Is the “War for Talent” constraining your growth?

What do you do when you’re fighting from the trenches every day to find and attract the right people to your team? How are you competing with the “big guys” when it comes to offering the right opportunities to A players who can help you grow? More importantly, how do you find the time to FIND the right players and not WASTE your time with the wrong ones?

Here’s 5 practical and “implementable” ideas for attracting and “auditioning” the talent for your team…

(I’ll be following up in a few weeks with 5 more on “retaining and engaging” your “A Players”.)

1)      Write a job ad that’s creative, links to your Core Values (and weeds out the candidates that you don’t want). 

High Exposure, an airplane banner company that’s one of our clients, put in their job ad for summer help, “This job is NOT for you if you like sleeping in on weekends and can’t follow procedures. This job IS for you if you enjoy being physically active and like working in a family environment.”  They had at least ten other “conditions” for employment that were not just informative but fun to read too.  They only got one snarky reply and found three highly qualified (and willing to work) young people after getting over two dozen applicants.  Be willing to have your ads stand out and they’ll get attention.

2)      Create a “job scorecard” for each position BEFORE you interview that describes the results that your new hires need to get to have a “A” from you.

Be as specific as possible with the behaviors you’re expecting (HINT: They should be reflective of your Core Values) as well as the target for key performance indicators like customer satisfaction and retention (for a Client Services role) or on-time delivery for an operations role. We use Net Promoter Score for our top indicator of anyone who has a direct role with our clients.  Check out the KPILibrary for more ideas.

3)       Have a “dating period” for new hires or better yet, have them “audition” for the job. 

Pay them to work for a week and use that time as an opportunity for both of you to make a decision as to whether they’re the right fit.  Use the scorecard that you’ve developed as the measuring stick – whatever you do, don’t NOT have a measuring stick.  And share the scorecard at the beginning so that they know what behavior they’re expected to demonstrate and what results they’re expected to get. 

4)      Use a CID’s interview when you’re hiring.

Otherwise known as a Chronological, In-Depth or biographical interview, it’s one of the best interviewing approaches out there for sorting through what’s true and what’s embellishment, the CID’s interview is a critical step that we recommend to all of our client companies. Developed by Brad Smart from TopGrading® originally for General Electric to up their hiring success, this interview process has the interviewer  taking the candidate through their “story”, starting with “Tell me about where you went to school, how you picked your major, what you enjoyed doing there and what you didn’t.”  It’s the most robust process I know for finding out what motivates a person, how they approach work AND more importantly will uncover aspects of their personality that will almost never come out in a more conventional interview, even competency-based behavioral questions. (If I’ve got you curious, send me an email and we can talk more!)

 5)      Don’t expect people to change. 

Whatever you do, don’t make this common mistake that we see constantly in small mid-market companies – keeping a mediocre performer expecting them to change as if over time they will miraculously develop a talent that they don’t have but your business requires.  If someone isn’t working out within the first few months of employment, the odds aren’t good that they’re going to “get better”.  As Marcus Buckingham says, “Great managers know that people don’t change and don’t waste their time trying to change others.”  Acknowledge that you made a bad hire and move on.

Want to learn more best practices that will help you “Scale Up” your business? Reach out and contact us today!

 

 

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