Every great CEO knows employee recruiting is their number one task. Great employees are the lifeblood of any company. If you aren’t seeking the best and brightest talent, your company will not be as successful—it’s that simple. Peter Drucker rightly observed, “The most valuable asset of a 21st-century institution will be its knowledge workers and their productivity.”
Productivity studies from the ‘60s have shown that, among programmers, top performers can be ten times more productive than average programmers. Offering competitive employee benefits is one of the cornerstones of recruiting (like having HealthJoy as part of your benefits package?).
We asked ten company leaders about their number one employee recruiting tip, and this is what they told us:
Quality Logo Products – 100 employees
While our strategy varies depending on the position and the target demographic, we often try to personalize the entire employee recruiting experience from the job listing to the final interview.
For example, millennials tend to prioritize a flexible and fun work environment. So, we’ll often make sure the job posting is relatively informal, and we’ll focus on items like paid vacation time, flex scheduling/hours, and—of course—entertainment and food options.
A cubicle and a computer are no longer enough to maintain office space harmony. Quality Logo Products has invested in items ranging from classic arcade machines and an air hockey table all the way to a dedicated ICEE machine and kegerator. For some prospects, the amenities are everything!
Whenever possible, we also try to embed or link to photos/videos of our office and employees. People want to feel like they’re part of a team, and what better way to put that on display than with a brief recap of last month’s WhirlyBall outing?
Finally, when we’ve located the ideal candidate, the interview and compensation/offer are customized to each individual. Long gone are the days when a standard office sheet will get the job done. During the interview, we take note of what’s most important to them, and we make sure those needs/wants are addressed and more when it comes to preparing their offer sheet!
A recent example was when I attempted to recruit a very in-demand web developer to join our team. I noticed he was a huge fan of everything Marvel and that he had a young son. To make my initial introduction, I sent him four tickets to a Marvel Universe Live event that was going on in our area, along with a brief note introducing myself. Later, I signed him up for a monthly subscription for Funko’s Marvel Collector Corps box. Outside of a few email exchanges, it wasn’t until a year later that I finally made my recruitment push. Once the developer agreed to meet, I retrofitted our game room to be 100% Marvel. From cardboard cut-outs of the Incredible Hulk to wall decorations, there was no hiding the shared passion for Marvel!
The interview was a success, and sure enough, despite other competitive offers from much larger organizations, the developer decided to join Quality Logo Products. Eight years later, the relationship and employment are still going strong!
As simple as it sounds, we do our best to be friendly, genuine and approachable. We respect one another at Dialpad and reflect this in our employee recruiting, interview and hiring process. We want candidates to get to know our team and our values and have a good sense of what they could expect if they were to join the team. Transparency and honesty are two strong principles that keep our employees engaged, so we try our best to make sure we mirror this in our recruiting process.
Finding amazing talent, whether it be seasoned Silicon Valley veterans or new college grads, is tough. It’s a hyper-competitive technology labor market, and the US has record low unemployment, which means standing apart from the crowd has never been harder.
Company culture matters. Our culture is an extension of the personalities and values of our founders. Our CEO, Craig Walker, and the rest of the founding team are a big part of what makes Dialpad so special. They have hired people just like themselves—relentlessly positive, smart, and hardworking people who put a very high value on the importance of top-notch quality of work, humor, and fun.
Given that we also have multiple offices, we recently formed our own Culture Club to help shape a culture that works just as easily in San Francisco, where we are headquartered, as in Austin, Vancouver, B.C., Tokyo, and Raleigh.
Our founders made a lot of smart decisions early on, and one of the most important decisions they made was being extremely strategic with who they approached from an investor perspective. Our distinguished list of investors like Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, SoftBank, Amasia and Bill Maris are a big draw for current and future employees, and we know that. In the world of company financings, the VCs from whom you take investment is very important, and our investors are the best in the business, with a treasure trove of business and operational wisdom which they share with employees at all levels within the company.
We like to think we have it all here at Dialpad, and that our enthusiasm for the people we work with shines through in the recruitment process.
Smart. Respected. Resourceful. Creative. Driven. Proven. Our leadership team has been successful in the communications industry since the dawn of Internet-based telecom. In many ways, they have defined the industry early on and then again in the boom times. Now they are doing that in the cloud era.
We want candidates to get to know our team and our values and get a good sense of what they could expect if they were to join the team. Transparency and honesty are two strong principles that keep our employees engaged, so we try our best to make sure we mirror this in our recruiting process.
Emphasize your mission and how your company is making a difference. Today’s employees, particularly Millennials and generation Z, care about changing the world and want to work for companies that are making an impact. They want to find a job that will be fulfilling and has meaning and purpose. By starting a social impact program within your company, you can help prospective employees feel a deeper sense of connection with your company. At Study.com, we started the Working Scholars program to give back to our community, which offers residents of select cities the chance to earn a free bachelor’s degree. We began the program in our own backyard in Mountain View, CA, and we’ve since expanded to other Bay Area cities like East Palo Alto and Gilroy. From the beginning of our recruiting process, we make sure to highlight this program as well as Study.com’s overall mission to make education affordable, effective and engaging. We share videos of the students we’ve actually helped through Working Scholars, and we emphasize the impact we’re making in our community. It is really motivating to prospective employees to see how a free college education is changing the lives of people who never thought they would get an opportunity to get a degree.
Camp Bow Wow – 700+ Employees
Camp Bow Wow is the largest pet care franchise with over $100+ million dollar in sales and 140 locations in North America. It might sound obvious, but one of their recruiting strategies is hiring dog lovers.
We bring our dogs to work, and we consider them a part of our team. It keeps things light in the office, and I love that. That common love of dogs is a unifying element that’s both personally and professionally relevant, and it’s a foundation of our culture and values. ‘Must love dogs’ is on every job description, from executive to entry-level. It makes for a really fun, positive culture.
There are three things above everything else that facilitate employee recruiting of exceptional talent: vision, environment, and enrollment.
Working backwards, enrollment is vital because ultimately—if you are seeking to recruit someone who can truly add value to your organization—the candidate needs to feel as though they are indeed going to be the influencer and change-agent that you are envisioning them as. Listen to their thoughts in the interview process and directly engage them as a partner as opposed to a subordinate. I recently recruited a head of automation from Europe by enrolling him as a creative partner.
Environment is exceptionally important as well. This category comprises both physical environment—the office space and working environs—as well as company culture and coworkers. We have various things in place—a meditation room, a full bar, and abundant greenery—that make the physical environment conducive to happiness. We also hire very carefully to ensure that cultural fit is strong. Top-flight candidates understand that their work will encompass a reasonably large percentage of their life. As a result, having a positive and desirable environment is very important.
Finally, your vision and—equally important—your ability to articulate this vision will help you recruit your dream candidate. Extraordinary contributors are rarely diamonds in the rough—they are often polished diamonds on display. You will need to make your case directly about how you see the company growing, and the added heights that are achievable with your candidate on the team.
It’s important to us that candidates understand during the employee recruiting process what it’s like to work at Badger Maps. We believe that our culture is a competitive advantage for the company, and we want to get across its unique attributes.
The first thing we do is link to our Glassdoor page and articles that have been written about us in the job posting. This allows people to see unbiased opinions of people who work here or who have worked here in the past. Another way we get our culture across is through the people on the team who are giving the interviews.
After a screening interview, we have candidates interview with the person who runs our recruiting. He has been with the company a long time, so he knows the culture very well and also communicates it well. Then candidates interview with someone in the functional area that they are applying for.
Finally, we have them interview with me, the founder/CEO of the company, so that they can get a top-down view of the company’s direction, attitudes, and culture. For the future, we want to make a few videos of the office and culture, too.
Qualified employees with cybersecurity skills are in demand and difficult to find, which prompted us to launch our Mosaic451 Cyber Candidate School Program, an intensive six-month program. This initiative marks one of the first in-house programs designed to recruit, cultivate, and deploy new cybersecurity talent.
The volume of talent has not kept up with this rising threat—the skill gap within the cybersecurity industry has left over one million jobs currently unfilled, a number that, according to Cybersecurity Venture, is expected to climb to 3.5 million by 2021.
Our company had to find ways to bridge this skill gap. Our new program will help us accumulate top talent by offering candidates with the right aptitude and drive a direct path into the industry, regardless of their current experience with cybersecurity.
Mosaic451 enjoyed tremendous success with the pilot of this program, with the first round of candidates (all entering with minimal cybersecurity experience) successfully completing 90 days of rigorous on-the-job and classroom training culminating in qualifying for CompTIA’s Security+ certification, and moving on to Phase 2 of the three-phase program. Those who complete the six-month program will compete for an entry-level position within Mosaic451, with the opportunity for career advancement through on-the-job training.
The program was designed by security operations leadership with decades of experience defending the US nuclear arsenal and developing military cyberwarfare courses. Mosaic451’s team of instructors are drawn from the vanguard of US Military and federal civilian cyber leadership, including course developers for the USAF’s most prestigious cyber training program, the Cyber Warfare Operations Weapons Instructor Course.
Students will learn to:
- Design, build, operate, and optimize cybersecurity network infrastructure.
- Develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills, building their skill sets to include firewalls, network intrusion/prevention systems (NIDS/NIPS), and endpoint protection.
- Hone their ability to apply these skills and earn industry certifications.
- Have fun and learn real-life skills applicable to the pursuit of higher learning and future employment.
Our goal is to produce 30+ candidates in 2018. The program is also tuition-free.
There are many ways to stand out from the competition when searching for ideal job candidates. Many employees appreciate when food is brought into the office. Business owners are now beginning to provide a stocked kitchen filled with fruit, snacks, ingredients for sandwiches, drinks, and more. Catered meals are also becoming more popular. Another great perk is allowing employees to bring their dogs to work. It can be difficult to leave dogs alone at home for 8+ hours a day. So as long as the dogs are friendly and well trained, employers are welcoming them into their office environments. It really makes the atmosphere more relaxed and is a great way to reduce stress.
We hire team players. We screen for ‘team player-ness’ by asking questions about their work ethic, examples of how they contributed at prior companies, and willingness to go above and beyond. Sometimes we are able to identify people who we believe could be team players with a little nurturing, and then we pair them with other already-established team players in our company. We look to hire people who engage, who ‘get it’ when we explain the way our company works, and who earnestly show their ability to offer that approach to work. We also encourage our employees that know potential like-minded people to refer them to us. For each employee they bring in, we give them $100. We’re a small business, so we’re happy to get great referrals from our awesome team members. We even have a few relatives that work at our office—two sisters and one brother/sister!
Focus on people and culture. Hiring decisions are based on our cultural values. In fact, we put that right in the job description. We’re also willing to constrain revenue growth if we can’t find the right person. Good enough isn’t good enough. I also try to relate customer feedback and actions within the office to our cultural values. TINYpulse is growing, and we’re growing fast. Which also means we’re on the hunt for some talented people to join our team. But we’re huge on culture fit.
Employee recruiting is tough but hopefully, these tips can help make a difference in your business.