How do I recruit and hire Rainmakers?

“Hiring good people is hard. Hiring great people (Rainmakers) is brutally hard. And yet nothing matters more in winning than getting the right people on the field. All the clever strategies and advanced technologies in the world are nowhere near as effective without great people to put them to work.” Jack Welch.

Dr. Smart says you have to be disciplined from the very beginning and start at the top. You may have as much as 100 hours in each search. “That’s the price to play. You have to put a ton of time and energy into getting those first A Players (Rainmakers) who then attract others.”

Dr. Smart declares that a 90% or better success rate in hiring is achievable.

It takes time and money in people, assessment tools, clearly defined processes, and external resources to generate the applicant flow and have an effective interview and selection process.
Someone once said the best way to end right is to start right. Using a reputable professional recruiter you can trust raises the caliber of your selection pool. A rising tide raises all ships. How do you pick the best of the best?

Aim at nothing and you hit it every time. You have to identify your target. You have to know what you want and be able to recognize it when you see and hear it. In today’s highly competitive market for talent, and with the shrinking talent pool, you must be prepared to act promptly in making hiring decisions or you’ll get beat by those who will.
The US Department of Labor Bureau statistics forecast by the year 2010 due to 70 million retiring baby boomers there will be approximately 10 million more skilled white collar jobs than qualified workers in the 35 to 45 year old demographic in this country. That is according to the book entitled “Impending Crisis: To Many Jobs Too Few People” written by Roger Herman, Tom Olivo and Joyce Gioa.

Having a detailed and very specific job description including the job responsibilities and expectations with education, experience, hard and soft skill requirements in must haves, to nice to haves, is a good start also. This enables you to further identify the core competencies and characteristics needed in doing the job well. This will enable you to determine the exact questions you need to ask to uncover hard evidence in the applicants’ background that fits the job and the environment, which would enable growing / progressing in the company. Mr. Welch’s rule of thumb was to not hire someone into his or her last job, unless it’s to be head of a function or CEO.

Dr. Smart says your most powerful hiring tool is the CIDS Interview Guide. Chronological In-Depth Structured Interview Guide he provides in his book Topgrading.

Mr. Welch writes in “Winning” the most important question you can ask in an interview is to probe around the reasons for leaving their two most recent jobs. “Keep digging and dig deep” he writes. “The key is: Listen closely. Get in the candidate’s skin. Why a person has left a job or jobs tells you more about them than almost any other piece of data.”

Ok. You’ve got your Rainmaker clearly identified. Now how do you also get them to join your team? Everything you’ve done up to this point has helped a lot if you’ve done it right.

A good recruiter is helping with candid feedback, managing expectations of the process on both sides and in selling your job and company. They should be in the head and heart of the candidate and be able to help you in understanding your competition.

Your thorough, well planned and organized process has impressed them. But most importantly, so have the people you have had them meet with. They should be your brightest and best. Rainmakers want to be where other Rainmakers are. They know they can’t do it all by themselves.

You’ve made a tremendous amount of TRUST deposits into their emotional and psychological bank account, described by Steven Covey in “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, by doing exactly what you have said you would do and when you said you would do it. You’ve not missed a single communication commitment. Same goes for the recruiter.

If things haven’t gone precisely as stated, you are in a very uncertain position to draw the best of the best. Rainmakers are very observant of people’s actions and words, watching very carefully what you do compared to what you say. Creating any doubt or uncertainties is deadly to hiring Rainmakers. Get it right and as near flawless as you can. Clear communication and properly managing expectations in the process are paramount. You want as much trust in the bank as you can get so that when it counts most you can write the check and gain the offer acceptance.

Let’s talk about the offer. A good recruiter will know what will be accepted by the candidate. Ask him or her and work on it. Get your monies worth for the fees you are paying to the recruiter. I recommend you let the recruiter extend the offer and get a verbal acceptance from the candidate to be followed up by a written formal offer letter.

However, if you want to control it, at minimum, DO NOT let an offer go out to a candidate without having the recruiter test / pre-close the offer with the candidate. Any good recruiter will be doing this anyway early and often to uncover any potential deal killers as soon as possible. Emotions, anticipations, and anxiousness are at their highest point in the process for companies and candidates. A good recruiter will maintain the calm, and in doing so, he or she can also create a small guarantee/buffer for acceptance by leaving off the whip cream and cherry on the actual offer. It’s a bonus close strategy that is very effective when the candidates offer expectations are exceeded. Time to celebrate the new job and the new hire!

Russ Mountain, C.P.C.
President and CEO
Rowland Mountain and Associates, Inc.