Prior to our current economic boom, the period from 1997-2000 was one with the lowest unemployment rate in 3 decades. I was running an outdoor-based school and needed to hire a team of 20 seasonal staff for jobs with long hours and little pay. You could have made more money and had more free time working at McDonalds. Yet, I had a full staff at the start of orientation. How was this possible? The answer is simple – successful coaches know how to hire by utilizing personality strengths.
In our current environment, let’s say the playing field is even when it comes to money and benefits. How do you attract the best talent then? Our approach had always been to focus on developing staff first, as they would provide the best experience for the students. Here are three things that helped me attract and hire top talent during a tight labor market:
Lay out clearly how much training and support each new staff member will have once hired. In addition to job-specific training, we also provided industry-recognized certification in which team members could use after they left. In this busy economy, some companies may feel the need to shortcut the proper preparation and may not invest fully in their workforce. Word gets out and your reputation, good or bad, affects your recruiting strength. Knowing they will be supported and properly trained for the job they’ve been hired for goes a long way to earning candidates’ trust early on.
During the recruiting process, your organization can set itself apart by having a potential path of future development and leadership opportunity. The use of personality assessments from the DISC for business range demonstrates your commitment to helping staff grow. Job seekers also need to see that as your company grows, you are committed to developing leaders from within. Even in small organizations, stories of “coming up through the ranks” offer potential hires hope of building their resume. For our school back then, we often created positions for our outstanding team members, once again adding to our reputation of commitment to our people.
Interestingly, the job descriptions you post can be a differentiator to top talent. How can you demonstrate your culture with just this little piece of information? When I was running the outdoor school, we used one line on which nearly half of the hires commented: “Musical or acting abilities a plus!” I’ve recently seen another job description which had a similarly intriguing bullet point: “You’ll ask us questions that will stop and make us think.” These two examples show how much just a single line of text can tell about a company’s culture. Both are memorable and set the stage for higher interest during the interview process. Mind you, this can’t just be a made-up phrase. Your culture has to truly reflect those words, or savvy candidates will sniff out the fraud.
If you’re not sure how to describe your current culture, you can use behavioral tools such as the Group Dynamics Report or a customized assessment to understand your company’s culture. Understanding your organization’s values is the first step toward attracting those who will best fit in. PeopleKeys also has helpful resources for the screening and interviewing process to assist in matching the best person to the job.
These approaches are not an overnight fix. Because we were committed to each of the 3 factors above for years before the challenging labor market, we had a positive reputation for all of the points I’d mentioned. This was before sites like Glassdoor existed, where current and former employees can easily post their opinions online. The upside to those sites is that you can identify the gaps of how your company is perceived by workers. While it takes time to earn reputation, you can begin to address potential new hire concerns up-front in the recruitment process using some of the suggestions above. Just like you have to build trust with your customers, it all starts by doing the same with your staff.
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