I’m a VP of Sales at a manufacturer. I’m having such a hard time recruiting salespeople. Same old story – candidates are driving the market. I get it.
I’ve hired a recruiter. She just throws candidates at me in hopes that one will stick. I’ve hyped jobs on LinkedIn. I get nothing but unemployed people and other companies’ headaches. I’ve networked with business contacts and colleagues … you name it, I've done it. I’ve asked design firms… dealers… still nothing. Zip. Nada.
I can’t think of any option that I’ve overlooked. When all else has failed, what's the best way to fill an open position these days?
Help Me With A Hire.
Dear Help Me,
I have one tip for you that you did not name out of all the different ways you’re trying to recruit. It’s the best way. And it’s right in front of your nose…
That is: I always encourage our client companies that their first action in recruiting should be to incentivize their existing employees to refer their friends and contemporaries for employment.
From the sales floor to the warehouse to the office to the showroom, it’s my experience that a smart manufacturer, dealer, or retail store will always find their best next employees through an existing one. Word. Of. Mouth. Did I spell it out enough for you?
The best way to do this is to incentivize your existing employees to refer people they know and to offer your employees a minimum of a $10K finders fee if that person stays on board for at least one year. Yes – you read that right, $10K. Allow me to explain.
You give them $5K when the person starts and another $5K at the one-year anniversary of that same employee. This is the amount I generally recommend for salespeople, but for back-office people or warehouses, the fee could be more in the range of $5K in total, payable the same way.
Look at it like this; it’s a fraction of what it would cost you to hire a recruiter like me, and often less than it would cost to run long-term ads on LinkedIn or Indeed or any job platform for that matter.
Think about it – who knows your company better than an existing employee? They know the business culture, the expectations. And they know their friends, and they know their capabilities! They know if they’ll fit into the team. They’ll know if they can meet the expectations of the position. When you hire a friend of an employee, that person has already heard all about your company – all the details, good and bad – so it’s likely when the new person starts, there will be no dramatic surprises. They’re more likely to stay with your company and, ultimately, to succeed.
Sometimes my client companies expect they should get free referrals from their employees. I totally disagree. Let’s face it; there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Especially for you, the boss!
Many of you reading this column today are in human resources or are hiring sales managers, and you may be saying to yourself, we already have an existing employee referral bonus in place, and you’re not seeing great results. Well, I’m here to tell you that that is because you’re not being generous enough with the bonus amount.
If you want to hire the best salespeople today, offer your existing employees a minimum of 10 grand if they present you with a successful hire. It’s a huge savings from using outside recruiters. It will not put a big dent in your HR budget. And it creates great energy within your company. Mostly, it shows your gratitude to your employees, and guess what the word for 2023 is, and probably for 2024, too: it’s gratitude! Overused, yes, but the best attitude is gratitude, as they say.
So, here’s the secret. One less placement for me, but probably one great new employee for you! Don’t say I never did anything for my readers.