Do This “Thing” with the Same Passion You Use to Sell to Your Clients: Part 4 (Bring Back XP)

This is a multi-part series. If you haven’t yet read Parts 1-3 below, read them in order first, then continue reading Part 4 here.

The subtitle of this blog in this multi-part series is “Bring Back XP.”

A side note (and an unpleasant memory) for those of us that have been in the Microsoft ecosystem for any length of time: you may recall the cries of the marketplace to “bring back XP” (as in Windows XP) shortly following the launch of—dare I say it, Windows Vista.

The irony of the XP/Vista analogy is that the XP in Windows XP stood for “experience.” So calls to bring back XP not only meant bringing back an earlier version of Windows, but also bringing back a decidedly better eXPerience.

As it relates to hiring and recruiting, how much effort do you put into the experience for your candidates?

In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned comments Josh James, founder of both Omniture and Domo, made at #SaaStrAnnual regarding recruiting. Among the many things he referenced, one key was creating a great experience for candidates. Whether it involved providing a car and driver to pick up the candidate at the airport (instead of making the candidate stand in line on his own at the rental car counter), or giving gifts that reinforce the company’s brand, James emphasized that your company needs to stand out in the mind of the candidate.

Think through the experience you want your candidate to have. Can you start that experience before the candidate arrives at your place of business. I already referenced the car and driver example if the candidate is flying in from out of state, but also consider things you might be able to do before the candidate arrives for interviews. Can you send him/her a small gift that will arrive ahead of time? Is there a call or email a key executive from your company can make/send the day before or that morning?

Once the candidate arrives at the office, what will the experience be like? If the candidate is meeting with multiple interviewers, how can you make the transitions smooth and positive? Think through all the interactions from the time the candidate arrives at your company until he/she leaves.

And once again, don’t stop there. What will be the candidate’s experience after he/she leaves your place of business?

If you extend an offer, how will you do it, and how will you make it a great experience for the candidate. What will her time be like between when you extend the offer and she (hopefully) accepts? If she declines, what experience will you create for her? If she accepts, what will her experience be between acceptance and her start date? On her first day at your company, etc.?

“But wait,” you think. “What if we don’t actually like the candidate? Should we still be doing all of those things?” Not only YES, but H*LL YES!

Whether you hire the person or not, this person is going to talk to his/her friends. Maybe he’s not the right person for this role, but he might be a great candidate for another role in the future. Or maybe she will never be a great candidate to be an employee at your company, but maybe she’ll be a potential client in the future. And even if none of those things are true, why not give a person an experience that is as positive as possible, especially in light of the fact that you’re about to tell them they didn’t get the job. We’re all human. We’ve all been rejected. It’s hard. Let’s be compassionate.

You obviously need to be thinking about your prospects’ and customers’ XP as well. In marketing terms, this is more often referred to as the “customer journey.” But whatever the nomenclature, the point remains the same—think of the experience you will give to your prospects and your customer well before and well after the point of purchase (or non-purchase).

Do This “Thing” with the Same Passion You Use to Sell to Your Clients: Part 3 (Proactive Searching)

This is a multi-part series. If you haven’t yet read Parts 1-2 below, read them in order first, then continue reading Part 3 here.

As it relates to your hiring, which of the following more accurately describes your efforts:

Scenario 1
We write a job description. Maybe we send an email and the job description to our employees, asking them if they know anyone who might be interested. We might post the job description to our website. We might highlight the job description in a LinkedIn update or via a tweet. We will probably post it on one or more job boards. We might ask a few people we know who are looking for jobs if they would be interested. And then we wait for interested candidates to contact us?

Before proceeding to Scenario 2, let me ask you, if you took the same approach to your sales, marketing, and business development efforts, how successful would you be?

Scenario 2
While we might do most, if not all, of the things highlighted above for Scenario 2, one of our primary efforts involves aggressive, proactive searches on LinkedIn and on the internet (and not just job search sites). We utilize advanced search capabilities and detailed keyword searches to isolate and identify candidates we would be very interested in. And while it’s true that our recruiter(s) spend the majority of the time in this effort, it doesn’t stop there. Managers and executives related to a given role will also spend time searching for great candidates.

If you are involved in sales, marketing, or business development, does Scenario 2 sound more similar to the efforts you put into identifying and targeting your best prospects? If so, and if you’re not applying the same approach to your hiring and recruiting efforts—why?

Let me make a bold statement—I would speculate that the best candidate for a key role within your company is NOT currently in job search mode. If your ideal candidate is as good as you want them to be, there’s a good chance they’re gainfully employed. Now, obviously, I’m overstating somewhat, but I’m doing so to make a very important point—if you are relying on inbound traffic (through resume submissions) to fill key roles, you are likely ignorantly unaware of some of your best candidates.

You need to be proactively searching for ideal candidates. You need to be spending money for premium subscriptions on LinkedIn to get access to advanced search capabilities that will make it easier for you to find your best candidates. (And, by the way, you need those same capabilities in your selling efforts.)

You also need to ensure that hiring and recruiting is a priority for managers and executives who will be impacted by this hire. Do not just leave it up to an in-house recruiter, or worse, an independent, third-party recruiter.

Before proceeding to Part 4, go spend at least 30 minutes RIGHT NOW searching on LinkedIn for individuals who you think would be great candidates for a role you’re hiring for.

And if you’re reading this series from the perspective of sales and marketing, not hiring and recruiting, it’s time to pinpoint your research (and search) using “Account-based Marketing” techniques (for companies) and targeted prospecting (for clients and roles within those accounts).