Break the Pattern of Bad Hiring

Contributed by Greg Moran, the co-founder of the Tech Valley Angel Network, a not-for-profit organization formed to bring together Tech Valley entrepreneurs and investors. Moran also serves as president and CEO of Talent Management Group LLC and PeopleAnswers America. His book, “Building the Talent Edge: A Manager’s Guide to Recruiting the Best,” was released in May 2005.

After working with hundreds of growing and emerging businesses on recruitment issues for more than a decade, I can say one thing with certainty: Most entrepreneurs, while paying lip service to the critical task of identifying and landing talent, treat the actual task of recruitment as administrative in nature and best left delegated until the final stages of candidate screening. Alternately, great entrepreneurs view themselves as the company’s Chief Recruiting Officer and drive the process as if their business depended on it … because it does. Building and maintaining a healthy pipeline of talent must be our top priority as entrepreneurs. Recruiting must mirror the sales process. At its essence, recruiting is selling, and the sale made in recruiting and landing a future top performer is the largest sale a company can make. My talent-recruiting process looks like this:

Define the Market
I first seek to understand the type of person who stands the best chance of excelling in my company. I think less about skills and experience, and more about cognitive skills, personality and cultural fit.

Position the Product
The same amount of care and thought I put into positioning and marketing my company’s main product is put into positioning my company as an attractive employer.

Recruiting is all about widening the net to give the largest population from which to choose. Prospecting for talent must be constant and systematic with the net always cast.

Raise the standards of hiring. Exclusivity breeds desire and desire breeds selectivity. I want to be viewed as an exclusive employer only seeking the best.

Eliminate surprises. Personal interests, spousal considerations, relocation, benefits (actual and fringe), children and work environment will affect a candidates decision more than salary. Be prepared to deal with their concerns and you will close the sale every time.

You are most likely your company’s top sales person. You are also its top recruiter. Put a sales process in place to build the talent pipeline and land the best, consistently and systematically, and then watch your company grow. Don’t forget that a world-class team makes your quality of life a little better along the way, and isn’t that what our entrepreneurial dreams are all about?

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