By Johnny Laurent

1. Look back to go forward.
Take a look at your past procedures and practices as they relate to hiring new employees. Know what worked and what didn’t, and understand why. If you can’t fix a process, throw it out. Develop a strategy based on tried-and-true techniques as well as those that are new but helpful (like social networking).

2. Hire for attitude, train for skills.
A résumé will give you information on a person’s experiences and background so you can learn what skills they have.

Companies have the ability to train for certain skills and do all the time (particularly in the floral industry!), but you can’t change a person’s attitude about life and approach to work.

Hire people whose attitude fits your company culture and, if need be, train them in the skills you need.

New hires should have the ability to learn, but the willingness to do so is crucial.

3. Past performance does predict future behavior.
When interviewing and doing background checks, knowing how someone performed or behaved in the past is a strong indicator of what they are likely to do in the future, so ask questions about behaviors (“What would you do if ... ,” “How did you handle [a situation specific to the applicant’s past employment],” “When [applicant] worked for you, how did he or she ... ,” etc.).

Do not accept unclear answers from former employers. Ask more questions until you are comfortable you know how the potential employee is likely to act in a given situation.

Base your hiring strategy on finding out who people are, not just what they can do.

4. Become the employer of choice.
This is the No. 1 recruiting strategy. When you are the employer of choice, everyone will want to work for you, and no one will want to leave.

You can control your recruiting budget because word-of-mouth is your best advertising.

Résumés come to you rather than you having to pay to get them from ads, online search engines, etc.

5. Put them in the book.
It’s important to keep a reference guide; it will become your best tool.

A reference guide should contain:
• information about everyone in your organization, including people who work for you and people who don’t but who you wish did
• every employee’s likes and dislikes
• what each employee wants in his or her next job
• who’s moving up, who’s leaving and have they found a new home, who took a job where and why

A good reference guide is a record of what’s happening inside your company and your competitors’. It is a little black book that will give you an edge on your competitors.

6. “Hire hard, manage easy.”
This quote from Alan Davis says it all. If you spend your time and energy on recruiting, interviewing and hiring the best, then managing them will be a breeze.


Clifton “Johnny” Laurent is the vice president and general manager of the Sage Employer Solutions division of Sage North America, a vendor of business application software for small and midsize enterprises. Reach him at (866) 996-7243.



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