I’m the owner of a large dealership, and we’re ramping up our hiring for 2023. I know, I know – people are concerned about the layoffs in Silicon Valley and the economy in general right now. But at my dealership and at the manufacturer that we represent, we understand that what’s happening in Silicon Valley and with the tech industry is not necessarily reflective of our customer base.
A lot of the tech companies facing these giant lay-offs have employees who’ve been working from home five days a week anyway, so they were never our customers in the first place. I’m in geography where our customers are buying furniture for law firms, financial institutions, health care organizations, not to mention hospitality and - something new- senior living is on fire. And the US and State Government is buying everything and anything!
We have so many clients like the ones I mentioned ordering products that we can’t even keep up. I should have started hiring months ago! What we need are account managers and project managers. These individuals are paid a generous base salary, and further incentivized based on the revenue stream of the accounts themselves. If our dealership can’t keep up with the business workflow generated by the account, it’s simply going to go to another dealer.
I already know I’m going to be short staffed in 2023. That’s because it’s predictable that some people will quit after they get their bonus, and also my partners and I have some underperforming employees that we want to fire after the holidays.
I’m writing to you because I need some advice. Last year, you wrote in your column about referral bonuses when our own employees refer someone to work here. Brilliant! Ever since I read that, we’ve been offering $4,000 bonuses to existing employees who recommend a candidate that we hire. $2,000 when they start, and another $2,000 one year after their start date; if they still work for us. It’s working gangbusters, but still, we need more experienced help.
I’m using a combination of contingency recruiters who bring us candidates who we pay for only after we hire them and premium services like your own. The problem with the contingency recruiters is they rarely bring us candidates more talented than the average LinkedIn applicant. But on the other hand, paying upfront is more nerve-racking. I know many of the dealer owners across the country, a lot of them are friends of mine, and many of them say they’re clients of The Viscusi Group, so I thought I’d ask you; what is the best strategy for my company’s needs? Is everybody hiring as much as we are for 2023?
Dear Help Wanted,
The experience you’re describing about hiring for 2023 is identical to what I’m hearing from most of our dealer and manufacturer clients. It’s very important for people in the furniture industry to cut out all the noise they hear in the media about the firings in the tech industry and not confuse that with the office furniture industry that they work in… It’s like comparing pears to grapefruits!
Additionally, smart managers realize that they are going to lose employees come the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023 - once people get their commission or get their bonuses paid out, they feel like it’s time to “look around for a better opportunity” or “keep an open mind” if a headhunter calls. And many times, I’ve heard over-confident sales managers say “nobody can talk you into leaving a job that you like,” or “employees don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses”. Well, I’m here to tell you that is simply not true. Executive recruiters, like myself, pride ourselves in being able to talk people into leaving their job and starting new ones. It’s what we do. The top line reasons are easy to explain – the candidate gets career growth and more money; my client gets a talented new employee. But behind the scenes, if we know enough “dirt” on the person’s present employer (i.e., difficult culture, lack of benefits, bad commission programs, mean bosses, etc.) we’re able to convince anybody that the career move we’re bringing them is the right thing to do.
So, when that person quits, and you, as the employer, think, “Well, they were going to leave anyway,” you’re simply kidding yourself! I convinced them to leave. I gave them all the right reasons.
So, I guess the message I’m sending is you’re doing the right thing by hiring for 2023. In fact, you should always be hiring, or at least have an outside recruiter as part of your team in addition to your own employees recruiting for you… and yes! Keep offering your people a referral bonus! The one you described is very generous. Nothing is better than being recruited to a company by someone who likes their job.
Keep your eye on the hiring ball, don’t let economic forecasts discourage you until you see changes in your own local market.