With the low unemployment rate currently at a 4.3 percent, finding great people to hire for your business just got even tougher. Like the real estate market, it is currently a buyer’s market, and companies need to able to find and sell themselves to future employees.
What can you do to get the best people in this highly competitive market? This article is going to discuss three overlooked areas in the hiring process. First, you must know what you are looking for in an employee. Secondly, you must find and attract them; and thirdly, get them to want to work for you and not someone else. Let’s take a closer look at these three critical areas.
Defining the Perfect Candidate
Finding the right employees to fit within your organization is challenging to begin with; this is compounded with the fact that most people do not know who they want. Employers say things like: “You just can’t find good people today;” or “People just don’t have a good work ethic;” or “Millennials are not focused on the job.” These statements are true if you don’t become strategically focused and aggressive in your search for talent.
Organizations make decisions the wrong way; they decide they need a new employee and only have $30,000 and try to find someone they can shoehorn into the position for that amount. When employers hire the only people they think they can afford, the results can be disastrous. Hiring the wrong employee will cost you a lot more than you think.
What if the employee insults your best customer, what if the employee drives your two best technicians away or decides to quit after money has been wasted on intensive training?
In the fire protection industry, training takes time, in some jobs anywhere from six months to more than a year. And while training new employees, key people can be spread out too thinly or become underutilized, preventing the growth of your company or a sudden turnover of your best employees. It makes both dollars and sense to hire the right candidate the first time.
Start by deciding what needs to be accomplished in the position. Once you have defined the desired outcome of the job, you can find the right person for it.
Defining the perfect candidate is like designing sprinkler systems: one layout does not fit all; type of hazard, pressure requirements, head spacing, areas of coverage, etc., all contribute to the design of the appropriate system to get the job done. Consider all the options available when deciding who is best for your position. You may decide the job could be divided in different ways, perhaps two part-time employees instead of a single full-time person.
Define the perfect candidate for the right position. Perhaps your perfect employee would be bilingual or a good problem solver. Perhaps they would understand the concept of service and sales, have an outstanding work ethic, or maybe, most importantly, they would be able to get along with the office manager, your mother-in-law.
Where to Find the Perfect Candidate
One way to find qualified individuals is with your website, and here is the best part: it is free. If I was a talented technician living in Bakersfield, California, and my wife was just transferred to Portland, Maine, I would need a new job and quickly to help secure the relocation. I would not wait to get to Portland to look at options. I would search the internet and google fire protection companies in Portland, Maine. If you make it easy for me to find you and you appear to be a great company to work for, I will contact you to inquire. Bingo, you just attracted a terrific regional candidate who is motivated to secure a job.
Your company site is also an excellent way to recruit people exiting the military.
Quite often when departing from military service, veterans want to go home. Perhaps they were a firefighter or worked in some safety-type capacity; they are probably going to google fire protection or safety services. Is your site waiting to welcome them home? By the way, they can pass a drug test, and they deserve a break.
Realize, you are always open to hiring talented people, and your website keeps these channels active and inviting to future candidates.
Utilizing vendor relationships is another way to find the perfect candidate.
From bottled water to insurance, you have people who sell you things continuously.
They are all trying to find a way to add value to keep your loyalty. Involve them in your search; tell them what your perfect candidate looks like, and ask for their help. Using vendors to help has a hidden advantage. Your suppliers are not going to recommend their deadbeat brother-in-law because they do not want to lose our business. Employee referrals work the same way; they want to keep their jobs, so they will not recommend their flakiest party bro either. Make sure to offer an employee a referral bounty for hired recommendations payable only after the employee has completed their probationary employee trial period.
Small local colleges, junior colleges, and vocational-technical schools also offer eager and ready candidates. All three of these institutions want their graduates to find jobs and can help encourage them to look in your company’s direction.
Establish a regular relationship with heads of departments; there is always a worthy student who the professors and faculty would like to help.
Share your perfect candidate profile with them and encourage them to keep it on file for graduates and those supplementing their studies with parttime incomes. Usually, there is a kid who works two jobs while going to school. The professors know who these stars are and want to help support their studies with good employers that are willing to work with their schedules. The other payoff — once the professors and faculty know your company and what you are looking for in a great employee, they will call you with regular recommendations that line up with your requirements.
Another option is using interns and part-time students. They are willing to work weekends and odd hours that other employees would prefer not to work. The best advantage of using interns is you get to “try before you buy.” You can spot talented and smart people who are quick to learn and reliable.
Get the Perfect Candidate to Want to Work for You
You have now devised a system that will ensure you a steady stream of talented individuals. It is now your job to get them to want to work for you. Remember, great people can find great jobs, and just because you’re hiring does not mean they need to work for you. What does your business have that will tip the scales in your favor?
Now is the time to take stock of why someone would want to be part of your team. What things make you more attractive than your competitors? Take an inventory of everything you have to offer. What kinds of benefits do you have; what is your work atmosphere like? Do not forget the intangibles like flextime to attend school, school reimbursement, training programs, and certifications. Here are some examples of unique options some companies offer their associates: first day of deer season off, different Italian dish every Friday for lunch, free massages on Tuesday, a place to work out, hours worked around traffic patterns.
Make sure to showcase your place of employment. Let employees know a candidate is coming in for an interview and have them greeted properly, make sure the coffee is made, the office is spruced up, and you are ready to look like a desirable employer.
Finally, know who is best for your position. Look where other people are not looking, and plug into your hidden network of recruiters that understand exactly what you are looking for in a candidate. And don’t forget to sell them on your company.
If all else fails, put an ad in the newspaper or reread this article.
Copyright © 2017 by Mike Hourigan, all rights reserved.
This article was first published in FIREWATCH!
Mike Hourigan is KeynoteSpeaker for established companies, organizations and events throughout the United States and Europe.
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