Creating a recruitment strategy pt. 2: Does your strategy need modernizing?
“The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.” – Steve Jobs
What do you believe about the people that work for you? That philosophy will drive any recruitment strategy you create. Do you even believe that you should have a recruitment strategy at all? That says a lot about your overall people strategy and how people are treated in your organization. Are people just a means to an end for you — tools to help you make money? Or are people growing, dynamic contributors and partakers in your organizational success? That will determine the quality of people you recruit and how long they stay.
What is your recruitment philosophy?
Do you believe that employees want to grow professionally?
Employees today are looking for companies that make professional growth possible and accessible — whether it is company sponsored, jointly sponsored, or the flexibility to pursue professional development goals. It is amazing that some companies still do not value the importance of training and development, recognizing it as a critical investment in their team. As a professional trainer, I have seen people transform when they learn something new, or get a fresh perspective on something they already knew, networking and collaborating with other professionals and even stepping out of their comfort zones and fears.
Do you believe that employees will leave if they are not growing?
Aside from leaving because of horrible bosses and hostile work environments, people leave companies that don’t have room for them to advance. This is the challenge that small companies have, because when employees max out a job, when they know it like the back of their hand, then they want to move on to something else that will challenge them intellectually. Gone are the days where it was glamorous to be on the same job for thirty years doing the same thing over and over again because you have bills to pay. Modern organizations don’t see this as valuable anymore. It is interesting that some companies’ recruitment strategy is just that: find employees that are ‘stable’. While understanding the cost of turnover, they may just lose an opportunity to benefit from an amazing talent, even if it is under five years. Progressive companies will realize that unless there is room for people to advance and expand, move up or laterally, people will leave to find that somewhere else. My personal mantra is ‘go to grow’ and I advise people struggling with career transition to consider that.
Do you believe that employees want to be mentored and guided?
One of the complaints employees share is how leaders hoard information and can’t seem to share insights and experiences that will help them develop professionally. People may argue that employees are looking for parents and that’s not the role of a manager. That may be true, but a mentor is a guide, not a parent. Sometimes managers get it wrong. People aren’t always looking for parental advice or people who tell them what to do in every area of their life. Even parents shouldn’t do that. They are looking for lessons you learned that will help them in their career journey. They are looking for a safe space to express themselves, and for honest feedback about what they may be doing or pursuing. They are looking for role models and positive examples. Mentors offer support and direction, giving people room to make their own intelligent choices.
Do you believe that some of the best employees have to be discovered or created?
I have seen people get rejected from a job for the craziest reasons, usually stemming from the hiring manager’s or recruiter’s personal feelings, preferences and biases, and other superficial reasons. There is a place for intuition and gut leadings, but there should also be criteria based on company goals and cultural fit. If a rejection decision can’t be objectively explained, then perhaps it shouldn’t have been made. What is so hilarious is that the characteristics or flaws we see in people we are so adamant about rejecting are found in the people who are already on the team.
While it also seems logical to reject people due to lack of experience and skills, I have found that sometimes your greatest hire comes from the person with potential, passion, and a desire and willingness to learn. As a manager, I inherited employees who had little to no skills and in order for me to get the work done, short of me doing it myself, I had to train them. Today, they are proficient and have moved on to greater experiences.
We may fear people with a past — with lots of gaps, lots of movement, labor disputes, bitter relationships with previous employers and managers, even criminal charges — but people change. People make mistakes. Sometimes we may have to take a chance on someone that others have overlooked or thrown away. Superstars aren’t born superstars. They are people who are committed to succeeding beyond their mistakes and fears.
“We do not hire experts neither do we hire men on past experiences or for any position other than the lowest. Since we do not take a man on his past history, we do not refuse him because of his past history. I never met a man who was thoroughly bad. There is always some good in him if he gets a chance.” – Henry Ford
A great place to work
Finally, leaders need to focus on making their organization a great place to work. You can have fancy ad campaigns, slick mottos, and elaborate buildings, but none of that will attract or retain exceptional talent if the company doesn’t believe in people, in holding them accountable to stellar performance, weeding out those who aren’t contributing, and above all, knowing that people are worth investing in.
• Simmone L. Bowe, MSc, SPHRi, is a seasoned human resource and organization development consultant & trainer, speaker, author, mentor, and activist who focuses on helping business owners, leaders and professionals diagnose their people and performance problems and implement strategic solutions. For comments, queries and bookings, email firstname.lastname@example.org.