My daughter, Katy, and I love to make cookies, especially when it is snowing outside and we have a process that we go through to make them. Melt the butter, sneak a few chocolate chips. Add the sugar and eggs, sneak a few chocolate chips. Add vanilla, baking soda, flour, etc. and of course, sneak a few chips. Then, you stir it all together to get the dough, which, you must taste! Sing a little to the song on the radio, do a little dance, put the dough on the pan, and put it in the oven. Dance a little more, try another pinch of dough until the cookies come out of the oven and eat one while it is really hot. It melts all over your hands and face! Giggle some more while you pour a much-needed glass of milk and voila! In addition to feeling a tad sick, you have made cookies and memories all in one day!
One time, however, we put baking powder in the dough instead of baking soda and it was a disaster! Another time, we forgot the eggs; and yet another time, we pulled the cookies out of the oven too late and they were burnt. If you miss a necessary step in baking, you will ruin the final cookie outcome.
The experience is the same when you are trying to hire the right person. There is a recipe for finding the right fit called the 7 Steps to Finding Great Employees: 1) Create your Ideal Candidate in your mind 2) Write the job description 3) Write the job ad 4) Review resumes and schedule candidates 5) First Interview 6) Second Interview and 7) Third Interview. When you miss one of these steps, it is like you burnt your beloved chocolate chip cookies… gut wrenching!
Cultivating your staff begins with hiring the best and you can’t do that if you leave out a part of the recipe. So pay attention, focus and be patient when hiring your next employee. Also, don’t forget to wipe the chocolate off your chin!
When Katy was a little girl, she loved to play with Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. Some of her creations were hilarious; an arm being in the ear hole, lips in the eye hole, or Mrs. Potato Head walking around on a hat instead of shoes. Part of the brilliance of that game is taking all of the parts and making a whole, no matter how it looks to someone else. Once, Katy dressed up Mrs. Potato Head with shoes, lips, 2 arms, 2 eyes, and… a mustache on her head. She looked up at me with those big blue eyes and said “Mommy, doesn’t Mrs. Potato Head look beautiful???”
Last week, I had a client who was getting really frustrated with the search we were conducting. He looked at me and said “If I could just take attributes from one candidate and put it with the skill set from the other candidate, I would be hiring someone today!” Although a frustrating feeling, this is good news. When you start to see what you want from an employee, even though it is in 2 people, your ideal candidate is right around the corner. All you need to do is piece together what is important to you, and that person will show up. It is indeed a beautiful thing.
After an interview with a really great candidate, my clients usually want to hire that person on the spot. They do not want to wait. They feel very strongly that they have waited long enough, and they want to get this person on board ASAP. While I completely understand their desires, I ask them to think about the interview for at least 24-48 hours. The reason for the waiting period is that your thoughts are really different outside of the interview, especially if you give your thoughts a chance to simmer. Think about it like you think about soup in a crock pot.
Similar to making a soup where you initially collect and prep all of your ingredients, a company preps by putting together an ideal list for the best candidate, writing a job description, writing a job ad, and posting the job. The job then simmers on the job boards as applicants begin to submit resumes, compared to the soup simmering in the crockpot. Then, the employers get the resumes and begin interviewing, like adding spices to the soup, continuing to let it simmer.
Throw in some vision and dreaming, your crock pot will make some pretty great soup. Eat the soup too early and the spices may have not soaked in yet. If you wait too long, the vegetables turn to mush, and the soup is not as good.
For the past 3 weeks, I have been racking my brain trying to figure out how being compared to a slobbery, atomic mutant reptile can possibly be a compliment… maybe I am bigger than life? Loud? Dry skin?
The more important concept to consider here is how an outburst like this might affect your customers. If she said this to an important client or a big donor, those potential clients might be unwilling to sign that contract that you are wanting them to sign. They might not want to do business with you. People have pulled their business away for a lot less than being called Godzilla.
Meanwhile, we will be looking for another candidate and I will be moisturizing heavily.
Last week, I was conducting some phone interviews with a client. On particular call, the interview was going really well until the candidate surprised me with a request: “Can I put you on hold and take this other call?”
“Uh, sure,” I mumbled. While I waited, listening to really bad background music, I contemplated this question: “Does this candidate really want THIS job?”
The resounding answer came to me. No, he really does not. If he really wanted the job that my client was offering, he would have ignored any and all calls, no matter who is calling him. At this point, nothing else matters; his skills, his experience, his ability to do the job – none of those count, because if he does not WANT the job, he is not going to DO the job.
The last thing that you want to do is hire someone who is not willing talk to you long enough to find out if this is the job for them or hire someone who is not absolutely thrilled to come and work for you.
So, put this job offer on hold, just like the candidate did to me, and wait for the right candidate to come along. They will come to you if you are patient. You will be SO glad that you waited!!!
I am fostering puppies. Well, really my daughter is fostering puppies, and I am along for the ride. The back story is that All Aboard Animal Rescue brings puppies who are in “high kill” shelters in locations like New Mexico up to the Denver metro area. They vaccinate the dogs, get them cleaned up and host adoption events at Pet Smart to help find forever homes for these awesome animals. Our role is to foster the puppy for a few days until the forever home is found.
Last Saturday, we were volunteering at an adoption event. I noticed that every person who walked by had a story to tell about a current family dog or about a dog that they had as a child and how much joy this animal brought to their lives. The stories that they told were beautiful and inspiring. The best part is watching an unhappy, tired, grumpy person become transformed by the love and joy remembered when they describe their beloved companion.
So I have to ask the question, what would it be like if you felt this way about your employee?
In my training classes and in searches we begin for clients who are hiring, we always start by dreaming about the best employee that they have ever had. We then focus on how we can emulate finding an employee that brings satisfaction. Watching my clients transform from frustrated employers with open positions to fill into a smiling, relaxed client who just hired their next incredible employee is just like watching these adorable puppies go to their forever homes – utterly priceless, and I LOVE IT!
This is what life is all about.
So, if you are thinking about a puppy, go to www.aaanimalrescue.org, and pick one out. Maybe it is one that we just fostered. If you are looking to hire an incredible employee, call me. I can help.
My daughter, Katy and I were having a girls’ night in recently, complete with the Texas Longhorn football game, pajamas and of course, pizza. I asked her if she wanted to ride in the car with me to go pick up our food, and she enthusiastically agreed. Appearing to be ready to leave, she had on her pajama shorts, fuzzy purple slippers and her fleece peace sign jacket. I said “Its 49 degrees outside. You might want to change your pants.” So, she did. When she came out of her room with her chocolate brown moose p.j. bottoms, she looked at me, looked down at her pants, and giggling said “This does not match! Now I have to change my shirt!” After that, she had to change her jacket, until finally; we left to go get dinner. We laughed hysterically about the change of clothes from the bottoms up!
Many of my clients look at hiring in exactly the same way as my daughter got dressed. They react to the circumstances as opposed to having a plan. When the pants leave, we will make the new pants work with the old shirt, even though the materials are all wrong and the outfit doesn’t suit the occasion. With just a bit a planning, changing your pants doesn’t have to ruin your whole outfit. So, how do you plan to avoid wardrobe mismatches?
Here are a few tips:
First: Take the time to look at your entire outfit. Before hiring people, who do you need and why do you need them? Look at the vision for your company. Where are you going? What type of skills and people will get you there? Think big. Then define your ideal candidate on paper.
Second: Write the job description. Re-write the past version if you have one. Do not just reuse the old one. What worked before may not work now. Look at the position from a new perspective and re-create it. You have a golden opportunity to transform this role.
Third: Pull it all together when writing your ad. This is where you put the finishing touches on the position. Invite people to apply by sharing your vision, the ideal person description and technical skills required. Make it appealing to attract the person you are seeking.
To capture the attention of candidates, your presentation of your company is key. Be prepared. Make sure that the ideal candidate list matches the job description, which in turn matches the ad. It’s the entire outfit that makes the difference, not only to the candidate, but also ensures that you hire the right fit. Don’t just change your pants! Create a whole new look!
I have read multiple articles recently about writing resumes, and the primary school of thought is that a candidate has 3 second to capture the attention of the hiring manager. The resume has to be easy to scan, because the hiring manager is looking at hundreds of resumes, and they will only look at the candidate for 3 seconds.
Did you know that the same is true for candidates looking at job ads? When a candidate is applying for jobs online, they will review a ton of job ads in one sitting, and apply to those jobs that sound appealing.
So how do you write a job ad that stands out? Here are a few tips:
1) Do not use your job description as your job ad. Usually job descriptions are long and tedious to read, so candidates will not spend the time to read it fully and completely. They will scan it, and you have 3 seconds to capture their interest.
2) Use your mission statement in the first line of the ad. Candidates want to know that their work is playing a part in something larger than themselves. They want to know that their work matters, so tell them WHY your company is doing what it does.
3) Keep it short. Begin with your mission statement, use a few bullet points to tell candidates what you are looking for, and then give clear instructions on how to apply. You can always give candidates more information as the interview process continues.
When you are writing your job ad, remember this is a marketing piece. Make the ad a direct reflection of the job, the mission and the values of your company. It is an invitation for them to apply, and you want the tone to be positive. At the end of the day, you only have 3 seconds….
I recently I overheard a man complaining to his business partner about his administrative assistant.
“She just does not do the things that she is supposed to do! And then, I find her leaving early. I swear that I have told her 100 times to put our marketing packets together, and they are still not finished,” he said frustrated. “What do I do?”
His business partner said “Well, we need to set up a plan for her. We need to say to her that she needs to complete 3 packets a day every day next week.”
“While I am writing this plan for her, I might as well write down everything that she is not doing,” he sighed. “I have never thought of myself as a micro manager.”
For the next hour, these two gentlemen wrote down a schedule for the administrator. It included a lunch break and goals for exactly what they wanted her to do… basically a plan for how he would continue to micro manage her.
Why do we become micro managers? Rarely do I meet managers who LOVE to micro manage; in fact, most of them hate it. However, they do find it necessary at times to keep people on track.
If you find yourself micro managing your employees, examine why this change has occurred. Here are a few reasons:
In any case, your job is to have a conversation with the employee and create an environment of accountability, not micro management. Make sure that the tasks and duties are agreed upon and written down. Realize that micro management is a short term solution to a long term problem. Use it wisely and sparingly.
When a client calls me to help them screen and interview candidates, they are usually in a hurry. They need me to get started today, and frankly, they really needed me to start 3 weeks ago. The “hurry up” syndrome is a common issue at A-list Interviews.
However, hurrying through the interview process never works. Making a bad hiring decision just to put a “butt in the seat” is always more costly than having a little patience and truly screen and interview until you find your ideal new employee. Robert Plotkin, who wrote “Preventing Internal Theft” says “It is better to operate short-handed for a period of time and rely on your existing staff to cover… than hiring someone unqualified or inappropriate for the establishment.” I could not agree more.
As painful as it may seem to wait for the right person to come along in your interview process, it is always way more painful to bring a person onboard who is the wrong fit for your company. Consider the other factors that are included in hiring a misfit for your organization: reduce efficiency and down time for training, morale within the organization, the customer experience of a person who is not in alignment with the company just to name just a few. And in the end when you bring in a new employee just to fill a position, the likelihood that you will end up back in the interview process within the six months is incredibly high.
Stick to our A-list motto of “find the right employee the first time” and you will save yourself more time, money and headaches than you can imagine. The right employee is always worth the wait.