Monday, April 30, 2007

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Aristotle

"The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of work." Sarah Bolton

"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it is." Wayne Gretzky

To find the right people get the word out. Posting the job is a must and the start of an over-deliver on your EEO model. In your posting use the complete ideal candidate description. Write a job ad using the most important points from your ideal candidate description. Write a direct, tight ad aimed right at your ideal candidate. Use the name of your market in the headline. Take advantage of all the free posting opportunities including NAB, state association job banks, etc. Run a paid ad in the trade your ideal candidate is most likely to read. The most effective insertion is usually three times, any more is less effective (it also sends the wrong message). Use display ads rather than classified ads. If you need to run a classified ad for EEO run a small inexpensive ad once in the Sunday edition of your local daily.

depend on the ad and EEO outreach alone. No matter how good and well placed the ad is, no matter how extensive and deep your outreach it will not be enough to really get the word out. Yes the ad and outreach will deliver a flood of response but don't be confused by volume. You are looking not for candidates but the best qualified candidates. You are also building your talent bank. Hint: the majority of the best qualified candidates are not reading the want ads, they don't surf the job boards.

Enlarge a copy of your paid trade ad, paste into an email under a brief, to the point set up asking for help "Do you know the person that would be perfect for this opportunity? Would you please reply and let me know the name of the person that first comes to mind. Would you also be kind enough to please forward this email to the person you think would be ideal for this job? Thank you very much." Send this email to every person in your address book. Include vendors. Snail mail a copy of your ideal candidate description to every person in your address book, again including vendors. Hand write a note on each "Any ideas? Thanks for your help!" Sign the note including your direct dial.

Follow up by phone with your most trusted colleagues. They may have missed your ads, email and snail mail, however, they may have a great lead.

More trade secrets: Reach out to the best with the same business card. Looking for a great sales manager? Get in touch with the best sales managers. Whom are they mentoring? What names would make their short list if they had to replace themselves? Should time allow go one position up and two down. Ask GMs for the one that got away. Talk to LSMs, NSMs and NTR managers about the best GSM they ever worked for. Ask sellers what former manager they stay in touch with, the one they go to when they need important advice. Ask GMs, talent and producers about the best PDs. During the interviews with your short list get the names of former subordinates you can call for a reference if hiring a manager, former peers and support staff if a talent or seller. Traffic directors and business managers can be great resources when searching for strong sellers. Sellers and folks in the promotion department can give you the real deal on talent.

Do call your EEO outreach contacts during the search. Nobody does this. All it takes is one killer referral to pay off. FYI - it always pays off when you are looking for the best interns.

Don't use the line "No calls please." Treat every applicant as a candidate.

Have a system set up to deal with the response. This will be a daily grind but too typically the first and often biggest missed opportunity in recruiting. Respect the candidates. They have taken the time to notice your opportunity and send you a package, you need to show them some appreciation. It never fails that the person who is not qualified today is the perfect candidate four years from now. Ensure that you make a good first impression - no exceptions. Consider this the romance stage of recruiting. Log in all packages and phone calls. When candidates do call get more info including best days/times to return the call, cell phone, spouse's name etc. Set up an email account used only for recruiting. GreatJobs@. Better, create a named email account like Janice.Jones@. Send an email to candidates confirming your receipt of their package the same day it comes in. You will cut your incoming phone calls by half when candidates know that you have their package. Do set up a voice mailbox dedicated to your search. Remember to check it twice a day.

Why even take calls? Your ideal candidate may need to phone you to explain something or learn more before they apply. How soon are you hiring? Could you wait longer? They have six months left on their contract or they need to stay with their current employer until a closing to collect a retention bonus or they happen to be a single parent and need to wait some months until their kids are out of school. Lots of good reasons why a perfectly qualified candidate may need to have a brief phone call before sending a package. A manager emailed me suggesting we have a brief conversation. On the phone the manager said he would be very interested in the advertised opportunity if only he were legally available. In other words he was not then able to apply but could do so if we were able to wait a few weeks. Rather than scare away the ideal candidate with a "no calls please" line put a system in place to manage calls.

Start sorting packages immediately. Not qualified, qualified and best qualified. Get another on your team to check your work. Call the best qualified candidates as soon as possible. Give them your time line. Let them know what to expect next. Ask if they are "legally available" for hire. Get answers to any other "first questions" that come to mind when reviewing their package. Ask them if there is anything that you need to know that was not in their package? What questions do they have? Important - write these down. Call the qualified next. Set yourself apart, pull away from the pack and do call the not qualified at the end of your process before you announce your hire. One day they might be one of your best qualified.

Once you have a short list let those candidates know they are the finalists. After your hiring stay in close contact with your short list. Remember their special days. Birthdays, anniversaries, new jobs.

Create a tickler file using the data collected in your talent journal. You may find that a talent is not available now due to a multi-year contract, make a note of when they will be available to talk to you. While you may not have an opportunity when they do become available it is likely some other manager in your firm, or other trusted colleague, will be looking.

After your announcement send a thank you letter to every applicant. Request that they keep you up to date on any changes in their information. New job, new email, etc. Put all of the applicants into your talent bank. Next time you have a job opportunity send these folks the same notices you send to your address book. The idea is to leverage the contacts. On more occasions than I can remember this technique has paid off. An anchor recommended a killer sales manager to me, a sales manager once suggested a great news director, a sales person led me to a gifted general manager I would have never otherwise found, an overnight guy put me in touch with the perfect morning show, exactly the one we needed and would not have discovered on our own.

Under the gun? Got weeks or days to hire? As Bob Dylan famously wrote "money doesn't talk, it swears." Offer either a significant cash bounty or a luxury trip for two to the first to refer the new hire. Mention this in your emails and snail mails to your address book. Offer a signing bonus to new hires and include this in your ad as well as your emails and snail mail. In each case provide the detail to get the attention. Trip for two to Hawaii, first class air and five star luxury hotel included. $5,000 signing bonus. What's a significant bounty? Consider this. Recruiters are usually paid 30% of first year comp. In your most intellectually honest moment ask yourself "How much will it be worth to us if we get the right (insert job title here)?" The facts are you can not afford to hire the wrong person - that's expensive.

Continuous recruitment is hard work and more than just a good idea, it yields incredible ROI. Hiring is the single most critical process that every manager must master. You are as good as your team and as Tom Peters has said the best roster wins!

Hiring is a process not an event.

Never settle. The ideal candidate is out there, you have to find them. Go for greatness!

P.S. Many thanks for all the emails.


Anonymous said...


Long-time reader, first time commenter. This series of posts of hiring was better than GREAT!!!! Congrats. My question. No one gives a straight reference anymore. They will verify employment and offer not much more. How do you get around this and get to the truth? Thank you for your honest real world commentary! Alex