By Ray Silverstein
Recently, we discussed how the key to making successful hires is to target applicants who share your core values.
Today, we ask: why wait for those hires to come to you?
The smartest, easiest way to identify great potential employees is ‘24/7/365 recruiting.’ It’s simple: even when you’re not actively hiring, keep your eyes open for people who impress you, and get their contact information as you go.
It’s like you’re building your own major league baseball team. You’re always scouting at some level, and you keep a running roster of possibilities. So when it’s time to trade-up, you have a leg up.
24/7/365 recruiting comes down to being observant and building a few good habits, which include:
• Always carry business cards. When you meet an exceptional worker, give him a card and request his. Tell him upfront that he impressed you, and while you don’t have openings now, you’d like to explore future possibilities. At the very least, you’ll make someone’s day.
• Keep your eyes open at trade shows, chamber of commerce meetings, not-for-profit gatherings, etc. At these events, you have a golden opportunity to observe a potential candidate’s skills, work ethic, and communication style, without a formal interview or aptitude test.
• When calling on customers, take a peek at the sign-in book. It’s a goldmine. You just may find an experienced sales pro or two who already know your client or target market.
• Review your company website. Does it do a good job of reflecting your goals, culture, and core values? Make sure it does, because it will draw the kinds of candidates you seek to you.
• Research your market. Visit the websites of competitors or firms that resemble yours in terms of distribution or skill sets. Some companies list key employees on their sites. Use the wonders of LinkedIn to learn more about them.
• When you come across finished work that impresses you—say, a highly-effective website or print marketing piece—find out who did the work and take note. When you’re ready to start a project like that, you already have someone in mind for it.
I have a great example of the benefits of 24/7/365 recruiting. One of my peer group members, Joe, often grabs lunch at a sandwich shop near his company.
Over time, Joe became impressed by one of the shop clerks, Adam. Adam was very careful, and cordial, and took his job very seriously.
At the time, Joe was dissatisfied with the performance and attitude of one of his employees. He found himself wishing he could find more employees like Adam.
Then Joe realized that, instead of finding someone like Adam, he could hire the young man himself.
Out of courtesy, Joe asked the sandwich shop owner if he would mind if he approached Adam about a potential job. As it happened, the owner was all for it. The young man’s wife was pregnant and he knew Adam was ready and eager for a bigger job and paycheck.
So Joe was able to let his non-performer go and hire Adam without missing a beat. Thanks to his proactive recruiting, what could have been a setback turned into an opportunity.
And that’s how 24/7/365 recruiting puts you ahead of the curve.
Biography: Ray Silverstein is president of PRO, President’s Resource Organization, a network of entrepreneurial peer advisory groups in Phoenix and Chicago. He is author of “The Best Secrets of Great Small Businesses,” and “The Small Business Survival Guide.” You can reach Ray at 1-800-818-0150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.