Delivering the Systems and Expertise You Need to Confidently Make Great Hiring Decisions
I continue to hear from Recruiters, Journalists and even Business owners that now is a great time to pick up talent because of how high the unemployment rate is. I’ve written in the past about how I think that now is a great time to be RECRUITING as well but not because of the growing number of the unemployed. I’m not going to re-hash that here. Instead, this post is going to focus on what Jack Daly considers the difference between Recruiting and Absorbing.
I’d like to start by sharing that I live in Austin, TX (yes, it is as cool as you’ve heard). In this town we’re proud of live music, barbeque and, probably above all, Longhorn Football. Mack Brown is the Head Coach (aka the CEO) of the team.
Right now, spring practices are done and the coaching team is spending all of their time figuring out (1) what’s our depth chart for the fall (2) who are the top High School Sophomores at each position in Texas and the US and (3) how are we going to convince young men from around the country to pay us $300+ to come to our camp so that they can be seen by our coaches when every other school in the country wants them to do the same?
The reason I brought up point #3 is because it’s not unlike the current marketplace for Businesses looking to land top talent. How? Hundreds of young men will descend upon Austin in the coming weeks and happily throw down their $300 camp fee. While the coaching staff has a responsibility to treat every camper fairly by providing them with a safe place to stay, healthy food and some nominal feedback about how to improve, it’s the 8-10 players that they personally invited in for the camp that they are focusing their attention on. Every once in a while a young man who shows up and was unheralded impresses the coaches and gets a shot scholarship but it’s rare.
I hope you’re seeing the direct parallel between the people who are applying for jobs at your company as opposed to the people who you have to fight to get.
With that in mind, let’s go back to Mack Brown’s role in this recruiting process. Because he has the advantage of knowing who the top 10 Prep Quarterbacks or Linebackers are by subscribing to the industry publications that track this data, he can carefully place phone calls to these young men to get them excited about the program.
Focus because here’s the crux of the blog post: After Mack Brown gets off the phone with a young man who he’d like to see as his starting quarterback in 2011, do you think he sends that 16 year old a copy of a job description for what a Quarterback does?
Let’s bring it all back to your business: here are the 5 questions you have to ask YOURSELF when recruiting and then share with your “top recruits”:
1. Why come to work here?
2. What are we (as a company) doing to ensure that our team is successful?
3. How can you (our prized recruit) be sure that the reputation of our company is exceptional?
4. Where is our greatest opportunity for growth in the marketplace?
5. What are the most compelling reasons to join the team here?
If you’ve read the book Who you would know that these are also part of the 5 F’s (Fame, Family, Fortune, Fun and Fit). By asking yourself these questions as the CEO or Hiring Manager you’re attempting to proactively answer a lot of these concerns that a recruit would have.
If you’d like to pick up a great book for the weekend and learn how college football is answering each of these questions, check out Meat Market: Inside the smash mouth world of College Football Recruiting by Bruce Feldman.
Bonus food for thought: if Mack Brown needed a starting quarterback in 2011 and he didn’t start thinking about it until 2 weeks before the season started, would he start placing ads on CraigsList with the hopes someone would apply that he could hire?
Tags: 5 F's, A-Player, A-Players, Austin, bruce feldman, Fame, Family, Fit, Fortune, Fun, geoff smart, hiring manager, jack daly, longhorn football, mack brown, proactive recruiting, recruit don't absorb, recruiting versus absorbing, talent acquisition, unemployment, unemployment rate, who the book
I found myself watching the Texas Longhorns today on television (Hook ‘em!) and was reminded of a conversation I had just the other day with a friend who was quoting the Kelleher mantra of “Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill”.
Here’s my issue with the Kelleher school of thinking: if Mack Brown (the Longhorns Head Coach) went around the great state of Texas looking for the best athletes every spring he’d get a lot of notoriety from the writers that follow college football but they’d all probably be scratching their heads as the signings of Running Backs, Wide Receivers and Cornerbacks stacked up. The point: when Coach Brown sits with his staff they have to talk about the specific skill sets that they need, both today and for the next few years. These skill sets often don’t include just being really fast or being able throw a football 80 yards. They’ll also need offensive linemen who have great footwork, linebackers with a combination of size, speed and a nose for the ball.
The point of my blog post: if you’re only hiring flight attendants, trying to get people with great attitude, regardless of their background, is a pretty good idea. If you’re building a team that requires different skill sets working in tandem to execute on your strategic initiatives and drive profit you need to know the skills that you’ll need first before you can determine if an ambitious, willing and chipper recent college graduate could be your Vice President of Operations because of their attitude.