Presidential Politics and the Market

For those who monitor the market on an institutional basis using presidential politics to predict the market is about as useful as playing pin the tail on the donkey:  the players are blind, have little idea of the target and the possibility that someone will get poked with a sharp object is high.

It’s no secret that to serve your clients better you need to meet (and exceed) their expectations for responsiveness and organization.  The best way to do that is to hire a dream team of support staff. Some human resource experts, as well as entrepreneurs, suggest that hiring unusual candidates or recruiting from outside the standard spots could help find the right staff to fit your needs.

While your staff has to meet certain core requirements (like a knowledge of Office products or the basics of using a complex phone system), the most important skill set for support staff usually involves care and compassion. Some HR professionals call that emotional intelligence or add other qualities like authenticity or empathy.  Finding people that are quick learners also means they’ll quickly learn client’s preferences and needs, as well as the your own preferred methods and best times to reach you.

The key to finding the right people might be to focus more on how you find them, and less on how your job description or interview process. So what are some nontraditional ways to find the right staff? By trying these ideas and letting go of what you’ve always tried, you may find your client’s new favorite staff person.

Focus on hiring the right person, not the right candidate. Sure, you need someone who has certain skill sets, but you also may need someone with personality traits that will suit your clients the best. If you tend to work with larger, well-established companies that make careful, slow changes, you may find hiring a careful, thoughtful assistant to be better than someone with superior Microsoft office skills. If you’ve successfully managed high maintenance clients or clients in a dynamic industry that has seen enormous changes (like legal or financial), having an assistant who spent a few years trying his or her hat as counselor to at-risk teens might be an amazing fit. If you have a high volume practice of smaller businesses with engaged clients, having an assistant whose first career involved teaching preschool (or was  a 911 dispatcher) might also be an amazing fit.

Consider how you are describing the job and whether that might be keeping the right candidate away.  While the right candidate might thrive in an energetic and creative environment, describing that job as both fast paced as well as high volume might send a signal to candidates that the stress isn’t worth the paycheck. Similarly, for folks thinking about changing careers, reading the phrase “self-starter” could turn away candidates that might need more mentoring in the first few months of the job who then can run your office like a, well, 911 dispatcher!

Your friends and clients may be the best source of recruiting for you. While you can articulate the skills needed to perform the job well, you might not as accurately describe the work environment. You might also miss out on key elements that would be attractive to job seekers. Hearing that 80% of your staff has been with your company for more than 10 years shows candidates that staff are respected and valued. It might be a detail you’ve overlooked. So too for small gestures that make up the way your company operates, such as donuts on Fridays or how often your staff meets outside of the office for birthdays or special occasions.  These little things make up your company culture and fitting into company culture is the most important element to getting the right candidate. Articulating your company culture, in these small details, can be a huge challenge in a job description, especially on a job board where your description could get truncated. So let your friends, colleagues or clients do the cheerleading for you on culture by letting them know about an opening at your company.

Focusing on the right fit with culture is also crucial in an interview. If you worry less about asking a zinging question in an interview and more about how your recruit interacts with the receptionists or assistants, you’ll see their true character that you might not get when the recruit turns on the charm in an interview.

When hiring an outside of the box candidate, you’ll need to consider a few issues. The first is what onboarding a new staff person might need if they come from outside the industry or outside of a traditional role.  You might think of that as mitigating the risks of hiring an outside the box candidate. Just the practice of thinking through how you onboard a new candidate from outside your normal pool might help raise questions or cause you to rethink some of your procedures on client services.

Back to Blog

Latest Entries

Need a Proposal?

Before leaping into the unknown, we recommend a thorough examination of your plan. Because we are experts in the field, we know the marketplace and know what your existing vendor is capable of offering.  Through this examination, we can help you optimize the service you receive.

get xpress proposal