What’s your story?

In today’s world, attracting top performers is becoming increasingly difficult. More and more studies suggest that the war for talent is real and I am constantly hearing this from our clients. We see this same war for top talent in our industry as well. Often times when I am speaking with sharp people about joining KellyMitchell I am one of three, or in one case, seven different companies in the same industry vying for someone’s commitment (we won that one by the way). With all that competition, how do leaders make their company stand out?

Be a story teller…

Over the course of my career in the staffing and services industry I have interviewed over a thousand candidates, and I’ve found the secret to job interview success, is to know your story and be ready to share it. People love a story. They want to know where you’ve been, why you’re there, and why you are excited to stay. Not about your company, but about you personally. This personal connection is critical, especially if the candidate is reporting to you within your organization. You see, every interview exchange is pretty much the same between candidate and hiring manager. To illustrate, here is a typical conversation:

Hiring Manager to Candidate: What are you looking for in your next job? (This is a bait question because the manager wants them to say career, not job…)

Candidate to Hiring Manager: “I am ultimately looking for a career with a company that has (1) great culture (2) training (3) opportunity for growth. Oh and of course competitive compensation…

Hiring Manager to Candidate: “OK great, what questions do you have for me?”

Candidate to Hiring Manager: “What excites you about XYZ Corp?”

Hiring Manager to Candidate: “First and foremost, we have a great culture. On top of that we offer a great training program with lots of opportunities for advancement while providing best in class compensation.”

And round and round we go…. :-/

So how do we break up all this rigmarole and start to have a real conversation?!?!?

First and foremost, you have to be bought-in on your opportunity with the organization that you work for as a hiring manager. If you are not excited, start looking for a new job. Sooner or later your employer is going to figure it out anyway, so it’s better for you to look on your own terms rather than theirs… If you are excited, CONGRATS! That is half the battle, now you need to understand why. What in your life led you to the opportunity you have today and why is it exciting for the candidate that is sitting in front of you?

Once you’ve told your story, now it’s your turn to learn about your candidate. Not their resume, but THEIR STORY. Where did they grow up? Who influenced them? What are their passions? When did they win something and why? When did the they suffer a setback and how did they endure? Ask lots of questions until you have a feel for their drives personally and professionally. This is also the best way to determine if their values align with yours. It is an interview after all!

Now that we have established the past and current and you want to proceed, you need to explain why your shared experiences make joining your team a unique opportunity. This is tricky, because at no point can you come off over-confident. Just be ready to walk them through your personal mission for your organization and how YOUR SHARED STORY has led to today’s conversation. Let’s take a look at this again in a hypothetical conversation.

Candidate to Hiring Manger: “Thank you for sharing a bit about your background, can you tell me about your company’s plans for the future?”

Hiring Manager: “You know I am really glad you asked that question. You see, I believe that people perform the best when they find a natural progression for their career within an organization that is also on a similar path at the same time. Here at XYX corp, we feel we are uniquely positioned in the industry based upon our strategy and are at a time that we are in need of individuals that have (insert desired qualities here). I am very excited to learn more about you and I believe we have a lot to offer each other based upon what has happened in our lives to bring us to today. You see our mission is to become…

Refreshing right?!?!?

At KellyMitchell, we try to share our story with every candidate, regardless of our interest. Why? It’s simple, people have networks and they share those stories. They spend time talking to friends, co-workers, and rock-stars that we are looking to hire. If people believe in you and where you are going, they will gladly share it with others.

For instance, in my role as SVP for KellyMitchell, I am more invigorated than I ever have been in my career. You see, I grew up in a small town and within an entrepreneurial family. My grandfather started his own home medical business with a goal to employ all 5 of his children. He did just that and eventually hired me on too  (even if it was to mow the lawn in Florida when it’s 92 degrees outside). We were middle-class to the core, and we were proud of it!

This experience helped me to learn that I too wanted to build things similar to my grandfather. So I embarked on what has been an exciting career, learning from two respected companies in the industry. While both companies were different, I found myself consistently successful at one, very specific thing. I took smaller markets and made them BIG! This has led to me living in multiple cities and leading a variety of markets, learning under at least a dozen industry executives. It helped me to understand what works and more importantly, what doesn’t.

Earlier this year I set out on a search to find an organization where I can write my final chapter. I wanted to find a place that is relatively small but with great history, and somewhere I could make a major impact to influence the longterm growth and to create opportunities for our people.  Enter KellyMitchell… upon my first conversation, I was immediately drawn to their story (see the theme!) and we shared a mutual vision for the future and how our paths can align to become the fastest growing technology staffing and services firm in the country. We’ve come together to build out a super charged operating model that will be run by the industry’s best and brightest. In short, we know what we want and who we need to win.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to read this, if you are ever interested in hearing more of my story and how it aligns to KellyMitchell’s opportunities please hit me up!