— Shakespeare’s Hamlet
In that case, I THINK the process of finding and hiring a competent employee is the single most painful, disappointing, tiresome and annoying part of running a business. There is a REASON I keep a bottle of good old Tennessee Honey Jack under my desk. I completely understand why so many small business owners make bad hiring decisions: you’re so WORN-OUT from wading through a crowd of sheer mediocrity and laziness that you lose all hope of ever finding someone with a good attitude and solid work ethic who can add 2 + 5 without their smartphone and spell “cat” without auto-correct.
Case in point: Of the 94 résumés I’ve received for a marketing manager position I’ve been advertising for over a month, less than 5% followed the instructions on how to respond to the ad. Out of that miniscule group, over 75% had typos on their résumés or couldn’t (wouldn’t?) complete the Career History Form I sent them. One constantly spelled my FIRST name wrong. Repeatedly. (It’s R-O-B-I-N). Another called in and was clearly inebriated. At 9:00 a.m.. Another was the owner of a small business marketing consulting company; the reason he was looking for a job? “Lack of sales.” I was also advertising for an inside sales position and one person put this as the reason they were leaving their previous job to apply for another sales position: “The pressure of a quota.” What’s scarier? They don’t even think this is bad behavior. I had another guy admit he constantly showed up late for work by a few hours. When I asked him why that was? He couldn’t get out of bed. The best? Someone who didn’t show up for an interview because he “needed to get a shower,” explaining he hadn’t had one in a while—now lovingly referred to as “shower boy” around the office.
Of course, it’s important that you fire fast—even if you don’t have the next candidate lined up. Most don’t, of course, and end up keeping slothful, lazy, disgruntled employees FAR past their due date; and just like sour milk left in the fridge, it NEVER turns fresh. I’m learning this lesson myself the HARD way. But the second biggest mistake you can make is hiring fast out of desperation, feeling pressured to hire the “best” candidate who happens to have six face piercings, a forked tongue, sports an “I hate authority” T-shirt and has a marijuana leaf tattooed to his neck after showing up three hours late, with no references, and sits and texts his friends the entire time you’re interviewing him.
In a recent Million-Dollar Earners Series interview with Chris Izquierdo, Co-Founder, DevFacto Technologies, he said he’s constantly running help wanted ads even if he’s not hiring at the moment. If he finds someone who would be a great fit, he interviews them and tells them they don’t have a position right now, but may have one in the future if they’d like him to reach out when one opens up. This keeps a “virtual” bench on standby of excellent candidates he can immediately go to when the need arises. Smart. I’ve not done this in the past but you sure-as-shit can bet I’m gonna start doing it. Today.
The good news is that there are a few…and I mean FEW…who are exceptional. I have interviewed at least two people who are extremely bright, enterprising and professional for the marketing manager position. I’m not sure they are a 100% perfect fit, but I’m keeping their résumés close at hand. A delightful spark of inspiration and hope that I can find more people like my current team. Further, I’ve managed to recruit two new employees in December. Both are extremely competent, positive and professional, with a track record of producing. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I have high hopes they will be with us for a long time and significantly increase the sales and profits of my company. True multipliers.
Because finding, hiring and keeping true “A” players is such a critical, key component of growing a healthy, profitable business (not to mention keeping your sanity), I’ve invested heavily in bringing Geoff Smart, author of the book Who, to Boot Camp this year. Geoff is Brad Smart’s son; if you’re unfamiliar with him, Brad created Topgrading, which is the only hiring method ever created that routinely triples hiring success. Personally, it has given me a blueprint for hiring that has proven to be highly successful—and I wanted to bring this to all of you, my clients, who I know struggle with hiring.
At Boot Camp, Geoff will be conducting a “seminar within a seminar” on how to find, hire and recruit TOP candidates, and you will leave with a blueprint in your hand of how to hire your next “A” player. This session alone will be worth the entire trip. I’d strongly recommend you get your tickets now as we have sold out every year: www.RobinsBigSeminar.com
So here we are in January and the race has already started; blink and it’ll be December 2015 before you know it. There is NO time to waste, and if you have any hope of growing your business profitably, you WILL need to find and recruit a competent team you can trust. If you don’t have that NOW, I can guarantee you’re spending 90% of your day watching over, correcting and cleaning up the messes they’re making—and no one can drive a car forward if you’re constantly having to lean back over the seat to try and keep a bunch of rowdy kids from killing each other, unbuckling their seat belts and crawling around, throwing food, crying hysterically and writing on the windows with a permanent marker, essentially trashing your car. It’s more than a distraction—it’s a DANGER TO YOU. You’ll crash because you’re too damned distracted to focus on what you should be focused on: driving the car forward. A long time ago I realized that the ONLY way I’m ever going to have a life and a successful, SELF-MANAGING business is to learn how to get results through other people. In this area, you are either succeeding or failing. And it matters not if you’re small and just starting up or if you’re relatively established. One thing is for certain: your business results—and the quality of service you deliver—are directly tied to the quality of your team. The longer you tolerate anything less than excellence, the closer and closer you move toward mediocrity and failure. Bad attitudes flourish and fester. “Good enough” becomes the mantra. So does entitlement. And if you’re lying awake at night thinking about—worrying about—things your employees are screwing up, overlooking and dropping the ball on, you need to fix this FAST. By your results in this area, we’ll see your resolve.