These day’ there is one dilemma that is affecting everyone. You see its impact when it takes longer to check out at the grocery store; you feel its consequences when your stomach protests that Wendy’s is only serving chicken nuggets and not a juicy Baconator (true story). In fact, it’s difficult to visit any shop without running into a sign that talks about it.
The hiring shortage is causing all sorts of difficulties for organizations, and yours has probably felt the squeeze as well.
While reading the January Edition of Cleanfax I came across an article about hiring that caught my attention. The article, called “10 Ways to Loosen The Labor Market’s Tight Grip” provides contractors with some suggestions on how to get better results when searching for employees.
I won’t review the article here because the whole thing deserves to be read. Instead, I would like to add to the article and give you some advice about hiring that is simple but profound.
The Secret to Hiring is Yourself
Oftentimes, when hiring, employers try to paint themselves in the best light possible. In a job description, they emphasize all of the perks of working for them, profess to have the best work/life balance, and talk about how good their culture is.
But what if there was another way that got better results than this stereotypical presentation? A way to hire that forms a greater connection and attracts the right people for the job?
I think that there is.
People crave authenticity more than ever nowadays because they are tired of the old way of doing things. They are looking for a tangible connection—a place where their work makes a tangible difference. These employees are yearning for an outlet where they can bring their unique potential.
I think that being your authentic self is the answer. When you decide to be yourself and show people what your business really stands for, then they will want to join you.
Too many companies write verbose job descriptions nowadays in which they ramble on and on about how great they are and list cutthroat (and oftentimes obscure) requirements they have. I think that all this does is intimidate potential candidates from applying. Employees want to work for somebody that is real and genuine.
When you are hiring you are trying to find the best fit. You aren’t trying to get all prospects to like you, just the ones that matter. To do that you have to be able to effectively market yourself. I’ll teach you how.
These are the principles that you need to follow:
1. Don’t give a damn about being yourself
I think that we are afraid of being ourselves because we want to play it safe. We are afraid of what people will think of us so we defer to the rules. But this is a huge mistake.
Prospective employees want to experience value in their roles. They want to genuinely connect with your organization and the employees in it. The best way to leverage this is by leveraging what is unique in your organization.
- What’s different about your philosophy of doing business?
- Do you have a team that’s really closely knit?
- Are you the type of leader that mentors everyone underneath your wing?
- Are you involved in bettering your community?
- What unique opportunities do you provide for personal development in your organization?
When you choose to be vulnerable and be yourself prospects will notice. Authenticity will come through in your job postings, in the interviews that you have with your employees and your daily work.
2. Be Human
Employees experience high job satisfaction when they are surrounded by employees and a boss whom they can create a meaningful relationship with. You aren’t just hiring mindless drones to do a task, but people who are looking to connect with your organization.
One of the best ways to foster genuine connection is by being yourself. When people can see you for who you are they will want to join you.
Whenever I show up to work I know that I’m surrounded by team members who genuinely care about our well-being. We are surrounded by a supportive environment where we are able to talk about what matters to us. If we are having an off-day we have a supportive cast who is able to step in and help us. That isn’t as common as it should be nowadays.
3. Write a Concise and compelling job posting that emphasizes connection
There is sooo much information that people have to dig through every day. This is especially true for anyone that is looking at job applications—there are likely hundreds or more! If you write long paragraphs filled with information that goes on and on about your job, people won’t read it. It’s better to write something compelling and concise
Take these two examples:
ABC Carpet cleaning is a premier carpet cleaning outfit that has been owned and operating out of Scottsdale, Arizona for the last ten years. Mike Jorgenson had the idea to start the company when he saw the value it could provide for working parents that were too busy to clean carpets on their own. We pride ourselves in giving customers the best experience—everything is about the customer. There’s no stain too big, and no upholstery that we can’t take care of. We have dedicated employees that do everything they can to deliver unparalleled results. Do you have what it takes to join our amazing team?
Hey there, its Mike. I’ve been cleaning carpets for ten years and love making people’s homes a place where they can feel happy and comfortable. Providing true value inspires me, and I want others to join me on the journey of providing world-class customer service. ABC carpet cleaning is an environment where you can:
- Create meaningful and authentic connections with our team and customers
- Get paid well
- Experience new challenges everyday
- Meet lots of new people
If this sounds like you, I would be interested in talking. Let’s get to know each other and see if we are a good fit.- Mike
The first example is bad because it’s wordy and mostly talks about why the company is such a good business.
Words aren’t bad, but they should be purposeful, especially when somebody is reading a lot. You want to write something that is unique and that stands out to your prospects.
The reason that the second example is good is because it’s personalized and direct. It uses a short paragraph and bullet points to convey its key points. It communicates the desire to get to know somebody and create a meaningful connection.
4. Everyone likes to buy. People don’t like to be sold.
Have you ever been in an interview where it seemed like the employer was trying to talk things up and put on a show? A situation like this can be uncomfortable. People don’t want to feel like they are being used as a means to the end of accomplishing your purposes.
Don’t sell the prospect on how amazing it will be to work for you. Let candidates experience it on their own. Let them buy into the vision that you have for your company. When you do this you create loyal employees.
I think that the best thing you can do is get to know the candidate. Understand their character and get to know them on a personal level. If you take this approach it will feel like a conversation and not an interview.
Having a genuine conversation is good for both parties because it’s an effective way to determine fit instead of just using scripted or formulaic interview questions.
The best illustration of the approach that you want to take can be found in the hit 2008 Dreamwork's animated movie Kung Fu Panda. In the movie, the protagonist, Po, is a giant clumsy panda. He spends his days dreaming of becoming a Kung Fu warrior and helping his dad sell noodles. Against all odds he is selected as the chosen warrior that is prophesied to save his village from ruin. Part of his training involves viewing the Dragon Scroll. The Scroll is fabled to give special abilities and provide a secret ingredient to its recipient.
In the most dramatic moment of the movie Po opens the scroll, and is shocked to find that there is nothing on it; the only thing that he sees is a reflection of himself staring back. Later on in the movie, when talking with his father, he realizes that this is intentional — the secret ingredient is himself (see clip below)
The same goes for you and hiring. The secret ingredient is yourself. You are what is special about your organization. Now that you know the secret, make sure to use it wisely to attract employees!