Stop and smell the purpose, not the candidate's, yours. We spend countless hours crafting the perfect job description but, we miss the point. Fast forward to what Robert Levering, co-founder of Great Places to Work, has uncovered after years of research: “A great place to work is one in which you trust the people you work for, have pride in what you do, and enjoy the people you work with.” Two of the three ingredients to success have everything to do with the employer not the worker. There lies the secret to hiring success.
Employees do not want to just make a living. Punch-in and punch-out workers never amount to much. Yet exceptional employees, hidden among those who interview for the job, look for a lot more: they want a place that gives their lives a meaning, purpose, and value. Sounds familiar? If you have not thought about your business in those terms, it is time to catch up.
What distinguishes a great company from a mediocre one is a clear definition of the reason why it exists and the pillars that define and continuously support the company's higher purpose. Then, and only then, are they ready to embark on a mission to find ideal employees.
What sounds good is not necessarily believable like “we are a team” or “we treat our employees like family." Talk is cheap and if you truly mean what you say then it must be reflected in the mission, purpose and value that define why your business exists. Your employees' behavior tell the story not the fancy sign in your lobby.
A former employer, who recruited me from another company, presented his offer like this: “I have money. My kids are taken care of. The only reason I come to work every day is because employees are dependent on our company and it is our job to not just give them a place to work but also help them realize their dreams.”
I did not need to interview. I made my decision as soon as he was done speaking, and the best part was that he never wavered from his purpose; our company helps employees realize their dreams. The rest did not matter because work was never work, it was a step closer to a better future.
Put aside your job description or recruiting ad. Revisit your mission, value and purpose statements and test them for accuracy and believability. Then ask yourself — do we deliver on the promise and commitment that we made? Better yet, have the courage to ask your employees that question.
So, on your journey to find great employees stop and smell your purpose. If you present a candidate with passion and can demonstrate that it defines who you are, interviewing dynamics change. Roles will reverse and the candidate will interview you, not in a scripted way, but with genuine excitement and passion. Do you want to know why? It's all about the hidden spark.
Candidates and employees recognize when they are in the presence of great leaders and a corporate culture that follows them - the type of genuine caring coupled with a level of intensity that makes us not only strive to exceed expectations but chart a new course. It appeals to our innate desire to feel satisfied, valued and happy. When you light up the hidden spark, you unleash massive potential. All you have to do is provide them with a chair, a desk and Internet connection, then watch them flourish.
From a customer's perspective, there is something very rewarding when you interact with employees who love where they work and what they do. Interestingly, you do not have to be a Zappos or SouthWest Airlines — just remind yourself why you are in business and that you cannot get there without those who surround you.
Seth Godin says it best: Instead of, "do what you love," perhaps the more effective mantra for the entrepreneur, the linchpin and maker of change might be, "love what you do."