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Attracting and Recruiting Good People

by Jeff Gau on May 5, 2011

Whether it’s having dinner at my favorite restaurant or enjoying a sporting event, I am always actively recruiting good people to join our organization. You never know where you will find them.

Last fall while dining at a local restaurant with family and co-workers, I noticed the warm and outgoing personality of one the waiters. After several more visits to the restaurant, he continued to impress me with his pleasant attitude and personalized service so I decided to initiate a conversation about his desired career path. He indicated that he was interested in pursuing a sales career after he graduated from college. We recently hired Michael as a sales representative for our Twin Cities market.

Another example is when I was serving on the local YMCA board and heard a presentation by a student who was representing his college at the meeting. As we walked to the parking lot, I asked him about his future plans. I gave him my card and told him to give me a call when he was ready for a professional sales career. Fast forward 10 years and Trevor is now one of Marco’s sales directors.  

I’ve never had problems finding good people. Why? It starts with developing a workplace culture where people want to work and then using a healthy mix of traditional and untraditional recruiting tools – not unlike an effective marketing campaign. I still believe in using traditional newspaper and online advertising. But in addition, I am also constantly in the recruiting mode for potential candidates - even when there are no job openings. I try to encourage our leadership team to do the same. It’s a good practice and the price is right (free).Succession Planning at All Levels
A positive outcome of always recruiting is you develop a potential “bench” of replacement candidates should you lose a team member. Succession planning shouldn’t be limited to just the executive level, but include all important roles in your organization. Even if a job opening doesn’t exist today, building an informal pool of candidates for future positions is a good idea and makes it easier when the need arises.  

I have identified backups for every member of our executive team and some of them do not currently work in our organization. Even if a leader is not nearing retirement, I believe in having a “Plan B” for important positions and building a network of qualified people who can step in if needed.

Intentional Conversations
Whether it’s over lunch, at a cocktail party, or at some other event, I intentionally try to connect with people that would appear to fit into the Marco culture. I make it a habit of being a good listener and learning more about them on a personal level, keeping in mind that life changes may create opportunities. What I mean by that is if people are about to experience a life change–like perhaps starting a family and needing to reduce work travel, or their family grew and they want to work part-time; or even if they are looking to make a career change–this creates opportunity to recruit. Some of our best hires have been recruited because of lifestyle needs – not money.

Attracting and recruiting good people is a high priority of mine. In fact, I dedicate over half my time – formally and informally – to it.

Marco has gained a reputation for being a place where people want to work. Even before the job market tightened, we quickly filled positions with the right people.  Today, most of our new hires have current employment. They usually are giving up a good job to come to our organization. I encourage you to always be recruiting.

Topics: Recruiting, Hiring

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