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There's still time! (But not much)

Give the gift of Contented Cows this holiday season.

Here's the deal: Through January 1, 2008. Our new book, Contented Cows MOOve Faster (all about employee engagement and discretionary effort) is reduced to $18 per copy.

Our original book, Contented Cows Give Better Milk (the business case for creating a great workplace) is reduced to $15 per copy.

Buy both books together for $30.

PLUS - we'll inscribe the books to whomever you like, with a personalized message (or not - if that's what you'd prefer).

But wait - there's more

We'll even giftwrap your purchase, for free, and ship it wherever you'd like (not for free - sorry. Whadya want? You're getting a great deal on some great books!) Well, Bill and Richard, who each have 5 thumbs on each hand, won't actually wrap them. We'll delegate that job to our crack colleagues who possess giftwrapping as a skill. In other words, don't worry. They'll look great!

Click here to go to our online store, and take advantage of this holiday offer!
Never (Ever!) Stop Recruiting

By Richard Hadden and Bill Catlette

Last month a visitor to our website called with an interest in employee recruiting. "Our hiring managers," he said, "have been having trouble, for a long time, finding good people to fill positions. So we thought we should start seeing if we could do a better job with recruiting."

Ya' think?

You've already figured out what's wrong with this picture. The managers "have been having trouble for a long time. So we thought we should start doing a better job of recruiting."

Resisting the temptation to fire off a smart-alecky response, I had to admit to myself that this fellow's behavior was not all that unusual; many of us fail to prepare for what we know, with certainty, will be a future need.

Take Christmas shopping, for example. Not only was Christmas prophesied for, like, 3,000 years before the event, it's pretty predictable that it's going to come every year about this time. Because I've always celebrated Christmas, I have known for decades, that I would need to buy at least some presents for Christmas of 2007. And yet, like some of you, I suspect, I have made precious little progress on my Christmas list for this year. (See offer above if you still need help here.)

There has been nothing to stop me from doing as my wife routinely does; throughout the year, when she sees something that would be a good gift for someone on our list, she buys it. People often tell her she finds the "best gifts". I, on the other hand, am usually online til all hours on December 22, looking for items that are largely out of stock and which will cost a fortune to have shipped overnight.

But isn't this how many of us approach employee recruiting? We know we're going to need talented people, and that there aren't nearly enough to go around. And yet we don't start shopping until the need is upon us. We find that the talent we need is largely out of stock, and if we can get it, it's probably going to cost us a fortune.

Stationery magnate Harvey Mackay wrote a book entitled "Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty". Although the book deals with effective networking, his advice is every bit as applicable to the world of employee recruiting, an area in which highly successful leaders perform remarkably well. They realize that if they wait until a big new contract lands or someone leaves to begin the recruiting process, they are hugely disadvantaged. Within five minutes of finding yourself short-staffed, your judgment begins to erode and, instead of waging a war for talent, your primary concern has to do with "putting butts in seats."

In many respects, recruiting is a lot like sport fishing, to which I am seriously addicted. Because I have yet to have a fish voluntarily jump into the boat, unaided by tackle or effort on my part, I've learned to keep casting and keep my lure in the water. If a particular lure isn't working, I change it, change the method of retrieve or the depth in the water column, or move the boat, but in any event, I keep fishing!

A Radical Idea
Leaders who plan ahead have been known to hire an exceptional person, even when they didn't have a specific need or position. We are not suggesting you put unnecessary people on the payroll and then give them busywork until you find something productive for them to do. But we are suggesting that you can make the best use of available talent by capturing that person on his or her schedule, not necessarily on yours.

Think about it. The odds of your company having an opening for a particular job at the precise moment that the perfect person happens to have an opening in his or her career are astronomical! Most organizations are staffed by chance. Exceptional ones use a more intelligent, forward-thinking process.

An Intelligent Process
When you begin recruiting on a constant basis, you adopt better methods and procedures. When you're not desperate-behind the power curve-you can pay the necessary attention to each aspect of the process, notably sourcing, screening, and interviewing.

Owing to the prevalence of smaller-sized businesses these days, most of us are able to avoid the mass hiring scenarios that are every recruiter's nightmare and focus instead on finding great people- the right people-one at a time. Sensible sourcing methods should include soliciting candidate referrals from existing employees, customers, and suppliers. In fact, if you've been diligent over time in using this network and rewarding - really rewarding - folks for referrals, you may never have to venture down the paid advertising path.

Most of us get this one completely backward. Employers spend lots of hours, money, and other resources screening people who may have the technical requirements for the job, but neither the values nor the attitude to make it in their organizations. A better way is to screen for values and attitudes first - and everything else after that. It takes less time, provides you with a more viable candidate pool, and almost always results in better hires.

Most of us wind up with sub- par interview results because 1) we're not as prepared as we should be, and 2) we talk more than we listen. Too often both.

Perhaps the best advice we can offer is to treat every candidate as you would a guest in your home. Have all the necessary preparations made in advance so that when the guest arrives, you can spend quality time together, uninterrupted. Be realistic about the length of the interview appointment and your scheduling of contiguous activities. Bear in mind that one of the most inconsiderate things you can do to another human being is to waste his or her time. Aside from the obvious reasons for behaving this way, we would do well to remember that every interviewee represents a window (with a mouth) into our organization. Not to mention a potential customer.

Want a more engaged workforce? Want the performance benefits of creating a great place to work? Bring Bill Catlette or Richard Hadden in to speak or conduct leadership training for your organization, or to keynote your association's next convention.

Contact Bill (901- 853-9646) or Richard (904-720-0870), and let's talk about how we can make your next meeting a colossal success!

Richard Hadden and Bill Catlette
Contented Cow Partners, LLC

phone: 904-720-0870
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