Finding the best

Whatever business you are in (or in which you are advising/consulting) — service or manufacturing, high tech or low tech, sweet shop or call centre — the business is the sum of the people in it. So you need to have the best and that starts with getting the best.

Begin by making this a core activity in the organisation. Make everyone keen to find the best people to work alongside them. Create a simple reward scheme for finding good employees. After all, those who already work in an organisation tend to know what sort of people are good for that organisation; it can also be a lot cheaper than a big recruitment campaign. And however wonderful HR are, they often don't fully understand all the roles in an organisation. Any other recruitment process should be subsidiary to this 'people find people' process.

Secondly, ensure that any contact with your organisation can allow those who are impressed with you to enquire about positions which are vacant. Thus it should be clear wherever you have a presence — on your website/blog, at an exhibition, on any publications — what someone should do if they're interested in joining you.

Once the organisation lives and breathes the concept of 'everybody recruits', you need to be clear on what the best actually is. Consider three factors: knowledge, skills and attitude. For any person you seek, define those three aspects of the job: the knowledge (what they need to know), the skills (what they must be able to carry out with consistent competence) and finally attitude (the way they think). Remember that ease of trainability is generally considered to be in the order of knowledge, then skills, and then attitude — and yet too little time is often given to seeking someone with the appropriate attitude. Knowledge can be the easiest to develop, but people are often recruited on the basis of just that; consider giving more attention to finding people with the right attitude instead.

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