My friend, business partner, and co-author Bill Catlette is passionate about many things, not the least of which is fishing. And he’s good at it. One reason for his success may be something he told me the first time he took this novice out for a day on the water: “I’ve never had a fish jump, voluntarily, into the boat,” he told me. “I always have to keep a line in the water.”
The same goes for recruiting talent to help grow and power your organization.
Audience members often tell us, “There’s no one out there who’s qualified to fill all these jobs we have.” Nonsense. They’re out there. They’re all just working somewhere else! Have you really been looking?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says that about 40 million people will quit their jobs this year. Not fired. Not laid off. Quit. Of their own volition. Presumably to move on to something better.
Furthermore, the BLS says that more than 25% of employees nationwide are actively looking for a new job. Right now. Both Forbes and Inc magazines ran articles recently, claiming the real number is actually more than 50%.
Think about that. If unemployment is at nearly at an all-time low, where are these people conducting their job searches from ? Gulp…
If so many people, who already have jobs, are actively looking, shouldn’t you be doing the same from the other end of the telescope?
- Keep your line in the water, and your eyes wide open. The Associated Press recently published a story about Mycorporation.com CEO Deborah Sweeney, who was so impressed with a barista at her local Starbucks that she wondered if the young woman, who could obviously “manage an environment where there’s a lot coming at you and…stay responsive and keep a good attitude” might be a good fit for her company. She hired her, and Sweeney’s speculation proved valid; “She turned out to be a rock star,” the CEO reported.
You interact with potential employees all the time, in the course of your daily activities, whether you realize it or not. How often do you look at them through the lens of being their future employer?
- Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry. Just as you’re likely to throw the first box of calories you can find into the cart, those who begin their talent search only after a need emerges may be tempted to offer the position to the first marginally qualified person who shows up to apply.
Good salespeople keep a healthy pipeline of “down-the-road” prospects at the top of their minds, and maintain non-annoying contact with them, even if they have met their monthly sales quota. Good recruiters (and by the way, everyone on your payroll could potentially be a recruiter, not just the person with the word in their title) is always seeking prospective talent, whether they have a specific momentary need or not.
And while we’re on that topic, I’m hard-pressed to think of anything more stupid than a notice that says “We’re not currently accepting applications”. If you have something like that on your premises, physical or online, I implore you to take it down! Now! Unless you’re in the process of shutting down your business.
- Hire stars on their availability schedule, not yours. Think about this. The statistical odds of your having an opening for a specific position, at the precise same moment that the best person for the job happens to have an opening in his or her career, are astronomical. And yet, that’s how most of us populate our workforce. If you come across someone, and you find yourself saying, “I sure wish they worked for us,” find a way to make it happen.
That’s how I got my second job out of college. Though I had precious few relevant qualifications on paper, the CEO of a software company knew me through a friend of a friend. He said, “It may not make sense to some people, but I want you working for us.” He sensed that I’d be a good fit for the company, and he knew they could train me for a specific role once I got there. He was right, and it worked out great for both of us.
Although I don’t advocate poaching talent from your customers, suppliers, or others with whom you have good relationships, all’s fair, as they say, in love, war, and recruiting.
I know a restaurant manager who occasionally dines at other restaurants in her city. When she experiences exceptionally good service, she’s been known to leave her business card… and an eye-popping tip.