Hiring is Like Trying to Buy a Dream House

Everyone has seen a family on television, buying their dream house.  In 30 minutes, the homebuyers go from first meeting with the realtor to hosting their first dinner party with friends and family in their new home.  Easy… Right?  That works great in TV Land, but in reality the process can be time consuming and very frustrating.  We can spend countless hours reviewing listings and touring homes that don’t check all the boxes.  Often, we end up lowering our expectations to find something “acceptable”.

I have moved numerous times and have made many critical hires.  I find both can be emotional rollercoasters.  To stick with the homebuying analogy, there are two main reasons our dreamhouse remains elusive.  First is that our expectations far exceed our budget.  We all dream of that perfect home with the million-dollar view, but the cost is prohibitive.  The only fix for this is a reality adjustment for your expectations, your budget, or maybe a little of both.  This same thing happens in the hiring process and the fix is the same.  Don’t expect to hire someone with a Harvard MBA and 10 years of relevant experience on an entry level salary.

Hiring is like trying to buy a dream house

The second obstacle keeping our dreamhouse out of reach and analogous to the hiring process is supply.  While the perfect house might exist, you won’t find it if it isn’t on the market.  This can be even more frustrating than having cost exceed your budget expectations.  You know what you want!  You have the budget!  There just isn’t anything currently for sale in your desired location that meets your expectations!  When this happens while looking for a house you can: wait for something to come on the market, settle for something less or build new.  The equivalent when hiring is to wait for the right candidate, hire someone with fewer qualifications, or train someone to perform the responsibilities.  These aren’t always practical options.

Hiring the right person

Luckily, in the hiring process there is another alternative that lets us find the candidate that checks all the boxes.  Recruiting might be your best solution.  Consider recruiting a way of having someone drive through the right neighborhoods to identify your dreamhouse and knock on the door to ask the homeowner if they would consider selling. While this is not a common approach to buying a house, it’s a very reliable approach to hiring.  It is significantly more work than placing ads but can consistently deliver results.  You can, of course, recruit yourself or outsource.

If you choose to recruit yourself, it can take tremendous time and effort, but the results will speak for themselves. The first place to start is by exploring the networks of the people that you know and work with.  It is not uncommon for clients to tell us that someone on their team already knew the candidate that they ended up hiring. Ask your colleagues if they know anyone that is qualified for the position.  When you get a name, give them a call and discuss the position to gauge their interest. If they’re interested, great.  Set up a time for an interview and be prepared to sell your opportunity.   If they are not interested, take extra time to network as Brad describes in a recent blog. If you do not have time or resources to commit to this you may want to consider hiring a recruiter.

There are many advantages to hiring a recruiter.  One of the biggest is you’ll gain the benefits of their network and knowledge of the marketplace.  A good recruiter is like a realtor that knows what your dream home looks like, what neighborhood it’s likely to be found in, and how to engage the folks whose home is not up for sale.  Not to mention, they’ll likely know who is thinking about selling but haven’t listed yet.

A recruiter is also an advisor that can help you adjust your expectations based on budget.  Sometimes a recruiter can drive the best candidate directly to your door just by networking. At the end of the day, do you want to only look at the houses available on the open market or do you want to find the best match for your needs?

About Executek

Executek Recruiting Partners is an executive search and recruiting firm for manufacturing and industrial companies.  If you would like to learn more about our process or the benefits of hiring a recruiter, contact Executek today.  The phone call is free.

Gene Hankey is a Managing Partner with Executek.

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