employee, what employee

I’m not sure when it happened.  It may have been my first hire, or it may have been my most recent attempts to hire, once again, for a position with my company.  At some point, and maybe a few others, I have decided that the future of our world will soon be in peril. The reason is simple and not surprising to anyone that has to hire employees: many wannabe employees have zero work ethic.

That may seem a bit cruel and I am certain that there are some smart, talented people that want to be employed and understand the first rule of success is to show up.  What many wannabe employees may not know is that the fifth rule of success is to get rid of the trash. Which is to say, if it isn’t helping you, it is likely hurting you.  Therefore, it needs to go away. By it, in some cases, I mean people.

Let me tell you a story that triggered this much delayed blog.

We have been working on hiring a phenomenal person at a fair rate for months now for a position that is harder than some but has perks that most jobs do not have.  The challenges to fill this position include getting the want ad out on whatever medium people looking for jobs may land, paying more to that medium to get the job noticed over and above the thousand or so other want ads, and having a call to action to get potential employees to take the next step.

So we did that and received a bunch of resumes.  The majority of them were worthless. When a candidate puts on their resume a job that they held for anything less than three months, I know they are stretching to fill space.  In three months they probably barely got trained, let alone gained any real usable skills. Most resumes in that realm will show a bunch of jobs the applicant could not hold onto.  The common denominator is someone we are not interested in working with.

Hiring is expensive and time consuming.  We don’t want to do it more than we need to.

One day, we happened to come across a unicorn.  Good job history, good grammar and she seems intelligent.  So we call her up to schedule an interview. Jackpot! She has a great phone voice.  Which for a company that lives and dies on the phone, a great phone voice is paramount.  She is nice, and that means we not only want an interview with her, we are ready to hire.  As in, right now.

So we schedule the interview as a formality a few days down the road to fit her schedule.  About an hour before the interview she emails in that she found a different position and cannot make it to the interview.  We respond that we wish her the best, sorry it didn’t work out and if she ever finds herself looking again to keep us in mind.

She mentions that the gig is some idealistic something or other that will only run for five months.

She was so awesome I put her email in my tickler file to reach back out to in four and a half months.

That time goes by, and I reach out to her again.  She is ready to find a new gig and ours seems like a perfect fit.  She doesn’t want to schedule the interview for another two weeks, so we wait.  Then it dawns on me that I am being setup again.

So I place more ads to reach more people and essentially hedge my bet.

One hour before the interview with the previously great candidate and she informs us she found a different gig, appreciates how nice we are and that we will talk soon.
No.  No, we won’t.  

We will hire a different awesome person and she will go on wasting other business owners time and money.  Presumably not with that intention, but certainly with that result.

What is a business owner to do?

Well, so far the secrets to hiring I have learned include:

  1. Use the most boring title in the world in your ad.  The fun titles don’t get nearly as many applicants.
  2. Have a boring description.  This goes against everything I like to write, but the end result is more applicants.
  3. Have a clear next step for the candidates to follow.  Most of them are incapable of even fogging a mirror, so you need at least a 2 inch bar for them to hurdle.
  4. Have group interviews initially.  You need people and you don’t want to spend a lot of time vetting candidates.  It helps if you don’t tell your candidates it will be a group interview. That way you don’t scare anyone away or have them assume they won’t be missed.
  5. Expect no one to show up.  The volume of candidates that schedule an interview and end up ghosting is insane to me.  A phone call or email letting us know you prefer to be somewhere else is just good manners.  Skipping that step means you are embarrassed about your own actions. Hopefully they will enjoy working that gas station at 1am and wondering why the world is treating them so harshly.
  6. Keep trying to find the right candidate.  Your unicorn is out there, just keep looking.  As long as the pay is decent and the job is practical, you can find the right person.  It just takes time and a bit of luck. The rule is you try again, until you get what you want.  Tweak as you see fit.
  7. Don’t hate the world.  This one is challenging.  Especially when you have eight people scheduled for a group interview and the only one that shows up has more baggage than the back of a packed jumbo jet.  Interestingly, think of all of the wars in the future that no one will show up for. Maybe this will be good, after all.
  8. Always be hiring.  You have to constantly be searching for your unicorn.  At restaurants, in stores, at the fair. Wherever you see people that have skills that you need in your business be ready to meet these people and offer them a chance to work with your awesome business.  The challenge, of course, is to not be creepy. Though you still need to let them know you are serious. Where a shirt that says, “I’m Hiring!” if you think it will help.

The bottom line is your business is awesome.  That is why you are reading these blogs. So if you get your unicorn to work with you, even for a few years, they will be better people because of it.  The world is a better place because you will grow and nurture your employees to be better people.

That is what makes it all worthwhile.

That and making a few bucks in the process.

James Kademan is a Business Coach for Draw In Customers Business Coaching in Madison, Wisconsin as well as the author of The BOLD Business Book. When he isn’t helping his clients hire the best unicorns, he is busy guiding entrepreneurs to success in business and beyond. He blogs successfully to the world at www.drawincustomers.com. If you are considering hiring a business coach, take a moment to call James at (608)210-2221.  Appreciate the people you have and constantly search for the next unicorns to help your business grow.

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