How I Find And Hire A-Grade Employees

By Ken Sundheim
11 Comments

Although this is not the most original topic to write on, it is one of the most mistake-ridden topics on entrepreneurship writing. I’ve seen many without the right qualifications attempt to give advice.

Recruiting for an entrepreneur is exceedingly tough, as entrepreneurs don’t think like job seekers. Where entrepreneurs find excitement, job seekers find something overwhelming and scary. When smaller, more entrepreneurial companies come to my staffing agency, I try to make time for them, as I can empathize with the frustrations and can help them overcome some of the mistakes that plague entrepreneurs upon recruiting their first employee.

Though, before talking about the mistakes, it is best to touch on the preparation that all entrepreneurs should have in hand upon recruiting what should be the future of their company.

A Well Formatted, Interesting Job Description

As an entrepreneur, it is imperative that you write a job description. Employees want to know what they are doing on a daily basis, what is expected of them, what the pay and benefits are, and of course the culture and future of your organization.

After writing the job description, make sure to use it when pitching the potential employee regarding why they want to work for your company. Remember that you are the underdog here, and far-off things such as the five other areas that your company plans on getting into over the years are not going to excite the job seeker. Remember, it is all about stability, prediction and a career at a company that is going to last.

Therefore, focus on things such as the daily tasks of this individual, the expectations of them, where you see the person in X, Y and Z years (be realistic) and what makes your company worth considering when many other firms are actively recruiting this job seeker.

Know When To Get An Employee

A big mistake that many entrepreneurs make is hiring an employee because they don’t want to do a particular task. Instead of getting their hands dirty, they immediately look for help through hiring. You should only get an employee when you have drained your own mental, emotional, and physical resources during 16-hour days, as nobody is going to treat your company like you are regardless of how good a prospect your company is.

Also, know that you are not going to get anything good without paying a salary that is market competitive – if not higher than other companies in your field. Jobseekers take a significant risk upon taking a chance with your company in its infancy. When I had to recruit from an apartment, I paid roughly 25 to 30% over market. Otherwise, I would’ve had subpar employee after subpar employee, resulting in turnover after turnover, resulting in a waste of my time and ultimately money.

How To Get The Employees That You Need

Out of all the resources available to recruiting companies, getting a subscription to Monster or CareerBuilder resume search boards and cold-calling for a month is probably your best option. Advertising on the jobs side of Monster etc., rarely works. Why this is I haven’t the slightest, though my company has access to post on any and all job boards and we never do, except when a client explicitly requests it.

When I was first recruiting, I would sit down, draw out what type of professional background(s) would possibly be interested in working for a small, startup company and would begin to search resumes, then cold-call those individuals who I felt may be interested in the position.

What works best is when you e-mail the individuals first, bait them in with your inflated salary, be upfront about where your company is right now (don’t over hype it) and attempt to schedule a phone conversation at their convenience. A good example would be the following:

“Dear Marie,

I happened to come across your resume on Monster and wanted to contact you, hoping that you may be interested in speaking further regarding an open position that my organization hopes to fill within the month.

We are a startup company that is fast-growing, hard-working and hopefully quite lucrative in the next few months. Due to growth we are looking for someone to manage our clients, as well as bring on new business for our company.

The title of the position is open as of now and I was hoping to have a chat to see what you are looking for in a career, what type of compensation that you are looking for and tell you little bit about our company.

Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.”

When you get them on the phone, you want to use your job description as a basis for pitching the job to these individuals. Entrepreneurs by nature are very scatterbrained and have trouble empathizing with those who don’t think like entrepreneurs. I can only tell you how many times I have had to teach clients, who own small companies, to pitch an open job in order to remain competitive in the recruiting market.

In the end, whoever recruits the best employees wins in business. You are going to face a lot of rejection upon trying to find the right individual. Remember that this is not your fault, but the fault of a society that praises job security over creativity (not to mention a society where it is untenable to be without health insurance, a costly proposition for the entrepreneur who needs a full-time employee).

Another thing to remember is that the employee that you’re going to get is not going to be perfect, but no employee, regardless of background achievements, ever is. As an entrepreneur, you are going to be moonlighting as a manager, which means that it is necessary that you train this individual, keep them engaged and grow them into the future of your company.

Ken Sundheim

About Ken Sundheim

At age 25, Ken Sundheim started KAS Placement Recruitment and Staffing from a studio apartment in New York. With no industry experience nor contacts, Ken learned the staffing business out of a book. KAS Placement now has two offices and is currently nominated as America's Most Promising Companies in 2012 by Forbes Magazine. Ken has previously contributed to NYTimes.com, WSJ.com, USAToday.com, Forbes and many more. You can read more at kensundheim.com.

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11 Comments

  • Raj

    Interesting article Ken. I guess many employers (especially entrepreneurs) hate the idea of ‘pitching’ their company to new job prospects. They tend to think that since they are going to pay the salary, people should come running to them. For these people, its better to hire a HR agency or In-house HR manager. The 25-30% higher salary for operating out of an apartment is an interesting scenario and probably a good idea. Thanks for sharing :)

  • You know i have the hardest time finding people to do the work like it want it done. “outsourcing” for cheap never works. Turns out I’ll have to shell out ALOT of money to get work exactly as I want it…but it’s worth it or i wouldnt want it that way haha.

    Thanks for the post.

    • Sam

      It is true Lucy. Hiring talented people within our budget is always a cut throat business. Try hiring using Linkedin. I heard that it has a great filetering tool that might help you.

  • Great post, i agree you shouldn’t hire someone just to fill in your tasks. You’re paying them money when you could be doing it yourself

  • Sam

    Ken, thanks for the wonderful article. If I may ask, have you tried recruiting via linkedin and twitter. I heard they have great filtering option that can help you find talented people. Would love to see an article on that front. Thanks.

    • I actually just got hired through a connection on linkedin. Although I had never met the person, they were able to see my previous job experiences and request my resume. It was a pleasant surprise.

  • Employees are the heart of a business and if you don’t choose them wisely it will be very difficult to have a succesful and profitable business on the long run so it is very important to follow these tips you mention here or even hire a professional recruiter to do the job for you!

    Kostas | Opportunities Planet

  • It is true Lucy. Hiring talented people within our budget is always a cut throat business. Try hiring using Linkedin. I heard that it has a great filetering tool that might help you.

  • Mel

    Thank you for this is article. I have been outsourcing to providers online and have been very disappointed with the results. I’m going to try hiring people directly from job sites to see if the quality is better.

  • Thanks for the advise. I have had a hard time finding people to work for my startup company, and i have found that people don’t want to work for a start up or they ask for too much money. How can i get quality employees and pay them what they are worth. The majority of people interviewed are just out of college and think they are worth more than they really are.

  • [...] How I Find And Hire A-Grade Employees (entrepreneurs-journey.com) [...]

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