When it comes to hiring the best, the best thing you can be doing is to Always Be Recruiting (ABR). But recruiting does not mean you are posting job ads and interviewing all the time. It means something much broader than that.

It means becoming an ‘Employer of Choice' by intentionally creating and nurturing a ‘Great Place to Work' for your ideal team members, and continually getting the word out about your culture.

That begs the question I was recently asked by a business owner who was completely outdone with the lack of response to his job posting and Employee Referral Incentive Program:

Dr. Sabrina, how do I know if we are attractive to A-Players?

Hands down, an Employee Referral Incentive Program is the best way to recruit team members. But if it is not working and your employees are not bringing you great applicants, it brings up more questions:

Are we a ‘Great Place to Work'?

What do our employees really think of us?

How do I know if we are attractive to A-Players?

Are we speaking to the right things to attract the A-Players we want to attract?

First, let's start with what research reveals about what A-Players are seeking. While researching for How to Hire the Best, I identified 4 important qualities A-Players seek in their roles:

  1. A-Players are seeking a career, not a job. They want opportunities for advancement. This means REAL opportunities for advancement that you lay out for them, with clear goals and opportunities to reach those goals.Any business can say, “We offer opportunities for advancement” but very few lay out a clear trajectory for an A-Player to advance, much less tie that to pay increases.Take the time to lay this out. Present it to your candidates during the interview. Make it stand out. Scratch and sniff on neon orange paper is good (I'm only partially kidding about that!).I teach the ins and outs of how to do this, while balancing the cash flow needs of a growing business in my How to Hire the Best System™ on-line course.
  2. A great boss and co-workers. If you know why your employees like working for you, share this everywhere–your website, social media, job advertisements, in your lobby, etc.  When our clients start with us, we survey their employees to discover this for them. It becomes a great tool fo use as you develop your recruitment marketing.Similarly, if you have a team of A-Players, show them off every chance you get. Share all the good things about them in social media. Share their accomplishments in your company newsletter.A-Players hang together! Like attracts like.Sharing your A-Players and what they are up to is the best way to attract more team members like them to your business.
  3. Interesting work. A-Players like challenges and problems to solve. Bring it on. We do our best when we are stretched just outside our comfort zone. Don't be afraid to challenge them.
  4. Work-life balance. Work supports life, not the other way around. Respect their family and life commitments outside of work. Discover their interests. Support their goals. For a great example of how you might go about doing this, check out what Core Accounting Services is up to in our Great Place to Work Spotlight.

Now that you know, generally speaking, what A-Players are seeking, the next step is to go deeper to discover what YOUR A-Players want, keeping in mind that an A-Player in your business may be very different than an A-Player in someone else's business. So you need to know what your A-Players want and what matters to them to attract more A-Players who are a good fit for your team.

Over the years I've been helping business owners overcome their hiring challenges, I've developed a tool, our Tap the Potential Key Employee Survey™, that uncovers what your best team members really think about your leadership and your business.

I've included the key elements of a ‘Great Place to Work,' as well as questions that ascertain employee engagement, happiness and loyalty to the company. Drawing on my graduate training in qualitative and quantitative assessment and program design and evaluation, I've designed this tool to uncover what employees really think about the culture, while identifying the business' opportunities to position itself as the perfect opportunity for those who are a good fit with the team. This tool also identifies areas of concern that need attention in order for that small business to recruit and retain top talent as it grows.

We use employee responses to fine-tune recruitment marketing, including the Employee Referral Incentive Program, so that the business owner gets better, more immediate results. When an Employee Referral Incentive Program isn't working, this tool has helped identify what's going on and what employees really think with respect to how great it really is to work in your business.

When administering this survey in our clients's businesses, we've been able to identify the subtle signs of problems to come, which has enabled our clients to course-correct quickly.

We use that information to develop an Action Plan to drive high engagement and loyalty from team members and attract a steady stream of top talent, while doing so.

If you'd like our help to position your business as an ‘Employer of Choice' by becoming a ‘Great Place to Work' for your A-Players, here's what to do next:

1) Access my complete on-line How to Hire the Best System™ here .  This course contains my most up to date, innovative strategies for attracting top talent in small business. Not only do I share with you the 3 Simple Steps to attract an A-Player to your business right away, I also teach you my system for creating a steady stream of highly qualified referrals coming your way so that in the future, you can hire on-demand (a critical need in growing small businesses).

2)  Ask us to survey your key employees to determine an Action Plan to position your business as an ‘Employer of Choice' to the right A-Players for your team, while addressing any problem areas interfering with retention, hiring and engagement. Apply here.


About the Author

Dr. Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist™ at Tap the PotentialDr. Sabrina StarlingThe Business Psychologist™ and author of the How to Hire the Best series is the founder of Tap the Potential.

At Tap the Potential we specialize in transforming small businesses into highly profitable, great places to work and sending business owners on 4 Week Vacations to celebrate that achievement.

Never one to accept the status quo or back down from a challenge, Dr. Sabrina’s How to Hire the Best series grew from her desire to solve the toughest hiring challenges interfering with her clients’ growth and profitability. What sprang from her experience working with entrepreneurs in rural areas catapulted her into becoming the world’s leading expert in attracting top talent in small businesses — no matter what hiring challenges those businesses are facing — and earned Tap the Potential’s reputation as the go-to resource for entrepreneurs committed to creating Great Places to Work with thriving coaching cultures and highly engaged team members working from their strengths.

With her background in psychology, and years of driving profit in small business, Dr. Starling knows what it takes to find, keep and get exceptional performance out of your biggest investment — your team members.

Access Dr. Sabrina Starling's How to Hire the Best Masterclass at www.HowToHireTheBest.com