As a recruiter, I evaluate success and failure all day long. To many hiring managers this may seem an obvious statement. They expect me to present AV industry candidates who are near the top of the pack, not those who have struggled to perform. They expect me to discern these behaviors in the candidates I speak to every day.
But what many hiring managers fail to realize is that I don’t just speak with candidates all day long, I speak with other hiring managers as well. This is compounded when working on an executive level search where I may speak to over 30 hiring managers in one day alone, the subject of our conversation being what makes you good at what you do? Before good recruiters embark on a search they will ask you probing questions, not just to learn what type of person you are looking for, but to learn if you, the hiring manager, have the outlook that will contribute to a successful search. It is a subtle process, one that is probably happening right under your nose, but it is crucial. I will never begin a search that I do not think will result in a placement within a reasonable amount of time. This has nothing to do with what candidates are on the market and everything to do with the process that the hiring manager will use to fill the search. There’s a recipe for success and a recipe for failure, and many hiring managers are oblivious to the bad habits that are at the core of their hiring frustrations.
Thus the impetus behind writing this article. If only the managers that I speak with on a day to day basis could see what their competitors have done to make their searches go much more successfully. What a better world this would be for recruiters! So somewhat selfishly, I am sharing three key action steps that some of the most successful hiring managers are utilizing every time they conduct a search. Apply these simple steps to your search for your next AV technician, integrator, or sales leader, and marvel at the results.
1. KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BOTTOM LINE
Few would argue that this basic principle is essential to a successful search. Hiring a new employee is expensive, there is always an effort to keep costs down for all of the incidentals that add up along the way (ads, HR efforts, on boarding costs and most importantly recruitment consulting fees). However, this is only one half of the bottom line, expenses. What about the income side of the balance sheet? The number one mistake that most hiring managers make is neglecting to calculate how much their open position is costing them on a weekly basis. I place sales people, so finding this number isn’t that difficult. Take the yearly quota, figure out the profit margins, divide by the 52 weeks of the year, and you will get the amount of pure profit you are losing per week that this role is left unfilled. Every position, when you take it down to brass tax is brought into existence to either bring in new revenue, or to make things more efficient and conserve resources. Whether a new position or a replacement position, if you keep the income/savings lost in your sights, you will find that the way you bring in new employees will be radically different.
2. YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT, BUT YOU CAN GET WHAT YOU NEED
When hiring a candidate for a new position, it is absolutely essential to look at the strengths and experience this person must have. You’ve got a job that needs doing and you want to hire a person who can well, do it! We all know how competitive the marketplace is for businesses, and most hiring managers don’t just want someone who can do the job, but who can do it well and become a linchpin in the department. It’s easy to form a vision of someone with the perfect background, perfect personality, perfect skill set, perfect salary and in the perfect location. The only thing stopping you from doing this is the marketplace. Wouldn’t your life be easier if you could just go to a store and pick someone off a shelf!
Another mistake hiring managers make is not having an objective view of the candidate marketplace. In reality, there may not be the “perfect” candidate out there. Many recruiters have found the “search sweet spot”; a type of candidate in a certain marketplace that they know they can find. When I begin a search I’ll make a list of 100 candidates to call. I sift out the weaker candidates and present the top 3 or 4 candidates that rise above the pack. This is my formula for success. Sometimes I get a requirement where I can’t even find 100 people to put on the list, or I’ll find plenty of candidates, but there is no way they will consider my client’s opportunity because of salary or responsibilities or the strength of the company or the company’s products, or their reputation etc., etc., etc. My ratios will tell me if the parameters of the search are unrealistic. It all boils down to a numbers game. The sooner a hiring manager realizes they have to work with the candidates available, the sooner they are on their way to identifying the best possible candidate in the marketplace.
3. PUT YOURSELF IN THE APPLICANT'S SHOES
Of the three principles outlined in this article this is the easiest to relate to everyday life. In the dating world, if you know you’re a “7” in the looks department, you innately know to aim for another “7” (maybe an eight if you’re ambitious!) It never ceases to amaze me how many hiring managers are oblivious to how their company is viewed by candidates in the marketplace. The same laws apply to business as they do to dating: the caliber of the candidates you attract depends on the caliber of your company.
Just recently I had a client tell me that they are the fastest growing company in their space and they have the most technically advanced products so their opportunity is sure to be attractive to the best candidates. Strangely enough, when I discussed the role with candidates from their direct competitors, none of them had even heard of this company.
Candidates are not only looking at your company’s performance but also reading blogs and reviews shared by employees of your company. If you’ve never understood why you are unable to attract the quality of candidates you think you deserve, I highly advise that you keep in touch with how the candidate pool views your opportunity. The sooner you can face the fact that you are a C+ company and you should be thrilled when you find a B level candidate, the sooner you will be laying a foundation to bring your company up a notch. The flipside is equally true. If your company has progressed to be an A- company and you are still happy with B- candidates, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. The most successful hiring managers research how they are perceived in the market and keep this in perspective while conducting a search.
Krista White is a recruiter who works with Consumer Electronics Sales Professionals. The most rewarding aspect of her career is the enjoyment of discovering who people are and what is important to them. She can be reached at Krista@searchexgroup.com.