Updated: Jul 19
Everyone agrees it’s hard to get top talent in the door, and it’s getting even harder. The interview process can be taxing and disheartening on both sides of the table. But what if the only reason why you feel SO exhausted or worn down, is because you are exerting too much energy on something that should be simpler.
The key hiring top talent is planning. We have outlined a 3-step process to jumpstart the hiring process, with ways to approach it successfully.
You have to visualize what top talent looks like and create a list: Prepared, Charismatic, Proactive, Positive, Polished, etc. You don’t have to reinvent these adjectives, or be concerned with think what’s politically correct (no one should see this “brainstorm” list). If you get stuck, look to your organization to find the answers now.
Think about your top producers currently (whether that’s yourself or an employee). Ask yourself:
What makes them top producers - What ideal habits do they have? i.e. On time, follows job from sale to installation, self generates leads
What makes them NOT an ideal candidate - What habits do you want changed? i.e. Unreasonable Time Restrictions (“I can only work…” M 2-4, W 9-12, F 9-10), Diva syndrome (Only give me “good” leads…), Not detailed or being sloppy in specifying, etc.
What are the role responsibilities & expectations?
Take that list and then add to it by asking the first two questions to other key players in the organization (especially department managers), what their ideal candidate looks like. Do this until you can see that person in your mind. Candidates have the luxury of dreaming about what their next career choice before they meet you. Use that same visualization method to dream up your perfect candidate – then write it down (it makes the next parts easier)!
After you’ve sketched out your dream candidate, now it’s time to draft your ad. Hand the list to your best writer or marketing mind in the company and have them draft an ad with the following format:
Opening paragraph “Marketing Attraction Message” to speak directly to your ideal candidate. Include: 1-2 Sentences of what the position is, 1 sentence of who your company is, and 1 sentence on why people like working for you.
“Must Have Requirements & Skills” to include: 2-3 from the Ideal candidate list, 2-3 from the Deal breaker list, 1-2 Experience or Educational background requirements (i.e. Degrees, Certifications, or related working experience timeframe)
“Job Responsibilities” to include: 3-4 from Job Responsibilities list, 1-2 from Deal breakers list
“Salary & Benefit Offerings” to include: Honest 1st year salary range, Vacation, Health benefits, 401k packages, Sick time, etc.
“How to Apply” to include: Contact info and how to apply, what they need to provide in order to apply, when they can expect to hear from you.
Prepare for your interviews - plural. A phone interview and in person interview is a MUST for any hiring process, anything beyond that is customized per the organization’s needs and culture.
Your interview questions should be built around the initial ideal candidate list. The key to a good interview is asking thought provoking questions that the candidate didn’t expect, and open ended to hear their thought process. For example, let’s take your deal breaker list:
Designer candidates must be available for evening and weekend appointments
Asking open-ended questions regarding the candidate’s past schedule, and how they organized their day will start the conversation regarding if they are available. You are looking for candidates that naturally operate like this – as it’s foreign to many candidate you will come across.
“Tell me about your schedule at X, Y, and Z jobs: Did it change? Who set it? What did you like about that schedule? What did you dislike about that schedule? What difference would you like to see at a new company?”
The game here is to ask as many of these questions BEFORE the candidate asks WHAT ARE THE HOURS HERE? You lose the game if you provide the answer BEFORE the candidate does.
Like a good salesperson, you must be able to anticipate and answer confidently any objections and questions by the candidate – they are interviewing you too!! Here is a list of questions the candidates will ask you, that you need prepared to answer:
What is the salary?
What is the bonus structure?
What are the realistic hours?
What is training like, how long?
What makes a candidate successful in this role?
What is the first priority when getting into the position?
What are the goals and expectations of the person?
What are the responsibilities of the position?
Why is this role currently open?
How long does it take to reach the “top” level?
Power Thought!! If you want to attract the best, you must bring YOUR best. Don’t expect a top producer to accept anything less than perfection as well. They rose to the top for a reason, and they will push you to do even better. If you get challenged in an interview, don’t immediately react, think first – is this a top producer challenging me to be better and am I prepared with answers as I expect THEM to be? OR, are they challenging you because of a negative resistance to the position/company culture? If they can prove their numbers, are enthusiastic about your organization, and have references to back them up, they are likely just making sure you are who you say you are, and you are ready to support their growth.
Now, you are ready to place your ad! We wish you great success!!