The Recruiter Texting Rules!

Here we go! Your boy is back with some more rules! You know I love me some rules! I’m high rules, and low details, which drives most people crazy!

I was having a conversation recently with some recruiters about texting candidates. For the most part, in recruiting, we’ve gotten to this point where we believe every candidate prefers texting over every other kind of communication. And, if they don’t want a text message, then they want email.

This isn’t exactly true! I did some research and surveyed over 1600 candidates we screened to find out the facts and published it – 6 Things Candidates Want You to Know – you can download it here for free. But I’m not here trying to sell you a free whitepaper!

The entire reason we believe candidates prefer text over any other form of communication is some creative marketing around text vs. email response rates in overall text vs. email communications. Now, this is where all of this falls apart. I get over 500 emails per day. I get maybe 25-50 messages. Of course, I’m going to respond more to text messages vs. email. But that doesn’t mean, as a candidate, I want text vs. email, necessarily!

This all lead me down a path where I believe we need some rules around texting as recruiters!

The Recruiter Texting Rules:

Rule No. 1 – As the first outreach to a candidate you don’t know, texting is not preferred by candidates. They don’t know you, and they certainly don’t want you jumping into their private text messages with a spammy job offer!

Rule No. 2 – No one of quality ever accepted an interview and job offer through text message without first speaking to a real human. Pick up the god damn phone. Once a candidate is all in with you, then yes, they will most likely only want texts from you.

Rule No. 3 – Give me a way to opt-out of your bad text recruiting automation hell! For one, it’s the law. But, most still make it way too difficult to stop the automated texts.

Rule No. 4 – Just because you have my number as a candidate does not give you permission to stalk me for a date. It’s super creepy!

Rule No. 5 – If we aren’t friends, don’t text me like we are friends. Avoid sarcasm. Keep it professional and short.

Rule No. 6 – If it feels like you’re sending candidates too many text messages. You are sending candidates too many text messages! Also, don’t text me a novel! Send long stuff in an email.

Rule No. 7 – If I ask you a question, answer the damn question! We are adults. You can tell me the truth I don’t need some run-around answer that doesn’t really answer my question.

Rule No. 8 – If you expect me to respond within minutes. I expect you’ll respond within minutes. Set the ground rules around expectations early.

Rule No. 9 – Never! And I mean, NEVER! Text with a green bubble! Just Kidding! 😉

Okay, peeps, what did I forget? Give me your favorite rule for texting candidates in the comments below.

The Baby Bonus Program You Never Knew You Needed!

In HR and Talent Acquisition, we tend to be in crisis mode constantly. We are some of the best firefighters are organization has! Our functions tend, by their very nature, to be short-termed focused. This month, this quarter, this year. Rarely are we able to think and plan further than twelve months ahead.

The problem is, currently and in the future, we (the U.S. and pretty much every industrialized country on the planet) are not making enough humans! In the U.S., we are early Japan. This means our birth rate has dipped below the replacement rate. Japan has been facing this crisis for decades; we are just starting down this path.

Why does this matter?

  1. If we can’t replace our humans, we have a shrinking workforce, and it’s very hard to grow.
  2. If we aren’t going to grow enough humans, we have to find another path to get more humans, and that’s immigration, and in the U.S., we have been awful at immigration.
  3. If we can’t get real humans, we have to build robots. The problem is, why robots will come faster than humans, it still takes time, and robots can’t effectively replace humans in most roles.

What is the solution?

This might sound a bit controversial, it’s definitely out of the norm, but HR needs to build a policy that encourages our employees to have babies!!

“Wait, what?! You want us to encourage our employees to have s…”

Okay, hear me out! Japan knew it had an issue decades ago and did nothing to address it, believing nature would take its course. But it didn’t! We have the opportunity to reward and compensate our employees for growing our next employees!

In the U.S., historically, we’ve also sucked at parental leave policies, and we’ve held parenthood against workers for promotion. Having kids, for the most part, has been a negative to your career. We need to change that! We need to make it a reward and benefit to your career. Like, imagine if Mark and Mary had seven kids! They both should be promoted immediately to Vice Presidents or Chief Growing Officers or something!

I’m only saying that half-joking! We are in a crisis and to get out of a crisis takes bold moves.

The hard part of encouraging our employees to procreate is that HR has spent its entire existence trying to stop our employees from doing this very thing! Now I’m asking you to become the Chief Baby Officer.

Um, are there other solutions?

Yes, but America tends to hate both of these options, traditionally.

The first option is to completely revamp our immigration policy and allow in millions of immigrants in both skilled/educated backgrounds and non-skilled/labor backgrounds. Traditionally, both political parties are against this because of the belief immigrants take jobs away from current citizens. Labor Unions hate this. Conservatives hate this. It’s usually a political non-starter.

The UK recently made a major change to their immigration policy because, like the U.S., they are facing a similar human challenge, and we should all take note because it’s an amazing policy. Basically, it allows professionals to come in with a Visa before getting a job, as long as they can prove they can pay their own way. This works because one of the biggest hurdles in U.S. immigration policy is we force an immigrant to have a job before they can enter, and for most U.S. employers, that just doesn’t work from a timing perspective.

The second option is more automation and robots. This is another one that labor unions tend to fight because it takes jobs away from humans. Unfortunately, this one is moving forward because we just don’t have enough workers, and even unions can’t produce more unions. More and more, we’ll see automation take the place of traditional roles we are used to seeing humans in. Cashiers, order takers, warehouse workers, truck drivers, etc. This is scary for many but a necessity for employers looking to run their day-to-day operations.

You might think that encouraging your employees to have babies is a very out-of-the-box idea, but in HR, we need to start thinking more long-term about how we’ll manage our workforce. If you believe your company will be around twenty years from now, a part of our job, strategically, should be thinking about this workforce concept.

Would You Pay A Referral Bonus Specifically For A Black Employee?

I know a ton of HR Pros right now who have been charged by their organizations to go out and “Diversify” their workforce.  By “Diversify”, I’m not talking about diversity of thought, but recruiting a more diverse workforce in terms of ethnic, gender, and racial diversity.

Clearly, by bringing in more individuals from underrepresented groups in your workforce, you’ll expand the “thought diversification”, but for those HR Pros in the trenches and sitting in conference rooms with executives behind closed doors, diversification of thought isn’t the issue being discussed.

So, I have some assumptions I want to put forth before I go any further:

1. Referred employees make the best hires. (Workforce studies frequently list employee referrals as the highest quality hires across all industries and positions)

2. ERPs (Employee Referral Programs) are the major tool used to get employee referrals by HR Pros.

3. A diverse workforce will perform better in most circumstances than I homogeneous workforce will.

4. Diversity departments, if you’re lucky enough, or big enough, to have one in your organization, traditionally tend to do a weak job at “recruiting” diversity candidates (there more concerned about getting the Cinco De Mayo Taco Bar scheduled, etc.)

Now, keeping in mind the above assumptions, what do you think is the best way to recruit diverse candidates to your organization?

I’ve yet to find a company willing to go as far as to “Pay More” for a black engineer referral vs. a white engineer referral. Can you imagine how that would play out in your organization!?  But behind the scenes in the HR Departments across the world, this exact thing is happening in a number of ways.

First, what is your cost of hiring diverse candidates versus non-diverse candidates? Do you even measure that? Why not?  I’ll tell you why, is very hard to justify why you are paying two, three, and even four times more for a diverse candidate, with the same skill sets, versus a non-diverse candidate in most technical and medical recruiting environments.  Second, how many diversity recruitment events do you go to versus non-specific diversity recruitment events?  In organizations that are really pushing diversification of the workforce, I find that this figure is usually 2 to 1.

So, you will easily spend more resources for your organization to become more diversified, but you won’t reward your employees for helping you to reach your goals?  I find this somewhat ironic. You will pay Joe, one of your best engineers, $2000 for any referral, but you are unwilling to pay him $4000 for referring his black engineer friends from his former company.

Yet, you’ll go out and spend $50,000 attending diversity recruiting job fairs and events all over the country trying to get the same person.  When you know the best investment of your resources would be to put up a poster in your hallways saying “Wanted Black Engineers $4000 Reward!”.

Here’s why you don’t do this.

Most organizations do a terrible job at communicating the importance of having a diverse workforce, and that to get to an ideal state, sometimes it means the organization might have to hire a female, an Asian, an African American, or a Hispanic, over a similarly qualified white male to ensure the organization is reaching their highest potential.

Workgroup performance by diversity is easily measured and reported to employees, to demonstrate diversity successes, but we rarely do it, to help us explain why we do what we are doing in talent selection.  What do we need to do? Stop treating our employees like they won’t get it, start educating them beyond the politically correct version of Diversity and start educating them on the performance increases we get with diversity.  Then it might not seem so unheard of to pay more to an employee for referring a diverse candidate!

So, you take pride in your diversity hiring efforts, but you’re just unwilling to properly reward for it…

Here is the Average Time to Fill a job for most employers in the U.S.!

I gathered data from around 13,000 sources to get the most accurate Days to Fill metric that I could. It is one of the most asked questions I get from the audience!

So, what’s the number? 37*.

Cool, now can we stop asking? Did that just solve all of your hiring problems?

No, it didn’t. Why?

Because Time to Fill is a worthless recruiting metric for the most part. There is zero correlation between how fast you fill a job to how well your talent acquisition function is performing.

37 days is meaningless out of context, as a comparison, every job is different, every organization is different, and every market is different.

So, if you are currently at 37 days time to fill a job, and in 2022 you magically get to 36.2 days to fill, are you better at recruiting? Are you? Maybe you hired too fast and now your turnover is increased. Maybe the economy went south for a bit and increased the labor pool and now you have more candidates applying. Zero. Correlation. To. Talent. Acquisition. Success.

So, why do we use it? Frankly, and this hurts because you know I love talent acquisition and the pros that work in it every single day, we’re lazy. We’re too lazy to measure what really matters. That hurts. That should make you mad. We are better than this.

Can your Time to Fill matter at all? Yes, as a health metric of your TA function. If your industry average is 37 days, and you’re at 54, your function might have cancer! That being said, you have to support that with other stuff. Your 54-day hiring process might have reduced your turnover to 15% in an industry that has 50%, then your 54 days is understandable. But, what I usually find in most industries and jobs are fairly close to the mean on time to fill. So, it can be used as a universal health TA metric.

But, once you start trying to reduce by .4 days or .3 days, you’ve lost your way.

*For those wanting to now use “37” days as the average time to fill in the world, I totally made that metric up! Stop it! Be Better!

Why are we always trying to move up? #SHRMTalent

Yo! I’m still out in Denver at the glorious Gaylord Rockies for SHRM Talent. If I don’t make it back to Lansing, MI, there’s a 74% chance I got lost in the Gaylord and I’m thriving off the food small children dropped along the way.

Some common themes coming out of SHRM Talent:

  1. Hiring is hard.
  2. Employees seem changed. Neither good nor bad, but different.
  3. There’s a new normal, but we don’t know what that normal is yet.

One of those things that a lot of folks are talking about is what most of us consider the normal career ladder. You start at the bottom and then you spend the next 40 years of your life climbing up it, and then you die. Turns out, people seem to think that isn’t as glorious as we make it out to be.

The problem is we still view this climb and desire to climb as one of the main characteristics of a great employee. Another problem is people want more and more money and the way to get more money is to get promoted. Another problem is many times the people who want to move up, actually suck at the next level. Another problem is we use the promise of promotion as a way to retain talent when our total compensation isn’t great.

We’ve got 99 problems, and moving up the career ladder is one big one!

How could we burn down the ladder and create something else?

If I had this answer, I would not be writing blog posts from the desk at a Marriott hotel in Denver on a Tuesday evening! Let’s be honest.

What I know is the future of talent development is going to look different. There will be ways for employees to move horizontal, down, and on an angle, not just up. We will figure out the compensation stuff. I mean we already have, but we get caught up in traditional compensation design and philosophy, another problem. Traditional labor seniority systems really did a job on us over the decades! We fight constantly to stay within those constraints at all levels and within all industries.

I think it starts with us developing employees around a concept of professional competence and skill development, and not around the next level up within the organization. There use to be a time in our world were we valued mastery. We devalue mastery in today’s world, and we overvalue one’s ability to navigate the path upward. Our children are taught that they should strive for and desire upward levels. Instead of reaching mastery within a field.

That’s a hard organizational culture shift to make happen.

I think the tech world might have a better chance of reaching it faster. In that world, the value of mastery is greater. You can be a master developer and definitely make more and bring more value to a company than the manager of product management. And that’s not dumping on someone who wants to lead people, because we all know how difficult that is as well. But, just because you lead people doesn’t mean you necessarily are more valuable than the people you lead individually.

It’s such a complex and difficult topic, which makes it fascinating to talk about the future and its potential. To work in a world where each person is valued on their individual skill set and not based on the level of organizational ladder achievement would definitely be something to see. I think we all know some managers that would be in for a pay cut!

Should Corporate Recruiters Get Paid Salary & Commission?

First, shoutout to @Hervbird21 (Recruister) on Twitter for starting this conversation (Editor’s Note: Hervbird21 I don’t know who you are but send me a note and I’ll share your LinkedIn if you’d like) Also, take a look at the Twitter thread as there are some exceptional recruiting thought leaders who had thoughts on this subject.

Link to the thread

I’ve written about this a number of times over the years, but with the recruiting market being so hot right now, I’ve actually had a number of Recruiter compensation calls with corporate TA leaders trying to figure out three main things: 1. How do we retain our recruiters; 2. How do I attract more recruiters; 3. How do we reward great recruiting performance?

First, I’m all in on the fact that recruiters should be paid in a pay-for-performance model. That doesn’t mean that corporate recruiters, agency recruiters, and RPO should all be paid the same way. All three of those roles are different and should be compensated based on what the organization needs from each recruiter.

Let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons of Performance Pay for Corporate Recruiters

Pros:

  • You get more of what you measure and more of what you reward.
  • Your best recruiters will be compensated more, and higher compensation is tied to longer tenure.
  • Low performers and internal recruiters who actually hate recruiting will hate it and self-select out.
  • It will most likely raise individual recruiting team member performance in the aggregate.

Cons:

  • You will most likely have turnover with this type of change
  • Potentially, you could get behaviors that aren’t team-oriented. (IE., senior recruiters not helping junior recruiters)
  • Potentially, you could lower your quality of candidates as recruiters move quickly to gain performance comp. (the quantity over quality argument)
  • It actually might increase your compensation budget, initially, until you can find the model that is most effective.

Okay, wait, why did I say “potentially” on the Cons? Primarily, because it truly depends on the model design. Just making a decision to pay more for hires is ridiculous and leads to bad outcomes. But, developing a model that rewards individual performance that is based on recruiting behaviors that lead to better hires, quickly, and in a team setting, well, now you diminish the negative outcomes of pay for performance.

How could we make pay for performance work for corporate recruiters?

I’m not trying to dump on all the folks who commented on “Quarterly Bonuses” but stop that! “Quarterly Bonus” really means, “I don’t want to be individually measured and held accountable, but I also want more money on top of my great base salary”. Quarterly bonuses in most corp TA shops are a joke. They are usually based on Hiring Manager satisfaction and days to fill, two of the most subject measures that have zero correlation to better recruiting.

Also, internal recruiting pay for performance is not just a modified agency or RPO model. Corporate recruiters do much more than just recruit in most TA departments, so if you reward them to just recruit, understand, you’re just standing up an in-house agency model. Your internal recruiting model for corporate has to be unique to the job.

Some thoughts and ideas:

– Spend a bunch of time deciding what you actually want from your recruiters and from your function as a whole. Those two things must be aligned.

– Before going to a pay for performance model you need to get your arms around your recruiting funnel data. Otherwise, you’re just guessing at what and who to reward.

– In most cases, you can’t make the rewards the same because recruiters have different requisition loads and levels of position. Also, in most cases, certain areas of your organization hire at different times. So, get ready to test and be flexible to do the right thing at the right time.

– It’s okay if a recruiter makes more than you think if the model is producing what you want it to produce. Too often I hear from TA leaders that are like, “Jill is making too much!” But, Jill it killing it and the top recruiter.

– If you can’t get your head around paying for hires, pay for the behaviors and activities that lead to more hires.

– Start with a month or quarter test, make sure during the test no one will lose money. The goal is to try and reach some sort of outcome of better performance, to see if it can work. If they are only concerned they might make less money, you won’t truly see what can work or not work.

– It’s not about quality or quantity. It’s about quality and quantity. I’ve never led a recruiting team in a corporate or agency where good recruiters would ever send a crappy candidate on purpose. That just doesn’t happen, normally. If it did, that recruiter didn’t belong on the team.

I don’t believe in recruiting “team” rewards as pay for performance in most cases. Most teams are not designed and measured for “team” performance, so many on the team are getting the reward for a few doing most of the heavy lifting. You can still have team rewards, but you truly have to think about how you reward your most effective recruiters, short and long-term.

I think the ideal ratio for compensation for corporate recruiters should be 75% base salary and 25% pay for performance, where your best top recruiters can make 125% of their normal total comp if they are killing it. As I mentioned above, you will have recruiters quit because you have “recruiters” on your team that didn’t take the job to recruit, but to administer a recruiting process and collect a nice base salary.

Okay, tell me what I missed in the comments or if you have a model that is working you would like to share with everyone!

Mailbag: Can an experienced Recruiter be any good with 378 LinkedIn Connections?

I had a Talent Acquisition Leader reach out to me this week. She is having a hard time hiring recruiters and was looking for some insight. Now, she was looking for more of a professional generalist recruiter. Someone who can hire some hourly, but also corporate positions that include: finance, IT, operations, marketing, etc.

She mentioned she had gotten a resume of a recruiter who had four years of experience, but when she looked her up on LinkedIn, she only had 378 connections. Could this recruiter be any good with so few LinkedIn connections?

The Answer

No.

Okay, before you become unglued, let me explain.

Let’s say this four-year recruiter was only hiring high volume hourly. That would mean this person would never spend time on LinkedIn, since hourly workers, for the most part, do not have profiles on LinkedIn. So, now you’re thinking, “yeah, Tim, LI connections don’t matter for this person so they could be a great recruiter!”

Still, I say no!

Because, for me, a great recruiter builds a network of other recruiters and sourcers to constantly learn from. It basically takes almost no effort or skill to connect with 500 other recruiters, sourcers, HR pros, and your personal network on LinkedIn. Once you get to the 500 mark, no one knows if you have 501 or 30,000.

I challenge my own entry-level recruiters that have no recruiting experience to get to 500 connections as quickly as possible. Within six months, they should be able to do this very easily. So, if you run into a recruiter who is three or four years into their career, and they are under 500, they are showing you that they probably have very little interest in expanding their network and learning from others.

500 LinkedIn connections are like training wheels for a recruiter. I don’t expect every profession to have over 500, but recruiters, sales pros, and people looking for jobs should always have over 500. There’s no reason not to, it’s literally the easiest professional networking available to everyone for free.

Do more LinkedIn connections then equal someone is a better recruiter than another?

No.

But, wait, you just said…

Recruiters, of all types, need to get to 500. After that point, it really becomes more about the quality of the connections that you build. If you just accept every Open Networker on LinkedIn, that network will be full of Life Coaches and Pyramid Scheme sellers!

Great recruiters build networks that help them learn more and recruit better. I would say once you establish a network, you then become much more selective about who you invite and which invites you to accept. Right now, with my network that runs over 20,000, I only accept about 1/3 of the invitation requests I get based on the criteria I want in my network.

I know recruiters that quickly maxed out their LinkedIn networks with garbage and had to go back and scrub their networks, and it’s very time-consuming. But, I also see recruiters who switch industries and skills who do this as well. Your network should grow and change with you based on where you are at in your career.

So, LinkedIn connections matter and they don’t. That’s just reality in today’s world of recruiting. Whether you are recruiting doctors or truck drivers, you should still be using LinkedIn for your own professional development on an ongoing basis.

The Most Brilliant Talent Tips Condensed Into Tiny Sentences!

I wrote a book with a lot of words. One I discovered is that people love for you to have a book, but no one really wants to read 60,000 plus words. They want you to break it down to about 500. “Just tell me what I really need to know!”

Okay – Here you go:

  • Always give personal feedback to candidates you’ve interviewed but didn’t hire. 
  • Make every candidate believe you desire them until you don’t. 
  • Job advertising works. Programmatic Job Advertising works best. 
  • You don’t hire the best talent; you hire the best talent that applied to your jobs. 
  • If your team only uses 50% of your ATS, it’s not an ATS problem, it’s an adoption problem. (which means it’s a leadership problem) 
  • Measuring the recruiting funnel will give you far better results than measuring days to fill. 
  • Only hire Sourcers if you truly have recruiters willing to do outbound recruiting. 
  • 90% of your recruiting is inbound recruiting, but your hiring managers believe 50% of what you do is outbound recruiting. 
  • Your diversity hiring woes can be tied specifically to certain hiring managers, but we are too afraid to connect the dots politically. 
  • 99.99% of candidates will never accept a job without first talking to a real person. Call volume, in recruiting, matters. 
  • If your sourcing tech is failing, it’s not a failure of the tech, it’s your recruiters hate doing outbound recruiting. 
  • They key to being a great recruiter is getting someone who doesn’t know you to trust you with their career. 
  • A candidate will always respond to a hiring manager more than a recruiter on average. They’ll respond to the CEO of your company even more than a manager of a function.
  • On average, there are worse selection strategies than hiring the most pretty people you interview.
  • The most underutilized recruiting resource you have is your own database of clients.

What is your favorite tiny piece of talent advice? Put it in the comments, and I use it in my next book which will only be 2,000 words!

What Will Be Your Big Unlock In Recruiting?

Okay, the first thing you’re asking is what the heck is an “Unlock”, right? Well, an “unlock” according to Scott Galloway is:

“An unlock is the discovery of an accelerant for the brand, product, or service invisible in plain sight. The mold on cheese curing disease was a substantial unlock (penicillin). So is administering a small dose of a pathogen to immunize someone from the complete, more harmful pathogen (vaccines).”

An early unlock in recruiting might have been the concept of “poaching” whereas there was a time when it was considered unethical to recruit someone away from a competitor that wasn’t out actively looking. Basically, if they contacted you it was fine, but you couldn’t cold outreach to them. Sounds silly today that was an unwritten recruiting rule a few decades ago!

Another “unlock” in recruiting a few decades ago was the concept of using a candidate’s references as potential leads/referrals to other candidates. For decades we just called references for the simple fact we wanted to actually get an employment reference on a candidate, then all of sudden we were doing that, but also trying to recruit the reference as well!

The biggest unlock of the pandemic for TA was understanding as more and more positions went remote, we could now recruit talent from anywhere, potentially increasing the level of talent we could hire, and sometimes reducing the cost of salaries by hiring folks in less expensive markets.

What will be your Recruiting Unlock in 2022?

Each organization is kind of on its own recruiting evolutionary timeline. While you might have had an unlock years ago, some organizations will just discover that unlock this year. An example would be the reference check one above, many organizations are still just doing reference checks for reference checks! Some have taken those contacts with potential candidates to the next level.

What are some possible Unlocks for you this year?

  • Using marketing automation and nurturning campaigns to make more hires from your ATS database.
  • You’ll use a multi-channel approach to contacting candidates – Email, Inmail, text, phone, Facebook messaging, What’sApp, etc.
  • You’ll stop just posting jobs on job boards and start using Programmatic Job Advertising to discover potential candidates where they are on the interent, not just active candidates searching for jobs.
  • Finally using the data you collect to make your TA more effective and efficient, and not just reporting for the sake of reporting.
  • You’ll actually train your recruiting teams to be better recruiters using sites like Social Talent and SourceCon.
  • Maybe you’ll finally demo and purchase a Sourcing technology tool to help you discover talent in your market you had no idea was there.

But, the question is still what will your unlock be this year!?

I think the biggest unlock most organizations need to figure out is how they better utilize their most expensive resource, your own ATS database. Basically, for most, the candidates in there are just sitting there dying a slow death. We spend so many resources filling these databases with talent and then we do nothing with it.

If I’m not going to do anything with it, it’s basically worthless. If it’s worthless, then let me play around with it and see if I can find a way to get a better value out of it! Here are some ideas:

  1. Invest in an AI driven matching engine and activate your database again.
  2. Get a few local TA leaders in your market and start sharing talent amongst each other. Meet once a month, everyone brings a USB drive with 500 candidates on it and exchange, who knows maybe getting another 1500-2000 free candidates a month will land you some more hires!
  3. Give your ATS database to your marketing team and let them sell to every person who ever applied to your jobs. At one point these folks were saying, “Hi, I love you, I want to work for you!”, so at a minimum marketing has a positive sales database to tap!

Hit me in the comments with any ideas you might have that could be a great unlock for 2022!

What if you allowed anyone in your company to hire?

Let me walk you through a scenario and you tell me what I’m missing.

We all have hiring needs right now. Almost all of us are struggling to fill those needs. We love employee referrals! We also have great employees, doing great work who work with us, that we trust.

What would happen if we went to our employees and said, “Hey, we love you and trust you, so we are going to allow you to hire one person. You have total say in whether this person gets hired. We have a few parameters around HR stuff, drug screen, background check, etc., but the hiring decision is yours”.

You could probably add in some fun parameters like:

  • Here are the positions we have open that you can hire someone for. (IE., you might have some positions you don’t want the run of the mill making hiring decisions on)
  • If your hire fails, you won’t get this chance to hire another person for at least a year, so make it a good one!
  • If your hire succeeds, you will be given the ability to hire another person.
  • Maybe you want to throw some sort of bonus to your folks for successful hires, explain what “success” looks like, etc.

What might happen?

Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve never done it, but I think I would be willing to test it out.

Let’s dig into what we think would mostly happen.

My best guess is you would have some employees who would be like, awesome, I’ve got a friend or family member I think would do a great job, and I’m going to hire them. Yes! Some positions get filled and they have some employee sponsorship that will probably help hold them accountable and be more successful.

You will probably have a few misses. Yeah, I thought Johnny would do well, and since he has a record no one will hire him, but he’s my sister’s kid and I really thought he turned his life around and this was a great chance, but ultimately he’s a loser.

You will probably have some employees who think you are nuts and not serious.

The big question is would you allow this for any positions, or just low/no-skill type of positions? I mean, really, conceptually, it works for any level. If I have a finance position open, and there are certain requirements needed for the job, then it isn’t really that hard to see if the person can conceptually do the job or not with their experience and education. So, it could work for any level job, blue-collar or white-collar.

Does this empower your employees?

Imagine being an individual contributor in your organization and one day you wake up and go to work and you realize you can actually hire someone. I can have that experience of making a life-changing decision for someone else. That seems like it would be pretty powerful!

Do you remember the very first person you ever got to hire? That’s a giant career moment. I tend to think every person you hire is a pretty great career moment, but the first one is big!

I think being able to hire someone would be super empowering and it’s really just a next-level employee referral program. Instead of you just referring someone, just take it few more steps and make it happen!

I tend to look at our current staffing problems with a strong testing mentality. Let’s try a bunch of stuff and see what might work. Most of it won’t work, but we might run into something amazing! Maybe our first test of this concept is to go to a hand-selected group of 10 or 20 employees and give them the first shot. Measure the results, gather feedback, decide if it should be rolled out further or what changes should be made.

All that I know is that early in my career if the CEO came into my cube and said, “Tim, we are going to allow you to hire one person to work here!” I would have taken that assignment very seriously and would have thought that was super cool!

What do you think? Tell me how crazy this is.