To find great people, do less fishing and more hunting

If you recruit employees with traditional approaches, that could be part of the problem in finding good employees.

Most retail operators wait until they have a job opening then post the job in the local papers, website, within the store, etc. They fish when they are hungry. To have vibrant recruiting consider less fishing and more hunting. Hunters are always noticing the signs in the woods. Even when it is not hunting season they notice when game is feeding, where water is located, where trails lead.

As a manager, being “on the hunt” means noticing whenever people show good customer service and selling skills. Restaurants, other stores, drivers and services that you engage with every day may help you find ideal people for your store.

Get clear on what you offer compared to others. Always have business cards on hand and train yourself to keep your eyes open. Stay on the hunt for people who provide great service and would fit into your company.

Don’t be shy: everyone loves to hear that their good work is being recognized and that there are people who value them. Even if you get ten “no’s”… one “yes” could change the dynamics in your business.

That also means you need to look the part while you are out in the town. Keep your appearance professional. Remember that you are representing your company while you are out. Practice your delivery: “I couldn’t help but notice what a great job you did handling your customers. I am always looking for people with skills like yours for my store. Even if you’re not looking now, take my card. Because I would love to talk with you about opportunities in the future.”

It’s that easy. On your next day on the town, notice people at the dry cleaners, library, church, dentist, daycare, coffee shop or anywhere you see people who are engaged with their customers. Set a goal for yourself to give out five business cards in a week. Dress well. Be approachable. Find the great people in your community and bring them onto your staff.

Encourage others to help you find your next super-star employee. Give current employees rewards when their recommendation is hired and completes their first 2 months of work. If your employees are not giving you referrals, what does that say about the work environment you have created?

Hiring the Right People: October/November 2020 issue