The first step toward formalizing your recruiting, hiring and orienting process is to realize the recruiting of staff is never-ending. Even if you have enough staff now, aren’t there a couple of people you’d love to replace but don’t have the guts to let them go? What if you’ve got someone really good and he’s earned a promotion? Who is on deck to take his spot?

Look at staffing as a moving train; people are always jumping on, others are always jumping off and some people you’re kicking off!

If you wait to recruit, hire and orient people into your business when you’re stuck, you’ll drop your standards and probably hire out of desperation instead of intelligence.

Think of good recruiting as being like good marketing. Just as you would do to market your company to prospective customers, you need to set your recruiting apart from your competition. You have to sell yourself with a message that resonates with potential employees.

Most help-wanted ads I read are all about what you, the owner, wants. It’s about the requirements you demand — most of the time because you’re unwilling or incapable of training — or what the company demands — such as long hours and low pay … only kidding … well, maybe not.

Those ads have very little about what you offer to the prospective staff member that would entice him to learn more about your company and want to join your winning team.

Most recruiting efforts are misdirected because they approach the search for great staff as being different than marketing for great customers. Recruiting is just a different message to a different target audience.

The goal for all employers is to become the employer of choice in the mind of potential applicants. A great place to reset your mind about being a great marketer who attracts great staff is to read over your current help-wanted ads. But this time, read them as if you were a job applicant who had a job already but were interested in finding out what’s out there in the job market. Bet it reads differently now.

Once you put on a job applicants’ glasses and see help-wanted ads from their perspective, your ads can be rewritten to attract willing candidates to your organization.


The employer of choice

Let’s get serious. What are you going to offer them to leave a good job and join you? After all, the best employees tend to be already employed, so you will need to entice them.

Is it with great wages, a chance for a bonus, health benefits, 401(k) or something more? If you don’t have a great list of reasons to join your company, is it because you think you don’t have the money to provide all these benefits?

Great employees make you money and average or below-average employees — no matter what you pay them — cost you money. I’m not saying it’s OK to overpay staff. I am saying if people are recruited, hired and oriented the right way, their effectiveness almost guarantees a great chance they’ll be powerfully effective in their role at your company. A couple of dollars more or less shouldn’t matter.

If necessary, raise your selling price anywhere from $2 to $5, or more, an hour and that should cover it. Do the math by tweaking your budget to make sure it does. For example, say a new toilet is $400. If you need to raise your selling prices, the toilet now costs $405. Not such a big deal, right?

Here’s what I know. Your customers aren’t likely to mind a couple of more dollars if in return they get spectacular service from friendly, well-trained staff.

What you need is a good help-wanted ad, written from the perspective of the target person you’re seeking to recruit and run in the types of media that will hit your target audience. Just as in good marketing, you need to be where your target audience can find you.

Today, it’s a digital world. Online resources such as have been a wonderful place for many of my clients to run great help-wanted ads.

Just as one-size marketing doesn’t fit everywhere, the same goes for taking a one-size–fits-all approach to recruiting. Some areas of the country still find good results with a well-written help-wanted ad running in a good local paper that is read by your target age group and demographics for the type of staff you’re looking for.

Also, paying for a limited test run on job sites such as can attract great candidates. Like all marketing, it demands a testing period and measurement of the results so you can allocate your money accordingly.


Once they’re in the door

When the candidates respond, I believe you should be able to hire them within two weeks and with two good interviews. Too many contractors drag out the process and actually discourage good candidates. Part of the reason is because these contractors don’t enthusiastically welcome the task of recruiting, hiring and orienting. They have suffered the consequences from this approach.

A good rule of thumb is to have an easy way for candidates to respond to your ad. Set up time slots for first interviews that cover the following basics:

1. Get a copy of the driver’s license if the candidate will be driving a company vehicle.

2. Have candidates complete an up-to-date employment application. There are too many rules and regulations to not invest in good help here.

3. Establish a set procedure for questions you’ll be asking and what you’ll be talking about in general, based on the position you’re looking to fill.

4. Require written testing applicable to the job you’re looking to hire for.