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Hiring Apathy: The Well-intentioned Internal Enemy of Small Businesses
As business leaders we all claim to want the best talent on our team. We tout impressive benefits, great working conditions, and a strong desire to only field our teams with winners. It is no secret that bad employees not only drain company resources, they can hurt sales efforts and damage relationships with internal and external customers. Many of us ask: How did that happen? Why do we keep making the same mistakes? The answers often revolve around the fear and dread that surrounds the selection process.
In our professional lives we are taught how to sell, manage, and implement processes but often times learning how to hire the best people is overlooked. This lack of training causes a subtle degree of self-doubt and that doubt causes us to be less proactive in confronting the selection process. That can result in people losing the direction and motivation they need to implement the best recruiting strategies. This all eventually turns into apathy.
Personally, I have fought my own apathy demons. I have discovered that they rear their ugly heads for the reasons listed below. It is refreshing to get these issues off my chest, so I won’t hold back.
1. I am naturally lazy when it comes to activities I don’t like.
2. When I need to fill a position I feel desperate.
3. It’s hard to find really good people.
4. It takes way too much time and patience to hire the best people.
5. I think I am a better interviewer than I really am.I am more interested in doing the things I like to do, for instance helping customers or dealing with other so called “more pressing matters”.
Are you haunted by a similar sense of lingering guilt? I find that the first step to recovery is being honest with yourself. It hurts, but it has to be done if you’re ever going to improve. So, how do we defeat our own apathy?
1. Be honest with yourself:
A.Take some time to reflect on what is stopping you from doing what you know is right. Write down all the reasons why you don’t take the time to run a highly effective selection process.
2. Realign your priorities:
A. When you have a position to fill, ask yourself: if I don’t give this the time and attention it needs so I can hire the right person the first time, how busy and overwhelmed will I be later?
B. The point of having employees is to make your life easier. If you are a manager or a business owner that says, “If I don’t do it, it will never get done right”, you have a major problem.
C. If you spend the time to build a great team, think about all the free time you could have later on. Think about how the right people will increase revenue and productivity. While the process of selecting the best people can be a slippery slope, it can lead you in the right direction. Amazing things happen even when you hire one top performer. Now, imagine two or three high achievers on your team.
3. Be realistic about how long it actually takes to find the best people:
A. For high level positions give it 3-6 months. I know that sounds crazy. How could you possibly survive that long without filling a key role? Trust me, you will be better off if you take the time to do it right.
B. For mid-level positions, give yourself 2-4 months to find a really good person.
C. For entry level positions, give yourself 1-3 months.
D. Think about all it entails. You have to place the job ads, you have to phone-screen potential candidates, and you have to go through at least three rounds of interviews, followed by back ground checks, reference checks, and aptitude and competency assessments.
4. Create a strategy:
A. When you don’t have a well thought out plan it can be hard to stay focused.
B. Check out some of the top rated books on hiring. Any strategy is better than none at all.
C. Write down your strategy and use it consistently. You never implement a marketing strategy that you couldn’t measure the results of, so why would you do that in your hiring practices? If you are consistent then you can figure out what works and what doesn’t, over time.
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