Al Levi: Staffing tips from my kid
My daughter, Pam, came out to our home in Phoenix recently because she was in the midst of her recruiting and hiring process. She travels around the country visiting college campuses recruiting staff for the sleep-away camp where she is one of the directors.
Pam and I have always talked about business since she was a teenager because she shares my love for it. We both get that love of business from my dad (her grandpa).
I asked how her recruiting visits around the state of Arizona was going and she shared that the turnout was huge. She also shared that she had some great recruiting sessions. The bonus is those who showed up were, for the most part, well prepared for their interview session with her.
I asked what she meant by that, and she explained that they exchange emails before the interview takes place. She has them read her blogs before they arrive for their interview, and she instructs them to view a special 10-minute video about camp life and the camp experience so those being interviewed can know what to expect.
My wife and I were curious, so she played the video on her computer for us.
I know I’m biased, but it was brilliant.
The video is of her and the two other directors speaking to the camera as they give a flyover tour of the camp and talk about the great things about the camp and what the applicant must do to earn a coveted spot, because winning a position at their camp is very special.
What I realized in that moment is that, unlike most contractors who are desperate when they hire and put little thought or effort into the process of screening applicants — and who end up being interviewed by the candidates rather than do the interviewing of them instead — Pam was in control of the whole process. She was interviewing them because they were applying for a job with her and her team.
I never thought to tell a prospective hire to view a pre-recorded video message when I was a contractor. But think about it. It builds interest and desire for joining your team because you only want the right people. This video idea is a great way to show them what they’ll encounter in the real world at your company as well as the opportunities for a career — not just a job. A great video would attract the right candidates while repelling the wrong ones.
She also let us know that there’s a twist in that the candidate must view the entire video all the way to the end because it tells them to show up at the interview and do an enthusiastic presentation of what is said at the end. It’s top secret so I can’t share it with you, but it’s indicative of who paid attention to the last words on the video.
Wow! Imagine recruits having to come to your interview sessions prepared and engaged. The right type of potential employee will watch it, and it’ll build buzz about the process and the organization they’re seeking to be a part of. It prescreens them and tests them to see if they invested the time and energy to watch and learn from it.
One more tip from Pam is that after she gets a pile of applications, she sorts them into three categories.
Group A. These are the winners she wants on her team. Their enthusiasm, spirit and intelligence have convinced her they’d be a real asset.
Group B. These are good people but she’s not quite sure how they’d fit in, and although a potential asset, they’re in second place to the Group A candidates. She keeps them engaged because she knows that she may not get all the Group A candidates she wants and needs. In a perfect world, we’d love it if all applicants were Group A.
Group C. These are people who are not going to make the cut. She is courteous to all of them because she knows it’s the right thing to do. She leaves them knowing they were good candidates and it was a difficult choice, but because of the numbers squeeze they didn’t make the final cut and she’s contacting them as soon as possible so they can make other plans for the summer.
To me, Pam has mastered the concept that recruiting is a lot like marketing — you have to build buzz and create a funnel bigger than you need so you can be selective in the hiring process.
Do as I did — take this staffing lesson from my kid because you’ll be glad you did.