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It is now obvious that we are currently experiencing the most competitive employment market in the last 40 years. So, how do you cruise above the noise in order to attract good people who really want to work for you? Here is a personal story which will tell you what Golden Rules to apply in order to optimize the odds of success.

Back a few years ago, I had a tough talk with a very difficult client who kept complaining that all his employees were incompetent. After sending this businessman over 27 very qualified applicants for an executive position, I realized I had made a terrible mistake: I did not suggest that my client fire himself first, as the General Manager!

As I lost the client, I decided to use this experience as a great lesson of humility. I must confess, I was not insistent or argumentative enough in my recommendations. So, through the next few years I had to witness the sad scenario of this personage who, so sure of himself and so intolerant of other people’s “stupidity” that he would drive his company to bankruptcy and blame everybody but himself for his misery.

So, what is it that this employer did not get?

There are a few Golden Rules that every business owner or executive should know and implement, whenever contemplating to hire new personnel. Here are just a few of them. You do not need to agree with them, they will however bite you if you violate them.

1. It always starts with the job description

33% of new employees will quit their new job within the first 6 months. Reason #1: false expectations. At the base of EVERY failure to hire someone, you will ALWAYS find missing, incomplete of false information in the job description. In my personal experience, over 40% of small businesses start a recruitment process without having even written a job description.

2. Apply the rule of transparency

Hidden data comes second as a reason why so many new employees leave within the first 90 days. Whatever the reason might be for having a vacant position, make sure you do not hide it. Openly disclose any delicate information that might lead a candidate to think twice. If they learn about it once on post, you will double the trouble.

3. Make that first impression count

After one week on the job only, two thirds of new employees believe they will NOT work for their new employer more than one year or two. The way you take care (or not) of your new employees within the first couple of weeks will dictate their impression of your leadership as well as their level of engagement. In other words: you lose two thirds of your new employees within the next year by not showing enough care at the very beginning.

4. People don’t quit their job, they quit their boss

Three out of every four new employees will leave their job because of rough, un-caring seniors. Any executive who seriously believes that every employee is stupid or incompetent ought to fire himself or herself first – that is the biggest lesson I got from my experience mentioned above.

Per Forbes magazine, people just really don’t want to work for a boss who doesn’t support them or for one whose poor and ineffectual behavior actually puts employees’ career prospects and promotional opportunities at risk. (Source)

5. Hiring is about Marketing

It is amazing that some business owners who work 80 to 90 hours per week and hold multiple hats in the business will refuse to spend enough money to promote a vacant position. They do not understand that the employment market is currently 100% candidate-driven – meaning: good applicants have the power of choice. So, you need to be much more aggressive than just posting your ad on one or two online job boards.

It always amazes me that the majority of small business owners are so focused on hiring people with the right technical skills. They are willing to blindly pay a premium for a more “experienced” new employee, only to realize that competence and willingness are two very different attributes.

You need to post it on 40 to 50 of them! And it takes a marketing budget to do so. And guess what: your more aggressive competitors will attract the good people and you will get only the lazy ones. Because the truth is: your challenge is NOT to find good people, but to ATTRACT them.

6. The real cost of a bad hire

You think you do not have enough budget to do what it takes to hire good people? Think about it again: the average DIRECTLY measurable cost of a bad hire is around $5K within the first month for entry-level positions, around $10K for sales reps and mid-level management positions and around $20K for any executive position. Multiply these numbers by 1.5 for every additional month.

7. Soft skills make the difference – NOT the hard ones

There is ample evidence that the vast majority of terminations are due to a serious lack of soft skills – such as team spirit, communication skills, willingness to learn, etc. – rather than a lack of technical competences.

To be honest, this is the hardest point I try to communicate to my clients. For some reason many believe that they will have to spend less time and energy to make a new employee productive if they already know the business and the position specifics. Here is the hard truth about soft skills: 89% of hire failures are due to personality-related weaknesses.


Your business profitability depends more on your ability to hire and retain good people in the company, than on ANY other management function – Period.

Note: If you need to hire executives who are true leaders, click here for more information on our Recruitment Process Outsourcing services.

Best success,

Patrick Valtin,
CEO Hirebox

In today's dynamic job market, your small businesses is facing an array of challenges when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. From fierce competition to changing expectations, you must be able to navigate a complex landscape to find and keep the best employees. Understanding the selection criteria that job hunters prioritize and adapting recruitment strategies accordingly is crucial if you aim to thrive in this environment.

In the dynamic and competitive small business world, hiring the right employees is not just a matter of finding the most skilled or experienced candidates. It goes beyond the technical qualifications listed on a resume. The real secret to building a successful team lies in understanding and evaluating the often-overlooked aspect of a candidate's profile - their soft skills.

In the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, success hinges not only on innovative ideas and cutting-edge technologies but also on the strength of the team driving these initiatives forward.

When it comes to the dynamic world of small businesses, honesty isn't just a virtue; it's a strategic asset. In an era of rising corporate and small business crime, the stakes are higher than ever. With customers demanding transparency and investors seeking integrity, small businesses must fortify their foundations with a robust honesty testing regimen.

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