Volume 2: Attracting Top Talent to Fit Your Culture

RoyHopefully my last article, “Talent Realities,” gave you food for thought about identifying your true company culture. Paramount to this subject, though, is hiring good employees and acquiring the right people to better your company and fit its culture.

“Time spent on hiring is time well spent.” – Robert Half, Author

How do you attract talent to your company?

Posting an Ad:

Lots of companies post an ad on job boards or their own webpage. The cost of advertising is minimal, and the candidates come to you. This is great!

Unfortunately, this vehicle for attracting talent is only effective with talent that is actively pursuing opportunities. You will be inundated with responses to your advertising and it is a time consuming process to review these applications. To make matters worse, often what you find is a slew of under or over qualified people that are unemployed and desperate for work.

Bottom Line: Posting an ad is a solid option, but it probably can’t be the only vehicle you use to find candidates.

Professional Help:

You can call a recruiter. Really, it’s fairly simple: tell them what position you’re filling and the type of culture your company has and they go out and find you candidates while you run your plant. Perhaps the best part: it can be completely confidential that you’re looking if you need it to be. This is great!

But let’s be honest, recruiters can be expensive. Rather than paying staff already on your books, you are paying an additional fee.

Bottom Line: Despite the cost, recruiters can be extremely useful. A good recruiter will ensure that he or she is working to find the candidate that best fits your culture and will be productive for your company for many years. Keywords: “a good recruiter.”

Employee Referrals:

You can get candidates referred to you by your current staff. This is most effective when your employees feel positive about their own employment. Fulfilled employees are wonderful billboards for your company. There is almost no cost associated with getting referrals from current employees.

But for confidential talent needs, this method is impossible and filling management roles from referrals rarely happens. This method is also fairly passive and generally not very responsive.

Bottom Line: In theory, this is a viable option. In reality, it’s very hit and miss.

The best philosophy is generally going to be a more varied approach that involves active and passive efforts, depending on the type of candidate that you are trying to bring on. Determine your best plan before you start.

A fool with a plan will beat a genius without a plan” – Howard Oberg, My Father

After the plan is identified, talent must be motivated to join your team.

A candid appraisal of substance and style in how you portray yourself to candidates is necessary. You must demonstrate the skills, expectations, and habits that you want to attract. Your environment, your people, and your interview process must be consistent. The charisma of the hiring manager may be helpful, and the allure of being pursued by a company is always appealing, but wise talent will be swayed by the message, not the messenger.

I recall a meeting I had with an executive at a corrugated company that no longer exists. He stated that his expectation for his management personnel was a minimum of 12 hours at the plant, 6 days a week, with a few hours answering e-mails every evening. I thought he was exaggerating a bit to emphasize his expectation of a high work ethic, so I smiled and asked when this manager would be permitted to unwind and relax. With no trace of humor, he responded that while he was answering e-mails at night, he could have a glass of wine.

Here is a demonstration of honest and transparent expectations. Anyone joining his team will know what is expected.

“If you hire good people, give them good jobs, and pay them good wages, generally something good is going to happen.” – James Sinegal, Former CEO, Costco

This is a message we can all learn from. You must demonstrate the skills, expectations and habits that you want to attract. Your environment, your people, and your interview process must be consistent. Consistent not only in your eyes, but in the eyes of the talent you hope to attract.

How consistent is your message?

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