by Shonali Burke on September 27, 2010

Hiring, from the first team members to the growing company, is a challenge to every entrepreneur.

And most have a string of failures along the way. So how do you beat the odds?

Today’s interview is with Bob Corlett, the founder of Staffing Advisors.

Bob sees the problems and frustrations of entrepreneurs and small organization executives regularly.

We shared some rueful chuckles about the common “understaffed, need to hire, don’t have time to hire because I am understaffed” cycle.

Hiring well is more critical in smaller organizations.

They do not have the support systems to train, develop, and coach a new person; most need immediate productivity.

The impact of “getting up to speed” time or errors is greater… as often there is no one else to do or check the work without taking time from another critical need.

Staffing Advisors prides itself on helping small companies make great hiring decisions and improve their hiring processes at a price they can afford.

Bob created this business because he has seen CEOs and EDs make the same mistakes I have:

  • the difficulty of creating a realistic job description in a new area
  • nobody to talk to about what is really needed and how to find that
  • a reliance on hiring friends, family, and their friends so you can trust them
  • giving up under the burden of too many resumes from recruiting agencies
  • hiding behind “blind” job ads which never mention the company name and thus get lower quality applicants
  • poor interviewing practices

But his solution can make your hiring much easier.

Think about what would be different if you hired the right person:
What specific results are you looking for?
How will you know you have achieved them?
Write all this down.

I have worked with Bob and know what a difference this view of hiring makes.

When I asked him for a recent example, he told me of a 20-person company which had been growing and having trouble finding enough of the right people.

But they were quite sure Staffing Advisors could not help them.

However, they were desperate and decided to give him one try.

And the first candidate came in and blew them away with how much better a match to their needs he was, and how much more value he could add immediately, than anything their own efforts had produced.

Why does this emphasis on defined goals, results, and measurements work?

Because now you have a good story about your company, and about the real work and value of the position.

When you tell it to your network, you will get the right referrals.

If you post it, you will get better applicants.

If you use a service, like a recruiter or Staffing Advisors, you will get better candidates.

And you have a way to interview effectively and recognize the right person.

All this works because you are in your business zone of comfort.

You are not relying on certifications, or degrees, or other factors to find expertise you need but don’t understand well enough to interview about in detail.

You are talking about specific goals and results,

about business acumen,

about the person’s ability to deal with the ambiguity common in smaller organizations, and

about their ability to allocate resources.

These are things you do every day yourself, and you can ask the right questions and recognize if their answers match your needs.

And talking to candidates about specific goals and expected results, and how you will define success, is highly attractive to high achievers.

The interviewee

Bob Corlett is founder of Staffing Advisors, which provides small companies with an effective solution to their hiring needs. For more tips and tricks to help your hiring, read their blog. Contact Bob at bob (dot) corlett (at) staffingadvisors (dot) com

Image © Bob Corlett, used with permission


Patricia A. Frame is an experienced management consultant, speaker, and executive with expertise in human capital, and the founder of Strategies for Human Resources. She helps small to mid-size organizations achieve their goals through more effective human capital strategy and management. She can be reached through her website SHRinsight.com, where archives for her ongoing management series can be found.

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