On a recent #AskAlexis I was asked about how I hire A-players, and how important hiring is.
Hiring the right people into your business is one of the most important things that you need to do well as an entrepreneur. Staff are normally your biggest cost by a long way, and leveraging them effectively is the key to business.
Yet, most entrepreneurs’ approach to hiring is very poor, and results in bad decisions that stifle growth, reduce profit, or even kill the business.
In this article, I’d like to share a parallel that will help you drastically improve the quality of your recruitment process…
Good Recruitment is like Good Marketing.
1. You need to attract a lot of leads / applicants to improve the quality of the people you work with
When marketing and selling your products, you will need to get your message in front of lots of people.
Not only that, but you expect to need a lot of people to show an interest in your product, and of those, only a small proportion will become customers.
Businesses who don’t have lots of leads tend to have to work very had to turn those leads into customers, and will take any customers they can get.
If you want to be able to choose the customers you will work with, you need to have lots of options – multiple people who want to become customers.
The same is true for hiring, yet most business owners will get just 30 applicants for a role, interview 3 of them and pick between them.
I recently hired a customer success manager for my software business. We aimed to get around 150 applicants. We had over 1,500 applicants in just one week.
This wasn’t a complete accident.
We created an awesome advert, and placed it in multiple places where our ideal candidate hangs out… (Just like you should when doing marketing!)
We then used some automated screening to reduce the number of candidates to review in detail to 757.
Basked on this review we had lots of potentially great candidates. We picked the top 36 to invite for interview.
After another round of screening, we ended up with 3 great A-players that we would be very keen to hire, and picked one (for now), and offered them the role.
So if you want quality people in your business, plan on getting lots of applicants (at least 100!)
2. Your process should qualify people, but also get them to ‘buy-in’
Most business owners understand that they need a selection process to help them identify whether or not a candidate is going to be the right fit for the role, and their team.
However, it’s a two way street.
You need the candidate to be excited about working for you, and your selection process should help them do that.
Exactly like a good marketing process, where it has two key purposes: find out whether the prospect is the right fit to become a customer (and whether to spend more time with them), and help the prospect see the value of becoming your customer.
3. It’s a bad idea to attract people based on high pay, in the same way it’s a bad idea to attract people based on low price
I’m often told by small business owners that they can’t afford to pay the high amounts needed to acquire A-player employees.
They believe that the main benefit of working for their business (to the employee) is the money they pay them, as they can’t offer the same promotion opportunities etc. of a large company.
But this is like telling me that you can’t acquire any customers because they don’t have the lowest prices in the industry.
When marketing its a bad idea to sell your product on the basis of its price. Instead you want to communicate the values of your business, how the product will help the customer, and why you are the best fit for that particular person.
This is the same for hiring too – you have a lot more to offer candidates, and that needs to be communicated to them!
4. You need processes and automation to reduce the resources needed to make a good hire
As I covered above, you want to have a lot of candidates apply to you. But handling 100 (or over 2,000!) candidates, and properly qualifying them & getting them to buy-in takes a lot of time.
So, you need to plan to do this, by building processes and planning to provide the resources to do this as efficiently as possible.
Wherever you can, automate so that you can respond quickly, get back to people, keep them informed on recruitment process progress. You don’t want your best candidates to get snapped up by your competition because they’ve not heard from you for a week or two and assumed the worst!
5. Relationship management doesn’t end with the sale / job offer / rejection
So, you’ve hired the perfect candidate. But you aren’t done yet.
Just like making a sale, the relationship has really just begun. You want to ensure the enthusiasm remains high as you bring them on-board, that you have a great plan laid out for their first couple of weeks, and that you have regular reviews to ensure they are happy and performing well.
This doesn’t just apply to the person you hire though.
What about the 1-2 other awesome candidates that didn’t quite make it? You should aim to continue a relationship with them so that you can attempt to hire them when another role becomes available!
you should also make sure you get back to other people who weren’t a great fit for this role, but might work well in another role at your company – again, maintain a relationship that enables you to go back to them and ask them to apply for the next role.
Also, don’t forget to be nice to the people who you reject – they may become customers, or know your customers (or even have been referred to you by one!).