May 2017

Dear Hiring Manager: An Open Letter

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Dear Hiring Manager,

I understand that you’re busy. Probably more than ever since your company has likely remained lean following the Great Recession. That’s why I’m suggesting you take on an important task. One that may seem counterintuitive. Your company needs your help generating candidate referrals to fill your jobs.

You may be thinking, “This so-called hiring expert has lost his mind. I’ve already got a full calendar and a desk loaded with work.” A recent story about restaurant chain Cracker Barrel demonstrates why helping with referrals is in your best interest.

Cracker Barrel is known for it’s innovative marketing approaches. One of these has included managers picking random people from the local phonebook and inviting them to a new Cracker Barrel for a home-cooked meal on the house. As the company puts it, “Two weeks later, business picked up. All over town, people were talking about the new restaurant near the interstate and the manager who was calling people to invite them over for dinner.” 

So, how does this Cracker Barrel example relate to generating job candidate referrals? Being invited by a restaurant manager for a free meal is a welcome surprise. Being contacted about career opportunities is a welcome surprise and an ego boost. When you personally reach out to a potential job candidate, you’re sending a message. You’re saying, “You matter. I value you and your background.” You’re also showing people that your company and leadership style are different and attractive.

Why is this important? You have tremendous power. You have a network of colleagues who may fit current (or future) job openings. This same group of contacts can introduce you to dozens of additional people who could also fit your hiring needs.

Now, you may be thinking, “Our corporate recruiter or someone in HR could do this just as easily as I can.” No offense to them, but they cannot. You have something they don’t—shared experience. You have much in common with that prospective job candidate. You talk their talk and understand what they go through each day. This gives you immediate credibility and helps engender trust. A recruiter or HR can help you move things forward following your initial dialogue with someone. But only after you’ve built rapport and captured the candidate’s interest.

Generating referrals now, even if you don’t have any open jobs, will save you time. This part may seem surprising. However, think about what happens when a job opens. Most managers engage in the old way of hiring—keeping a job open until the right person shows up. That means they have to do their own job, handle or delegate the workload of the open position, and conduct interviews to fill that opening. Is it any wonder so many leaders are exhausted and overwhelmed?

When you engage in the new way of hiring—cultivating talented people and waiting for the right job to show up—the exhaustion and overwhelm go away. Spending 20 minutes a week reaching out to talented people helps keep hiring manageable.

So, help your company help you. Set aside a small chunk of time weekly to cultivate referrals. Use these referrals to line up people before you need them. Engage in the new way of hiring and make hiring delays a thing of the past.

Sincerely yours,

Scott Wintrip

Scott WintripDear Hiring Manager: An Open Letter
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The Importance of What You Do

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Writing can be tricky. Sometimes an article has a positive impact. Other times, a piece ends up being a dud. Then there are those articles that stand the test of time. Here’s one of them.

I wrote the original version of The Importance of What You Do 17 years ago. Threase Baker, President of ABBTECH Professional Resources, sent me a copy of the original article, asking if I remembered when I wrote it. She went on to say that she’d been resending it to her staff every month for the past 17 years. Wow! I was stunned.

As a result of her comment, thought it was time to share it again. This time, I’ve updated it to include everyone in companies, organizations, and staffing and recruiting firms who are involved in hiring each day.

I hope you find this piece as meaningful as Threase did.

_________________

You have one of the most important jobs in the world. Why? Because you impact one of the most important aspects of each person’s life—how they earn their income. Your contribution helps them pay their mortgage, feed their families, and purchase birthday presents for their children.

You also make a valuable contribution to the most important resource of a company—their people.

Without you, countless individuals would end up struggling through the job search process. You make it easier by paving the way for them.

Numerous positions would take longer to fill or even go unfilled without the help you provide.

You impact your co-workers each day in ways that you probably do not realize. It may be something as profound as the solution you offer for a problem or as simple as a shared smile that brightens their day.

During the very lonely and frightening experience of being “downsized,” you are there. You are a friendly face at a time when jobseekers need it the most.

Hiring managers benefit not only from your efforts, but also your insights. Your knowledge of hiring and the availability of talented candidates helps them every time you share this information with them.

Can one person make a difference? You already have just by choosing your career.

Thank you for the important impact that you make each day!

Scott WintripThe Importance of What You Do
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