Common sense employee recruitment strategies

By Gale Mote/Consulting

As an employer, would you offer $4,000 to a new employee to quit your company after you have just invested significant dollars in recruiting, hiring and training the person? Zappos would and does.

If it sounds crazy, the business practice is quite effective for the online retailer committed to “Creating Happiness.” Says CEO Tony Hsieh, “We want team members who believe this is a calling, not a paycheck.”

After new employees finish their initial training, Zappos offers them $4,000 to quit the company: take the money if this is not the right job or culture for you. In the end, Mr. Hsieh believes this unusual practice has actually saved the company money by ensuring the right people are on the bus. Everyone is held accountable to demonstrating the core values and championing the culture.

One of the ways Zappos recruits the right talent is by making their core values very public. If you visit their website, you can watch videos of employees talking about how to deliver “wow” through service or creating fun and a little weirdness.

If you have ever shopped with Zappos, when you receive your package, one of their core values will be imprinted on the side of the box. In unique and numerous ways, including blogs and tweets, they let potential employees know who they are, what they stand for and what it takes to fit into their very special culture.

Most organizations recognize how important cultural fit is to employee retention and engagement. “Does the mission/ purpose of my company make me feel my work is important?” is one of Gallup’s 12 Questions of a Strong Workplace. A strong sense of purpose is a key intrinsic driver of performance according to author Daniel Pink in his book, “Drive.”

Making your core values visible and real to potential employees helps to spark interest, recruit the right talent and filter out the rest.

How well does your organization promote and communicate its core values to potential employees? How do you share who you are, what you stand for and what it is like to work inside your company?

While you can participate in Best Place to Work surveys to help jumpstart the recognition, the heart of a company is its employees. How are you using your employees to help share the vision, mission, values and opportunities?

Another best practice for recruiting the right people is effectively utilizing internships. Several of my clients swear by this practice and when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Before you hire an employee, why not see how they fit into the culture, interact with colleagues, solve problems, and demonstrate their skills?

Internships are a win-win for the employee and the employer. Both are able to check the other out to see if the job itself, the team and the work culture are a good match. It is a much stronger predictor of success than a behavioral interview and more cost effective in the long run.

Does your company create multiple opportunities for internships? Do you only look for college graduates or do you make your internships available to military veterans and others re-entering the workplace? How can you provide realistic job interviews for potential candidates?

A best practice for recruiting talent is to partner with community development organizations. Many job seekers find the community where they want to live before they even begin their job search. When a city has attractive options for wellness, recreation, entertainment, retail, dining, family fun and cultural development – the talent is there.

Is your organization actively partnering with local community development organizations to help define the services and amenities that are necessary to attract a diverse workforce? Does your company actively participate in community activities and pay it forward?

Lastly, a common sense approach to recruitment is to target your job search and advertising. In my career, all of my job opportunities came about because I knew someone who knew someone in the professional circle where I had an interest and expertise. There are many professional organizations that cater to unique talent. Examples include PMI – Project Management Institute, APICS – The Educational Society for Operations Management, SHRM – Society for Human Resource Management and ASTD – American Society for Training and Development.

If you are looking for talent in a specific genre, why not advertise the position to a targeted audience of members who are passionate about the field and are committed to ongoing skill development by their very membership in the group?

When you make your core values visible, utilize realistic job opportunities such as internships, partner with your community and target your advertising using professional organizations, odds are you will find the right ones, too.