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Staffing tips from my kid

February 27, 2012
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My daughter, Pam, came out to our home in Phoenix recently because she is in the midst of her recruiting and hiring process right now. She travels around the country visiting college campuses recruiting staff for the sleep-away camp she works for.

Pam and I have always talked about business since she was a teenager because she shares my love for it. We both get that love of business from my own father.

I asked how her recruiting visits around the State of Arizona was going and she shared that the turnout was huge. She also said she had some great recruiting sessions. The bonus is those who showed up for the most part were very well prepared for their interview session with her.

I asked what she meant by that and she explained that they exchange emails before the interview takes place. She has them read her blogs before they arrive for their interview and she instructs them to view a special 10-minute video about camp life and the camp experience so those being interviewed can know what to expect. My wife and I were curious so she played the video on her computer for us. I know I’m biased…but…it was brilliant!

The video is of her and the two other directors speaking to the camera as they gave a flyover tour mixed with both the great things about camp and what the applicant must do to earn a coveted spot at her camp. And then it hit me! This was certainly unlike most contractors who are desperate when they hire and end up putting little effort into the process of screening. They end up being interviewed by the candidates rather than doing the interviewing. But not Pam! She was in control of the whole process and was interviewing them because they were applying for a job with her and her team.

Create a video

Hey, I never thought about telling a prospective hire to view a pre-recorded video message when I was a contractor. But think about it. It builds interest and desire to joining your team because you only want the right people. This video idea is a great way to tell them what they’ll encounter in the real world at your company, the opportunities for a career and what they can expect. A great video would be attracting the right candidates while repelling the wrong ones. It’s a little bit of the feather and a little bit of the brick.

She also let us know that there’s a twist in that the perspective hire must view the entire video all the way to the end because it tells them to show up at the interview and do an enthusiastic presentation of what is said at the end. It’s top secret so I can’t share it with you!

Wow! Imagine recruits having to come to your interview sessions prepared and engaged. The right type of potential hire will watch it and it’ll build buzz about the process and the organization they’re seeking to be a part of. It prescreens them and tests them to see if they invested the time and energy to watch and learn from it.

Prescreen and organize

One more tip from Pam is that after she gets a pile of applications, she sorts them into three categories:

1. Group A: These are the winners she wants on her team. Their enthusiasm, spirit and intelligence have convinced her they’d be a real asset.

2. Group B: These are good people but not quite sure how they’d fit in. Although a potential asset, they’re in second place to the Group A candidates. She keeps them engaged because she knows that she may not get all the Group A candidates she wants and needs. Stuff happens!

3. Group C: These are people who are not going to make the cut. She lets them know they were good candidates and it was a difficult choice but because of the numbers squeeze they didn’t make the final cut. She also keeps their contact information in case she makes other plans for the summer season.  

To me, Pam has mastered the concept that recruiting is a lot like marketing. You have to build buzz and fill the funnel bigger than you need so you can be selective in the hiring process.  

Do as I did. Take a staffing lesson from my kid because you’ll be glad you did!

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