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The Growth Report
August 2012

Recruiting - Gettin' The Right Fish In The Boat

Recruiting can be a very draining experience for HR professionals and small business owners.  Questions like, "How are we going to find someone else? Where will we find them? How will we know if they will work?" can easily make the process seem overwhelming.  And when you have to do this process on a consistent basis, it can completely ruin any momentum for the company.  

What if we didn't have to wonder who was going to walk into our door?  What if we didn't have to worry about reading through a ton of resume's and applications?  What if this process were actually fun and energizing?  Well, I have good news for you.  This is actually possible!  There's just a few steps you need to implement to help the process.  I'd like to give you a few of the steps I've used for the past 20 years to recruit top workers into my organization.  

It all starts out with how you think about your recruiter.

Step One:  You have to make sure the person in charge of recruiting...IS A FISHERMAN!!  This is a classic mistake many companies make as they are at the very beginning of the process of improving their company.  Great companies are made up of great people!  So your recruiter needs to have a good eye, a specific skill set and a great passion for the company and it's culture.  If the recruiter is just punching a time clock and moving people in like cattle, you could have some real troubles on your hands.  This doesn't mean they're a bad employee, necessarily, they just may not be in the best "recruiter" for you.  

Have you ever noticed that people who are passionate about fishing are, well, a little crazy?  I mean they are totally into the chase and the catch!  They love thinking about the kind of fish they want to catch, where they can find it and how they can get it into their next photo op holding it in the air.  They love talkin about new techniques and equipment.  And they really love telling fish stories that showcase their skills and talents.  Fishermen love to fish, even if they're not catchin much.

I've also met some people that don't really like to fish... and I've been fishing with them!  That was a bad idea.  They weren't having fun, they didn't "get it" and they didn't really care what they caught as long as they caught something. 

I guarantee when the pro's go out to fish in a tournament, they're not just hopin for whatever they snag on the line.  They have put a lot of thought into this.  They have filled their tacklebox with all the right tools.  They've scouted out the lake to know where the best fish will be found.  They

Step Two:  If you're fishin for a specific fish, YOU HAVE TO USE SPECIFIC BAIT!  I never was a great fisherman, but I learned as a little kid that Perch love grasshoppers!  I'd sit on the floating dock on our ranch and fish for hours with grasshoppers waiting for that big Big Mouth Bass.  The problem was, I was using bait that attracted all the Perch!  The Bass couldn't get to the hook because of all the Bluegill fightin for the bait!  When it comes to recruiting top employees, we can do the very same thing.  Most companies have some sort of a system in place to get employees.  But that's just it, the system is JUST TO GET EMPLOYEES, NOT TOP EMPLOYEES!  The same bait doesn't work for everyone.  

As a recruiter of top employees, you have to know what they're hittin' on and make sure you've got it in your tackle box!  What is your culture like in your company?  What characteristics set you apart from others in your industry?  Are these characteristics clearly defined?  Your company mission statement is the hook, but your company culture is the bait!  It's what attracts people to you.  QuikTrip has some good bait (many other places sell gas).  Starbucks has some good bait (many other places sell coffee).  Chik-fil-A has some good bait (many other places sell chicken sandwiches).  What is your bait?  If you haven't thought about this, then that probably explains why recruiting has been so difficult and draining.  

Once you have identified your bait, you simply need to begin discovering what type of person is wanting what you have!  What will this catch?  If you don't like what it catches, you need to take a good look at the bait and determine if you want to keep it.  However, to coin a phrase, "There's plenty of fish in the sea" and I'm sure there are some quality fish looking for just what you have.

Step Three:  Finally, all the great fishermen have a SECRET FISHIN' HOLE!  This is truly the "magic" of the masters.  They've found the mystical place where they can go and pull out the trophies every time!  

It took me a while, but I finally discoverd the genius in this.  I have several different positions that I hire for in my company.  Each position requires some specific personality traits to be remarkable.  For instance, I learned from Chet Cadieux, President and CEO of QuikTrip that your frontline workers need to be outstanding at making a first impression.  I'm all over this!  I'm looking for a sharp look, confident, likable, and engaging (and humerous as well).  And I've got a fishin' hole for this!  Most of my frontline workers are young, entry level kids.  I'm looking for athletes, leaders and kids in student government to fill these roles.  SO I GO WHERE I KNOW I'LL FIND THEM!  I hit the schools and introduce myself to coaches and teachers that can open doors for me to connect with these kids.  This is my fishin' hole!

Maybe you're not looking for high school or college kids so try this.  Big fish tend to hang out together!  You know what they say, "You are like the people you hang around"?  These top employees hang out with other top employees!  Talk with your outstanding employees about their friends!  They know your culture and what it's like to be successful in your company.  They know what it takes and who can handle it.  This is another productive tool I've used a lot in my recruiting.

Taking Action:  So what do you do with this?  Let me ask you a few questions?
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, how confident are you that your company has a "fisherman" for remarkable employees?
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, how confident are you that your company is using the right "bait" to catch outstanding employees?
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, how confident are you that your company is aware of the "secret fishin' hole" for top employees?

What do you think?  If you scored under 7 on any of these, it's time to make some changes in your recruiting!  I promise you, making positive changes in this one area of recruiting has the potential to vastly enhance your company's bottom line, not to mention how much it will improve company morale!  Now I'm going to say the obvious... If you want different results, you're going to have to start thinking differently.  Are you serious about attracting the best employees to your company?  If you'll follow these steps, you'll be well on your way!


In This Issue

• Recruiting - Gettin' The Right Fish In The Boat

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