Do you know how to attract the linchpin?

November 6, 2018

So business is booming, and you need some employees. Simple, right? Wrong. You don’t need some employees, you need the right employees. But where do you find them and more importantly – how do you attract and retain them?

Employing staff is tricky at the best of times. Reading between the lines, knowing the difference between interview nerves and a non-starter – this is not often an enjoyable process for employers and employees alike. But here’s the thing – getting this right is absolutely vital for the continued success of your business. And it is critical that you know what you’re looking for.

So why do you care? Let me give you this simple fact. On average, the biggest cost to employers when it comes to staff is ‘bad hires’. It is estimated that the cost of a poorly performing staff member ranges in the vicinity of 30% - 150% of their total package, not to mention the disruption to your business. If you do a simple calculation of your staff payroll, and then contemplate the cost if you get it wrong, it’s easy to see why getting it right is so critical.

The ‘linchpin’

This term has been coined by Seth Godin, and I highly recommend you read his book of the same name.

A linchpin is a proactive self-starter who you can rely on to go above and beyond the bounds of a set role and think outside the box. Put simply, a linchpin is a member of your team who, amongst others things, can:

• Embrace a lack of structure, and find a new path;

• Solve problems that you haven't predicted;

• See things others haven't seen;

• Connect people who need to be connected; and

• Be the person who will open up an entire new market, versus one that ineffectively ticks off names on a list.

If you already employ staff, you may be reading this and realising you have a couple of these people already. Or perhaps you are realising what you’re missing out on. Either way – you need to understand the importance of these so-called linchpins to the success of your business. And you need to know how to attract them.

The Art of Hiring

How do you go about hiring staff?  Have you done it before and do you have a system? Do you value this as a high priority and do it yourself, or do you delegate it to someone (anyone) else?

Whether you’re new to hiring or an old hand, there are certain questions that you need to answer in order to make sure you’ve got the right approach - not just for attracting great staff but for retaining them too. Questions like:

1. What do you want - Are you clear on what you are hiring for? What are the standards? Do you waiver on these because you can’t find someone, or do you hold out for the right fit? Can you describe what your non-negotiables are when it comes to staff, and is it skill or attitude based?

2. When do you want it – When do you recruit? When you already have a vacancy (and are desperate) or are you cultivating talent constantly, way before you need it?

3. What is your value - What is your value proposition to future employees - what are you offering that will attract the people that could choose any employer? Remember that salary is only one part of this equation (although if you penny pinch you will get what you pay for!)

4. What is their value – Do you know what your industry ‘A-listers’ get paid, and how? Is it a package? Bonuses? Other benefits? You need to know what your competitors are offering, but don’t just look in your own industry - what are other industries doing to attract big talent?

5. What are the extras – What extras are you prepared to give to show your staff their value? A day off on their birthday or some days over Christmas as a thank you? Ongoing education and development?

6. What do they see - Think about their first impressions of you. Remember, they are interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them! Be honest with yourself here - if you tell prospective team members that you value innovation and staff ideas or flexible working practices - where is that evident? How will you demonstrate this when you are pitching to an employee?

Process makes perfect

One of the most critical aspects of the hiring process is to make sure you have one. Pre, during and post interview.  Yes you should trust your gut, but you also need to have a system in place, starting from the first moment you think about hiring, and way before you advertise. For example:

• Creating your brief – how much time do you spend thinking about the role you are hiring for, the cultural fit, the strengths of you and your team, and the strengths needed in the candidate?

• Advertising - Where do you do this, and who writes your job brief and ads? Are they clearly reflective of what you’re about, or are they generic?

• Interviewing - What is the quality of the interview process, and what questions do you ask? Do you have different questions, criteria and testing depending on the job you are recruiting for?

• Shortlisting - How do you shortlist – do you value some attributes or answers more highly than others?

• Hiring – Do you have induction processes for new staff? Do you offer trial periods so you can check each other out?

Remember that a prospective employee will never look as good as they do at that first interview!

This is a big topic, and of major importance to your business – so much so, in fact, that we’re going to be looking at this over a series of three blog posts. Next week, we’re going to be focusing on the importance of environment in attracting and retaining staff.

Top tips

• Know what you’re looking for, and don’t ‘settle’.

• The interview goes both ways, so make sure you’re happy with how you represent your business.

• Understand the value of good staff, and decide on their value to you, before you start the hiring process.

• Make sure you have a hiring process!

Need help? I’ve got your back!

If you need help:

• Understanding your hiring ‘non-negotiables’;

• Determining your value proposition to future employees;

• Realising their value to you; and

• Implementing a hiring process –

click on the link below to book in a free 15 minute Discovery Call with me!

• PS, if you have a burning question or a problem that needs a solution, contact us with the details and we will be in touch. Every fortnight we will answer a question for a reader as part of our case study series.  Leave a message on Facebook or contact

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