Slow to hire, quick to fire?! 1/2

As put in the book ‘Good to great’, by Jim Collins, in order to develop a great company, one of the key aspects is getting the right people on board. As with all key aspects, they are easily said, but not so easily executed. Hiring staff comes with lots of challenges, risks and huge investments (both time and money-wise). Many companies have the strategy of hiring lots of people and seeing who will succeed, often they find it impossible to assess individuals beforehand. This article aims to give pointers to a manager who wants to make better hires, reduce the risk of hiring failures and create an atmosphere where all people involved are likely to succeed.

Slow to hire: Eliminating the risk of hiring failures

Hiring involves a lot of investment with a focus on quality assurance. As with all investments, the aim is to make them as profitable as possible by minimizing the failure risk and maximizing the assessment prior to the hire.

In order to calculate the profitability of a hire, we should look at the total investment involved in a single hire.

Recruitment investment

The investment in recruiting and getting a new staff member up to speed is more than the investment in a recruitment agency or a job board. They can form a big part of the investment though. You can lower the costs of third-party services by creating a ‘join our team’ -page and getting in contact with talents yourself.

Create a ‘join our team’-page
By setting up a search-friendly webpage you can pull job seekers to your own website, instead of going after them yourself. For this purpose it is very important to create a welcoming page, with a good overview of all working conditions and your expectations of an individual. Don’t forget the call-to-action!

Getting in contact with the right candidates
Networking is a key-element in promoting your company. Getting in contact with potential candidates can be done both in public and online. Just like with marketing a company to get in touch with potential clients, it is important to market ‘ working at the company’ to get in touch with the right candidates. Answering the P’s from our marketing classes might come in handy:

  • Product: What does working at our company mean?
  • Place: Where do our potential colleagues hang out?
  • Promotion: How can we reach our potential colleagues there?
  • Price: What should we do to  offer optimal working conditions for our candidates? Not only the remuneration but especially the secondary conditions, like working space, flexibility, company outings, etc.
Of course, the P-model has been extended over the years, so you could bother to also fill in the other P’s, like:
  • Peripheral clues: Where should we be located to appeal to our potential candidates?
  • Presentation: How can we improve our image so that it fits the image our candidates dream about?
  • Partners: What partners add value to our business, e.g. from a marketing perspective (only promote yourself on the best-known blogs) or product development (what techniques are used) perspective
  • Process: How well structured is the company and the processes (hiring, but also for day-to-day activities), sometimes this is expressed by ISO-certifications e.g.
  • Physical evidence: What companies or industries that might interest your potential candidates are using your services / products already?

Add a little guerilla tactics to your strategy

Inconvential companies look for inconvential people, and thus need inconvential tactics to address their potential hires.

A few years back an Amsterdam based advertising agency decided to wash the windows of a competitor’s building. And, looking at the shirts they wore while doing it (‘join our agency’), not only because they wanted the other agency to have a clear view…

Lately, Brussels based agency Ogilvy pulled an even farther-fetched stunt, really going to the edge. Ogilvy uploaded a file to downloading sites, seeming to be a cracked version of the full Adobe Creative Suite software. But in fact it was a file, containing a job advertisement of the agency itself. The idea behind this campaign was to get in touch with young talented designers without the budget to buy the real deal (yet). Appreciate the whole campaign via:

In the next article, we’ll be talking about what happens after the hire.

About the author

Over the past few years Walter van der Scheer has been evangelizing marketing automation to advertising agencies, e-commerce companies and co-workers alike and has been building a team of determined sales professionals. He has made progress, but the road ahead is still very long. Walter shares his personal experiences and challenges along the road of changing the way that marketing is done, while trying to stick to the strategically chosen path. +

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