly focused on helping others and trusting that what goes around will come around – without having that in the forefront of your mind when networking.

On the first rung, the so-called networker believes that s/he has had a great evening when they leave the dinner event with 25 or more cards. What a great night! Well, I highly doubt it. What that person has is a bunch of cards, but no knowledge of the persons giving them the cards. How could they? 25 cards in a couple of hours? How much time did they spend asking questions to find out how they could help the other person?

On the second rung, the networker is targeting a special interest group which makes things a bit more comfortable to contact people because there is a “common interest.” You can build on that common interest to develop a relationship. My observation is, however, that few people practice the art of finding out what they can do for the other person. They are still focused on their own needs.

On the third rung, the networker is now aware that they need to be showing how they add value. So they tend to speak to others about what they can do to solve common problems companies might be experiencing. However, the conversation is still focused on them even though they are touting their added value. This conversation is fine with someone who asks you how they might find potential employment/client opportunities. But it is for AFTER they ask you to explain, not before.

The fourth rung of the networking ladder is where the accomplished networker spends most of her/his time. They ask lots of questions about the other person. They are genuinely interested in the other person. They are the ones who leave a huge dinner event with only three cards. They've spent a minimum of 20 minutes with each of those persons getting to know what they do, how the came to be where they are, what their interests are, and what is going on in their lives that might offer an opportunity for assistance of some kind. They make a promise to do something to help the other person and then they make sure they do it. They are careful to choose groups and events that will attract the people they want in their network. They are all about developing trust and serving others. Authentically, with no quid pro quo expected.

This is definitely not a new concept. I've observed that very few sales folks, even highly effective sales folks, understand Trust Based Selling. I've noticed that the most effective networkers DO understand Trust Based Selling and they carry it over to their networking activities. Those who fail at networking are also pretty poor sales people; they are inconsistent in their results and their customers are not at all loyal.

Here are some resources on these topics:
Never Eat Alone – by Keith Ferrazzi
Trusted Advisor – by David Maister
Trust Based Selling – by Charles Green
Other great resources might be Think and Grow Rich (mastermind concepts), How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Tiberias Success Factor.

What are you doing to network properly? Are you building long term relationships or collecting contacts?

Download our 8 Point Hiring Process Assessment Scorecard. Use this to ensure your hiring methodology is as effective as it can be for 2010.

Would all your employees describe your culture the same way? This a critical when networking and hiring. Our Cultural Assessment Worksheet will help you ensure you have a consistent understanding of your business culture.

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.

Networking . . . Part (2)

In a previous post, I got on my soapbox concerning networking etiquette and what I believe networking really is all about, and that is building trust and long term relationships. I mentioned that it is a long and difficult process. It is also highly rewarding. If you buy into my concept of networking, then you are also likely recognizing that you can never stop networking; even when gainfully employed.

This situation, continuous networking, is not at all unlike the dilemma I discovered when I founded my consultancy. While I'm delivering services, I'm not marketing. Inevitably, I'd wake up one day and realize I had “no place to go.” And then I'd start the long process of marketing again and hope that something turned up soon. The same is true if you're a “W2 employee” and you let your network lapse while you are focused on your job at the company you serve. At some point, you will realize it's time for you to “move on,” and you'll have to scramble to build your network.

So how do we address this situation? I have no silver bullet to offer. My sense is that the only thing to do is to make sure you keep a core group of maybe ten to twenty really close relationships alive and well no matter what you are doing. That way, it will take less time to reconstruct a meaningful network when the time comes. Find ways to stay in touch and help your key network relationships. Send useful articles, keep up to date on what they are doing, meet for coffee or a quick, early breakfast. Stay focused on them.

There may be some help here in using the now “hot” technology of social networking software. It's amazing how well LinkedIn works to help me stay in touch with colleagues. I'm now exploring using this blog, Facebook, and Twitter as a way of staying in touch and providing value. I'm not sure what will finally shake out as being the most effective, but I'm giving it the good old “college try.” You might want to explore using technology to help you keep in touch with your network as well. Remember though, it's about providing value, not self-serving.

Data I've seen in multiple places indicates that “C-Suite” positions last an average of 24 to 36 months. “C-Suite” executives do not find their next assignment on Monster or other media. They find it through their network. So you'll need your network every 2 or 3 years and it takes a year, minimum, to build a solid network of colleagues. It's not what you know, it's not even who you know. It's really who knows you. And as we've discussed, that means you have to be genuinely interested in knowing and supporting those in your network first.

Download our 8 Point Hiring Process Assessment Scorecard. Use this to ensure your hiring methodology is as effective as it can be for 2010.

Would all of your employees describe your culture the same way? This is critical when networking and hiring. Our Cultural Assessment Worksheet will help you to ensure that you have a consistent understanding of your business culture.

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.