Hiring the right people is one of the hardest parts of running a business, and it’s also one of the most important! You can’t do it all by yourself, and that means you have to find employees who will find a home in your company culture, contribute to your success, and deliver outstanding work. No big deal, right?
We all know it’s tough to get the right people in the right positions, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many articles about attracting and retaining great employees.
If only there were a secret…something you could do to make the process work better…
In my experience, there’s one big hiring mistake entrepreneurs make. They hire too quickly. I understand why it happens, but it’s a mistake nonetheless. By the time you decide to add a person, you genuinely need the position filled. While you might want to wait for just the right person, you may not be able to. You need someone yesterday, and in too many cases, “someone” ends up being “anyone.”
You advertise for a position, sort through all the résumés that arrive, interview the top candidates, and make your choice. Sound about right?
But here’s the problem – you’re only seeing a fraction of the potential candidates. You’re seeing the people who happen to have seen your ad, who happen to need a job. There are other people who might be a better fit – might even be an ideal fit – but those résumés don’t land on your desk. How do you find those people?
Here’s my secret: I am constantly on the lookout for talent.
Everyone I meet is a potential employee. From the fantastic barista who remembers everyone’s coffee preferences and delivers them with a genuine smile to the amazing customer service rep at one of my vendors, when I encounter amazing people, I take notice.
And I don’t just take notice. I actually keep a spreadsheet called “Talent.” In it I record names and contact information from all the folks who knock my socks off. And I also record details about how I encountered them and why they were memorable. Maybe it was a waiter with a nightmare table next to mine or perhaps it was they guy who went above and beyond when he detailed my car…I’m filing all these people away.
So when I decide I need a new IT person or I have to have a new sales rep, I go first to my spreadsheet. I find people who might have (or could learn) the skillsets I need, and I reach out, taking the time to remind them how we encountered one another. Even if the people I contact aren’t necessarily looking for a job, they’re all flattered to be remembered, and most of them are thrilled to come in for a chat.
Sure, I’ll sometimes run an ad and solicit résumés, but what I’ve found is that keeping my spreadsheet up to date gives me a much wider look at people I know are genuinely impressive. I used to wait to look for employees once I was ready to hire, but my secret strategy yields much better results. If you’re always on the lookout for talent, then you’re poised to hire the best people rather than settling for a warm body.