How To Hire When Your Company isn’t Cool

How to Hire When Your Company Isn't Cool |via TAPED, the ECHOtape blogThese days, hiring should be easy. Even as unemployment tumbles, it’s still an employer’s market with the best of the best still up for grabs. And yet… that just isn’t how it seems to be going, right?

For a while, we thought it was just ECHOtape. I mean, in a world where tech companies are coated in trendiness and IPOs,  we’re a traditional, family-owned, tape manufacturer. Nothing sexy about that.

So if your company, like ours, doesn’t ooze cool, then how do you find top quality employees?

Accept it and play to your strengths.  For every Aaron that’s lured by the risky adventure of Silicon Valley, there’s an Anthony who likes stability, a 401(k) and flexible Fridays. Thankfully, the definition of what makes a company “cool” to work for isn’t clear-cut. It’s an opinion that can vary widely, depending upon the candidate and their unique needs.

Over the years, we’ve worked hard at building a team perfectly suited to our plain-Jane business. We haven’t always gotten it right, but when it comes to hiring, here are some things that we have learned:

    • Always look for integrity. Often it is more important than experience.
    • Attitude and work ethic are always more important than a set of technical skills.  Almost all skills can be trained, but a person’s personality and demeanor are very difficult to adjust.  Make sure they will fit your team.
    • Family values.  We’re a family-owned small business, so when it comes to hiring, we look for men and women who value a very hands-on culture. Maybe she wants to have a bigger impact on her work environment, or he doesn’t want to be known as  Employee No. 3,789.  Someone who thinks a company holiday party with less cocktails and more kids would be fun.
    • Let the applicant do 90% of the talking. It’s amazing what they will say. All you need to do is listen.
    • Stop chasing a specific demographic. Entry-level doesn’t always mean young. Did you see the movie The Intern with Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway?? That senior intern program has great merit! So does considering stay-at-home moms re-entering the workforce or career changers. While their skill set might not be what you originally had in mind, their real-world experience can be a breath of fresh air.
    • Don’t skimp on social media. With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, social groups, etc., there is no reason why a hiring manager should depend on a classified ad.  Use your networks, or ask to leverage a reliable partner. Let people in your social groups know you’re looking for a particular employee/skill.
    • Work with education providers. High school and community colleges are great resources for interns and on the job training. If job candidates don’t have the skills you need, make them go to school before you hire them.
    • Rethink benefits. Sure, health insurance and paid vacations still matter, but custom and/or flexible benefits are highly enticing to employees. Maybe it’s the ability to work remotely, or a gym membership or adrenaline-soaked team events.  Remember: Your company culture is as important as salary.

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At this moment, employers still have a plethora of choices when it comes to hiring, but we’re quickly moving into a situation where job seekers will have the upper hand. The choice of who to work for will be up to them. How will your business stand out?

For more of our business insights be sure to keep up with Taped: The ECHOtape blog.