We talked earlier this week about how leaders need to invest to get the best ROI on their time investments. I believe the number one responsibility of leader is recruiting, developing, and retaining key people for their organization.
Today, we talk about recruiting, something I have significant experience in, having recruited recent college grads to managing directors for nonprofits, to CXO level leaders in Fortune 10 global organizations. I’m often asked what advice I would give leaders about recruiting great people. I believe all great leaders are great at recruiting others to their teams. I’ve never met a great leader who couldn’t recruit other key people for their organizations.
The first rule of great recruiting is you must become a great leader. You must work to improve and develop your leadership skills. There are many great books out there about all the technical aspects of recruiting, but in my experience, you must be willing to work on yourself if you hope to recruit and attract great people. Great people want to work for great people. I wish it wasn’t true, but over the years I’ve seldom had a hard time recruiting for great leaders.
When I take on new clients, one of the first questions I ask them is what great book they have read recently. What did they find interesting about it? Try it out with people you know, great leaders are readers. Great recruiters can connect through personal and professional growth and development.
The second rule of great recruiting is you must attract great people. Learn to tell the truth about what you want from the person you’re hoping to hire. Learn to share all the different parts of the role, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Great talent magnets know that there is a great person looking for their unique challenge. I’ve had many challenging clients over the years. I’ve discovered that for every challenging client, there are just as many people looking for unique challenges for their careers. Oh I can hear you thinking, “Tripp, if I tell the truth, won’t I miss the great person that can’t see how great my opportunity is?” One of my favorite phrases is better to dodge a bullet, than take one.
One of my early mentors, Mark Wells, used to tell me when the chemistry is right between leaders you cannot break the deal. This doesn’t mean that we don’t see deals that fall apart at the last minute, but typically it’s because one person was unclear what the other should expect from them. Learn to build your recruiting relationship on trust and it will last well beyond your initial recruiting efforts. In many cases, I find the right candidate one person away from who I initially tried to recruit. These great candidates appeared after our initial conversation and I had positively presented the opportunity. Trust the truth.
The third rule of great recruiting is let the other person share their story in the way that fits who they are. How many times does a great candidate come through your door, but fails to get hired because you don’t allow them to bring their whole self to the interview? So many great interviewing books, so little time to try to manipulate someone to get the wrong job. Richard Branson say he hires based on personality. On the surface that makes sense, but beyond that great leaders let the other person shine in the interview. When I interview for highly competitive roles, I’m surprised how competitive the leader can get when trying to recruit a person for their team. Let the other person shine and you are likelier to see the real person before they join the team.
Two people competing to be the ultimate leader in an interview is a recipe for disaster. Leaders who let the other person lead the conversation are more like to see how they perform as a leader.
Finally, want to recruit and attract great people? Build an organization of great people. We can’t predict what will happen in the future, but with great people you know you have your best chance on controlling your own destiny. People always want to work for great organizations, no matter what’s happening in the world. Always keep your eyes open for great people. An organization can never have enough great people.
As you can tell, I think hiring leaders is your most important job, no matter who you are in your organization. Leaders fail because they don’t put a high enough priority on this. But this is only part of the story. Next week, we talk about how to build your organization into the employer of choice in your market by creating a better culture. See you here next week.