Have you ever found yourself in a desperate hiring situation because you have an unplanned void to fill on your staff? Has your “least likely to quit” employee walked into your office on a Friday afternoon explaining they have been presented with an opportunity they can’t pass up? Have you ever been on vacation with your family when the phone rings and your Office Manager explains that one of your employees got upset and walked off the job? Is hiring a skill you have not quite mastered?
My guess is that if you’re a small business owner, you have been faced with a vacant position on your staff unexpectedly. The feeling you get is probably something like a wave crashing down on you while swimming in the ocean! You feel like you can’t reach the surface quick enough to get that much needed breathe of air.
I work with clients every day that get this feeling much too often. In fact, I find myself gasping for air for them!
When we are forced into making a hiring decision quickly, we will more often than not make the wrong decision.
Here are some of the thoughts and questions that went through my mind before I figured out there was so much more pain to be endured when I brought the wrong employee into my company.
- The candidate seems to have a poor attitude, but I am sure I can charm them into correcting that.
- There are not many choices of people who applied, so let me see who would be the least worst candidate.
- At least he/she won’t be quite as bad as my worst performer.
- I need to fill this vacancy or our customers will suffer.
- If I don’t get someone in this position quickly, my other employees will quit.
Big Mistakes Occur From Hiring Too Quickly
After being “under the gun” to make quick hiring decisions one too many times, here are the thoughts that go through my head when I see others making the same mistakes I have made:
- When a candidate presents with a poor attitude in an interview… it will probably be downhill from there. After all, the candidate should be on their best behavior in an interview.
- When there are not many choices of people applying for the position….What other resources can I look at to generate more interest in the position? Are we networking and spreading the word to the people we know have an open position? Do we have our ad crafted to accurately depict the qualifications of the individual we want to hire?
- When the candidate is not as bad as my worst performer….We are stretching it! Under this thought process, we are only finding a temporary solution to the problem. This is really taking a chance of making a bad hire!
- Filling a void so customers won’t suffer…. But are we really looking at the quality of service we will be giving our customers? Quality is just as important!
- When concerned about others quitting….They will quit just as quickly if they have to carry more of the load for an employee that is not qualified to do the job.
The Best Time to Recruit is Now!
Recruit by definition means “seek to employ”. It does not mean that if you seek to employ that you must employ!
After going to the school of hard knocks and being caught numerous times with a vacancy on my staff that caused me to gasp for air and hire the wrong people, I figured out I needed to do something different. I don’t know about you, but I can see things more clearly and make much better decisions when I am not feeling pressured to make a hasty decision.
It took me a minute, but I figured out the best time to recruit was when I did not have an opening on my staff. Yes…..when I did not have an opening! Here are some things I put into place to minimize the need for hasty hiring decisions:
- I set aside time in my schedule to work on succession planning. I took a few minutes to review all my employees and thought about if I lost that person, could I promote from within or would I need to hire from the outside. I also ranked my employees from highest performers to lowest performers.
- I made a list of all the possible ways to generate an applicant pool for my company. There are many resources available. Some cost money but others are available at no charge. (An example of this is most local universities have job boards. I recommend always having an ad on the job board of your local university.)
- I periodically ran ads in the paper or on the internet.
- I scheduled time on my calendar to interview people weekly. The amount of time you allocate to this task should be determined by your applicant flow and your turnover rate.
- Any time I was in the community I handed my business card to individuals that gave me good service. I would say to them “my company is always looking for people that give good customer service. If you are ever in the market for a new job, please give me a call”. What’s the worst that can happen here? You just gave someone the ultimate compliment!
- When I had an employee that I was developing, I would train them to review resumes and conduct initial interviews.
- I would encourage other employees to be on the “lookout” for good people looking for jobs.
The Perfect Match
Okay, so here comes the BIG problem. You are fully staffed and committed to dedicating time to recruit. Along comes the “Slam Dunk” employee. What to do, what to do? Here are some suggestions:
- Remember that ranking list you did? The one where you ranked the performance of each employee. Is there someone on your ranking list that is not meeting your expectations? Can they be coached? Or, is it time to replace the problematic employee with the “Slam Dunk”?
- If you are comfortable with your current staff, explain to the candidate you don’t have an opening at this time. Agree to stay in contact with the individual. Take them to lunch on occasion so that you both will get to know each other.
- Place the resume in a folder for future open positions. When the opportunity presents itself, you will have a major portion of the work and decision process already handled.
Recruiting is one of the many functions of running a business. Proper planning and dedicated time to do a good job will assist in avoiding costly mistakes in the future. Why not start planning to hire your next “Slam Dunk” by scheduling time into your calendar dedicated for recruiting NOW!
For additional help you may be interested in Hire Power: Find People You Trust and Trust The People You Hire, a 3 Part System to recruiting, hiring, and managing your team.