Few things can change the trajectory of your LBM business more than figuring out how to find, hire, and keep great people. Bad hires can damage (if not destroy) customer relationships, your reputation, your market share, and your profitability. Great hires can deliver new customers, improve existing relationships, enhance your reputation, increase your market share, and deliver ROI and profitability—all while requiring less time and effort to manage.
Unfortunately, finding and hiring great people isn’t as easy as throwing up a job posting and waiting for the LBM rock stars to roll in. You’re not alone if you’ve wondered if there is anyone good out there.
Simply put: Hiring is hard. After all, there’s a reason staffing is a $140 billion industry in the U.S. and a $400 billion industry worldwide.
But, as with anything, knowledge is power. In this column, we’ll explore strategies and tactics for finding and hiring great people, starting with this overview and then, in subsequent articles, diving deeper into each specific aspect. There are three main stages of a successful hiring process:
1: Clarity & Reality
Clarity is the work you do before you post the ad or start networking. It’s the effort that smart, savvy managers and owners put in to ensure they are going to get the best ROI for their payroll dollars. During this process, you clearly determine specifics: why you need this role (the key responsibilities), what results you expect from the new hire in this role, and what activity levels they will need to maintain to get those results. Then you use this clarity to create a powerful (and accurate) job description and to discuss the role and expectations with applicants.
At the end of this stage you should have a job description and clearly outlined activity and performance expectations for the role.
2: Attract & Recruit
Once you know what you need and what you expect, you need to define your ideal hire profile (think customer avatar) and figure out how to find them. There are basically two ways you can find great talent:
Attract: Think of this as marketing applied to hiring, posting ads in the places you believe have the best chance of being seen by your ideal hires. (Examples: job postings, newspaper ads, Craigslist, social media, and trade journals or association publications.)
Recruit: Think of this as recruitment meets sales. In this method, you’re identifying your ideal hire and actively and intentionally seeking him or her out and getting the conversation started.
At the end of this stage, you should have developed and executed a strong recruiting strategy specific to the ideal hire for this role, which means you should have several qualified candidates to choose from.
3: Interview & Offers
This is where you take all those applicants and decide which one is the most qualified for the role. During the Interviewing stage, you will:
- Review and rank applicants
- Conduct phone interviews (during which you should be learning their compensation expectations)
- Conduct face-to-face interviews (during which you should review their compensation expectations)
- Use pre-hire selection tools like pre-hire projects and pre-employment assessments
- Conduct final interviews
During the Offer stage, you will:
- Develop an offer that meets your budget AND will be enticing to the candidate
- Deliver the offer verbally
- Deliver the offer in writing
- Conduct any background checks and other screenings
- Pick a start date
One of the most common mistakes is that hiring managers are uncomfortable talking about money, so they just avoid it. This is a huge risk. If you can’t afford the person, you’re simply wasting your time and theirs. They won’t appreciate getting through a rigorous hiring process only to be offered a job that is $20K or $50K lower than what they are currently making.
Hiring is hard—and that reality won’t change any time soon. But it doesn’t have to be quite so daunting.