THINK BUSINESS — 7 Keys to Successful Recruiting By Mark Richardson

Finding and keeping excellent talent can make a good company great.

There are several differences between good companies and great ones. Among those distinctions are leadership, culture, brand and overall business acumen. But another differentiator between good and great is talent.

Your ability to sell more, grow more or be more profitable can be the result of having more “A” players on your team. One area where I really see businesses stand out is in how they approach finding talent. The great ones treat talent recruitment with more of a sales and marketing mindset than as a human resources activity. The following are some insights/tips about how to think and develop strategies for talent generation.

1. Mindset: Before you will ever make progress on this subject, you and your management team need to have the right mindset. Treat people recruitment with the same urgency as creating leads for prospective customers. You need to balance old ways of thinking with new facts and figures, such as the dollar value of a team member, the amount of profit they can produce, the cost of mistakes or the value of delighted customers. When you change that paradigm, the ideas will begin flowing. After you get buy-in from others on your team, you will begin to see great results.

2. Top priority: Many businesses have too many priorities. But if you understand that having great talent can reduce stress, create delighted clients, increase profits and position your company for growth, then you will be motivated to make talent acquisition a top concern. Until it is, you will not be successful, or if you are, then you are merely lucky but not great.

3. Be a hunter: Great talent recruiters are hunters. Large organizations that are great have a full-time person devoted to hunting, and great organizations that are small at least have a hunter mindset. They realize they need to attract talent intelligently, not desperately.

4. Sales and marketing versus HR: As with prospective customers, talent is out there, and you need to intelligently market and sell to it. It’s kind of like dating. Some great companies regularly do Discovery Day-type seminars that roll into individual interviews with hiring prospects. Other companies position their PR efforts as a magnet. As in fishing, you need a lure or some marketing to get the fish to swim to you.

5. High tech versus high touch: Finding the balance here is important. Great companies use technology and social media, like LinkedIn, to create dialog with great talent. Leveraging digital marketing activities and managing the talent pipeline is very important.

6. Deputize: You don’t have to go it alone. Leveraging your alliances is a great avenue for talent. Call your top five garden center contacts or broker reps and ask them to give you the name of an individual grower or salesperson by 5 p.m., on Friday. If three out of five come through with names, you have a potential date. Deputize your own team and put some simple incentives in place. Your team needs to understand the importance of recruiting in order to act. If they see recruitment leading to growth for all, then they will buy in. But if they see it as competition for their job, they won’t act.

7. Don’t keep your talent search a secret: Public relations may be one of the best magnets. Enter contests like “the best place to work.” Post blogs on cool things the team/business is doing. Join networking groups and talk about your desire to meet great people. Use garden and flower shows to find talent, not just projects. Be vocal about your goals and objectives.

One misconception is that the talent is not there. It is, but you need to work hard and smart to find it and begin the dialogue. Then, as they say, “the real work happens after the sale.”

Happy hunting!

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist and business growth strategist. He authored the bestselling book, “How Fit is Your Business,” as well as his latest book, “Fit to Grow.” Both books are available at

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