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Finding Great Employees: 7 Secrets for Staffing Up

By Barbara Wold, Retail & Consumer Tips, 4/11/2006
To attract great employees, you need to get aggressive and move out of the box. One in five new hires turns out to be a dud, according to a study of nearly 1,600 hiring managers by HR consulting firm DDI International.

1. Call good employees who have left. Former employees are absolutely your best source of prospects. Make a conscious effort to call previous workers. See if they are happy, or if they want to return. The greener grass they went after may have some pesky weeds. Always keep the lines of communication open. Bonus tip: When a good employee leaves, invite them to let you know how the new job is working out.

2. Offer finder's fees. Your current employees are excellent sources for new hires. Don't confine your offer just to current employees -- open it up to their relatives, your suppliers and customers. To reinforce you are looking for employees who will stay, structure the finder's-fee program to pay half the fee at the 90 day mark and the other half at the 6 month mark. Bonus tip: If the person making the referral is an employee, ask him or her to help orient the new hire. That will increase the likelihood of a long term employee for you, and the second pay-out for the referring employee.

3. Ask job applicants for names of other potential employees. No matter how aggressive you are, you won't see 99 percent of the best prospects. They're happily employed and aren't looking at Help Wanted ads in the paper or online. Bonus tip: Tell everyone you speak with about your finder's fees.

4. Offer flextime. While employment and disposable income levels have been increased in recent years, free time has decreased. Employers need to recognize that people are looking for a balance between their work and family lives. Flextime allows employees to adapt their schedules to their needs. Bonus tip: Because flextime is a valued perk, if you offer it, be sure to promote it.

5. Show prospects how you'll help them grow. Attract the best people and encourage them to stay longer by describing how you can assist them in their long-term career plans. Bonus tip: Offer tuition reimbursement for work related courses to help keep employees, especially when they are being courted by other employers.

6. Work with local organizations. Many Chambers of Commerce offer assistance with matching resumes and employers; they also hold job fairs. Check out garden clubs, senior centers, companies that are downsizing and new residents in your area.

7. Advertise in new places. Happily-employed workers don't read "Help Wanted" ads. Instead of the Help Wanted section of the newspaper, try ads in the sports, social or local news. Consider newsletters that organizations publish, such as the PTA, scouts, community, churches or fraternal organizations. Post flyers (with permission) in hair salons, health clubs, libraries and cafes.

These tips can help you avoid the mistake of hiring the wrong person just to fill an open slot. The wrong person can wreck havoc with your business operations or alienate customers. Either way your bottom line takes a hit. Hasty hiring can lead to costly turnover. The most expensive employee you hire is the one you have to fire.

Copyright 2005. Reprinted with permission from Barbara Wold's Retail & Consumer Tips.
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