Full Metal Recruiting: The Simple Truth About Hiring

on 05 | 19 | 2014

By: Ali Behnam, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Riviera

Sometimes I feel like Gunnery Sergeant Hartman yelling at Pvt. Leonard ‘Gomer Pyle’ Lawrence in Full Metal Jacket. It seems that hiring has become a private Vietnam for most companies, and I’m just trying to help hiring managers stay alive. Companies seem to be unaware that employee relationships start from the minute they reach out to a potential hire, which means you need to make a good impression from the get go. The good news is that there are some simple things you can do to increase your chances of getting the most desirable candidates to join your team.

Greet Like You Mean It

Provide the right experience from the moment a candidate walks through the door. In many cases, people aren’t treated well or made to feel welcome. They’re ushered to a silent lobby, or sit in an open space where not a soul offers a greeting or glass of water. That sends the wrong message. You want to make them feel at home; make sure anyone walking by takes a second to say hello. Offer a drink, or designate someone to give a tour of the office while the candidate waits for the interview to begin. Above all, be friendly. Remember: even if you don’t hire the person for this particular role, you want them to tell their friends what a great experience they had at your shop.

Be Effective Versus Efficient

Candidates are human and want to be treated as if you care. Oftentimes the manager will spend the designated hour of time and pass the person off. Particularly if you’re hiring an executive, a candidate is going to tie the next four or five years of their career to you and your company. They will spending more time at the office with you and your team than with their families. Don’t just run through a set of questions and check the box; interact in a personable way. Do what your mom told you when you were in elementary school–treat people the way you would like to be treated–and get to know their spouse and other important facets of their personal life.

Have a Consistent Process

Be consistent in your overall internal process. Coordinate with those who are doing the interviewing to figure out who’s playing what role. Set the interview teams up so they are asking the same questions to each candidate. If you’re leading a small start-up, chances are it’s your job to manage every aspect. A tight hiring process indicates that you know how to run a business, and great talent will recognize that.

Know Your Limits

I want to date a supermodel, too, but unfortunately I do not look like Brad Pitt (regardless of what my mom says). Be realistic about where your company fits in the pecking order. Every founder says their company is the next bizzilion dollar company that will change the world. The reality is very few do. The best candidates evaluate deals in the same manner a sophisticated investor would. If you company is truly great, and has the traction and buzz in the market, it will probably be able to land the best candidates; otherwise, stop trying to date a supermodel.

Remember, your relationship with a potential employee starts with recruiting. If you show candidates that you’re empathetic, invested in their futures, and respectful of their time, you’ll find and retain truly valuable talent.