“Would I hire this person again today given the same circumstances?”
Asking yourself this question as a business owner can uncover areas of opportunity with your hiring process.
Jeff Annis, President at Advanced Services, Inc. asked himself that question after going against his gut when it came to hiring a worker from outside the industry. That candidate was taking a large pay cut by coming on board with Jeff’s company.
“My gut told me that the candidate would jump back into that industry as soon as a new spot opened up,” says Jeff—a prediction that occurred less than a year after he was hired. “In this scenario, I might have hired him again, but I also might dig much deeper before deciding,” shares Jeff.
Jeff has developed an approach to recruiting, hiring, and people development that emphasizes developing and growing employees from within. “My best hiring experiences have come from bringing in people at the entry level and developing them to a higher level,” shares Jeff. In part one we looked at 4 practical ways to improve how you hire. Here are 5 more ways to attract, find, and select the right talent for your company.
1. Recruit all the time.
Do you ever feel like you haven’t planned ahead when it comes to hiring? Or maybe you’ve been put in the position where you feel forced to “settle” for a low quality hire?
Start embracing the mindset that you should always be in the process of recruiting. “At Advanced Services, we’ve learned to take hiring seriously, and we reap the rewards every day because we are always recruiting,” says Jeff. “Also reward people who refer new recruits to your company.”
It’s not just a mindset; it’s also the processes you have in place to support ongoing recruitment and hiring. For example, make sure you always have an up-to-date and useful application form.
It should be a legally-approved application form that is appropriate for each state you are hiring in. “This must be reviewed annually by an attorney specializing in employment law, and updated when you learn of any change in a relevant state or federal law,” adds Jeff.
“It’s hard to fire family. It is also awkward to fire your banker’s son or daughter,” says Jeff. One of the lessons he’s learned is that before you ask anyone to join the team, be sure to consider how it would be handled if that person was no longer a fit within the company.
“If you must hire inappropriately, be up-front about the possibilities and agree that if there is a layoff or parting of the ways, that both sides will work hard to preserve the personal sides of these relationships,” says Jeff. If your company is big enough, set it up so that the hiring and firing is done by a non-related person to provide needed insulation.
3. Use caution with the cheapest labor.
Some business owners fall into the trap of hiring the cheapest labor possible. “If a candidate has low expectations for pay, there’s likely a reason.”
The least expensive labor may appear to be saving you money, but they also can become the most expensive in the long-run. “It may be because their productivity isn’t up to par, or their service is lacking, or you end up having to replace them.”
4. Hire hard.
Jeff says his company has intentionally decided to recruit and hire only A players, since they are the ones who bring “A results."
“If you compete hard enough and smart enough to hire only the best A players for your team, you won’t have to be worried about having to compete with all those others in your industry or profession.” For Jeff, the benefits of hiring A players, even though they may command higher pay, includes 54 percent higher team member retention, 89 percent higher customer satisfaction, and they have fewer accidents and less mistakes made.
“People say hire slow. I say hire hard. I can hire slow and it would be a bad hire, but hiring hard assures that if you have 14 to 20 things that are absolute requirements of this job. Those may be mindset or qualifications or experience, but you make sure that you have 85 to 95 percent of those covered before you hire—and that's hard,” explains Jeff.
“The best companies, out of 50 people, have 1 person that should have been fired yesterday. The worst companies, with 50 people, have 12 people that should have been fired yesterday, but they'll never be fired because they are so challenged in finding good replacements.” Put another way, these companies would rather have a B or C player than try to find a new person, or deal with an issue that’s keeping A players away from the company.
“If you continually find yourself saying you can’t find any A players, it’s time to be candid and ask, ‘Why would an A player or a B player want to be on your team with a C player?’” says Jeff. Not surprisingly, A players often don’t want to be on teams made with a great deal of C or B players.
As you become an organization that is continuously looking to hire top talent that aligns with your culture, you’ll see the benefits of hiring opportunistically.
“Many times we need to over-hire, depending on the nature of the work. If you have 25 people in a certain role in your company, and you need 25 to function, you probably really need 28 on the staff,” says Jeff. Jeff says business owners need to take into consideration how people get sick, take vacations, and will miss work for unexpected reasons.
You want your team to be able to miss work when they want to or when they have to; in these cases, over-hiring is necessary to support your people and your business structure.
Evaluate How You're Leading
Are you living your company values? Leading with those values is one of the best ways to start attracting and retaining top talent. Rate yourself on how well you feel you are modeling your company values. Are you showing up how you want to as a leader to every situation?
These are just a few areas that can be examined to ensure you’re leading with values. Creating a better system for recruiting and hiring takes a few mindset shifts. Here are 3 to start with:
- Shift your energy. “Aim to try to forget everything you ever learned about hiring and look purely towards what will make your company better, going forward,” says Jeff. Put another way, don’t let past mistakes keep you from making better decisions in the future. “I have hired more than 400 times, so I have made more mistakes than you can imagine over my 42 years as a business owner.” Shift your energy and focus away from the past to start improving how you hire in the present and future.
- Avoid rushing the process. Evolving your culture to become better at recruiting and hiring will take time, and it’s easy to want to get in a hurry. Once you’ve built a system for always-on recruiting, you’ll find you don’t have to rush the actual hiring process as much as you used to.
- Aim for continual improvement. Learning what is most effective will take a bit of time and tweaking, and that should be anticipated. Remind yourself that as a business, you have to continually put energy and effort into who you hire or you won’t make it as a company. “What you don’t want to do is implement all these things at one time. You also don’t want to expect 100 percent, overnight transformation,” explains Jeff.
Are You Living and Leading With Your Values?
Learn to lead more effectively in your organization and in your life by showing up appropriately to different situations. The Leading with Values Workshop outlines a process that will make you more conscious, authentic, and consistent leader, which, in the long run, can help you attract talent that aligns with your values. During the workshop, you’ll learn to optimize yourself by clarifying and living your values authentically, no matter your biggest business challenge.
Special thanks to Jeff Annis, President at Advanced Services, Inc. who provided insights for this article. This post originally appeared on Forbes.com.