Recently we participated in the Rising Above Summit that many of the state broadcasting associations sponsored for their members. The good news is that from the many attendees, it appears that hiring is on the mind of many managers so we thought it would be wise to share some of their questions and how we responded. These are real questions from real radio managers.
How do you talk to a good prospect, someone who would be a great addition to our team at some point? We don’t have a position open now so how do I handle? I love this question as it shows that someone is thinking long-term and that is absolutely the best thing to do when considering prospects for future hiring. Just as we target prospective clients we also need to be identifying and courting prospective employees. It is essential for a company that wants to attract a higher quality of employee to really promote all the reasons why someone should consider working for them. Google and many other tech firms have done an excellent job of promoting how they treat people, they share stories, videos, and testimonials all focused on educating the job seekers as to why a career with them is a smart move.
There are many success stories from managers who have pursued these ‘passive’ prospects. Remember, these people are not necessarily out looking for a new job, so they need to be kept warm, courted, and sold on your opportunity. One manager shared that it took him four years of courting a prospect before she agreed to join his team, where she remains a top biller.
Once you have done your homework and identified a strong prospect, the leadership team should reach out and start having conversations. Let them know that you have learned impressive facts about them and that you would be remiss in your job if you didn’t reach out to get to know them. Be upfront that you don’t have an appropriate opportunity at this time and not sure when you will but that you felt it important to be on each other’s radar.
Build the relationship just as you would a prospective client. Ask questions about what they like and don’t like about their current job and employer and file those tidbits away for when you do have a job open as those are the areas you can address when trying to encourage them to consider joining your team. Inquire about what is important to them to ascertain if their joining you helps them get to their overall career goal.
Keep in touch with them. Make them aware of changes in your industry or company, format changes, new services or tools that you are rolling out to the market. Congratulate them on any life events such as birthdays, marriages, new babies, or awards they may have received. Show them that you care. Look for some commonality for a reason for touching base, it could be a sports team, a special hobby, or even a change of seasons.
Another example is where a dynamite prospect had to choose between two offers, one a radio station and one a beverage distributor. He did not choose the radio position, however, the radio manager kept in touch so after two years when he felt he had gone as far as he could, he called the radio manager and told him the time was right to sign on. He commented that due to the manager keeping in touch, showed him that he wanted to work for that manager.
Just as you have a full pipeline of prospective clients, you want to also create and maintain a large list of prospective hires as we all know, it is all about the numbers.