News |7 min read

What “Always Be Hiring” Actually Means

It's HR Tuesday!

Judging from the questions coming in at CEDR’s Solution Center, hiring is on the minds of many people right now.

Since 2008, I’ve been repeating my mantra “always be hiring,” wherever I go, but it occurred to me I don’t always take the time to walk through what that means.

So, today, I’m going to talk about what it means to be a year-round recruiter for your business… This text opens a new tab to an article on recruiting… and answer some common hiring questions.

Should I even be thinking about hiring right now? There’s too much going on!

Business owners spend a lot of time putting out fires. That’s why it’s so easy to turn your attention to other, more urgent matters when the office is fully staffed.

The problem with that is, once an employee gives you their two-week notice, you’ll be writing a job description, interviewing candidates, and training a new team member.

If you don’t do some planning, that person will be whatever warm body has the minimum qualifications to meet the needs of your business.

You simply won’t have time to assess what is missing from your practice or identify the qualities and skills your current team lacks. In other words, if you don’t make thinking about establishing what you need from your next hire right now, if you don’t have a list of qualified contacts to reach out to, you’ll wind up with “an” employee rather than the perfect right fit who is a true difference-maker.

That’s why the time to think about your next hire is always right now.

So, does “always be hiring” mean I need to be advertising positions year-round and interviewing?

Not necessarily. However, it does mean you should instruct your front-desk workers not to turn away people who inquire about open positions, even when you’re fully staffed.

It means that you should be staying in touch with people who have impressed you with their talent, soft skills, or professionalism just in case they are looking for a job at the same time you are looking for your next hire.

Finally, it means viewing the world as a recruiter so that when it comes time to hire, the pool of qualified candidates is Olympic-sized.

It might be helpful to think of “always be hiring” as more of a mindset than anything else. A hiring mindset involves building a vast network of talented and resourceful people that you can reach out to should you lose a team member or need to increase your crew to meet the demands of your growing practice.

It also means understanding that you’re just as likely to meet your next hire by chance as you are through traditional channels.

What good does it do for me to collect resumes and maintain contacts if I don’t have any positions open right now?

If you don’t start building your hiring network now, you won’t have anyone to reach out to when an employee suddenly walks off the job or hands in their notice.

Certainly, the idea of collecting isn’t to hire someone preemptively but to be prepared for future emergencies.

Other benefits of having a large list of qualified candidates on file are referrals that might happen from the candidates themselves. I know, mind blown.

There are two ways these referrals occur.

One is that you will be able to act as a recruiter for a colleague who finds themself with a team shortage at their practice using the contacts you’ve collected. If you are a good resource to your professional colleagues and help them find a talented candidate for their practice, they might be willing to share their contacts with you when hiring needs arise at your practice.

The other way you get referrals is through the contacts themselves. Sure, that person who turned in a resume months ago has probably already found a job, but maybe an old classmate of theirs is looking for work.

You’ve probably heard the other popular HR maxim, “Good people know good people.” Well, it’s true. Reliable people tend to be more comfortable around other reliable people, and if you collected a contact because they’ve impressed you in some way, maybe they know other impressive people as well.

When the actual team shortage occurs, reach out to all your contacts, even those who are currently employed or those who asked you about an open position months ago. Who knows? Maybe they are unhappy with their current position and looking for a change. Even if they aren’t, they might know someone who is.

What should I be doing right now to get a better choice of applicants later?

There are three things you can do now to get the perfect hire in the future:

Network

Obviously, keep in touch whenever you meet a professional in your field who impresses you in some way but don’t forget to think creatively, like a recruiter.

Some positions can be filled by people from varying backgrounds, for example, reception. Maybe your favorite waitress, the one with the dynamite people skills and five years of front-facing customer service experience, wants to quit working second shift.

Also, keep an eye out for people who are in the process of completing their schooling, but are currently working in other professions.

Right now, post-pandemic, many people are making career transitions. Remember, the medical and dental fields are very appealing to those looking to pivot!

Think like a recruiter. Look for opportunities and think creatively.

Assess your team

Think about what your team is missing right now so that when a vacancy occurs, you know exactly who you should look for and the qualities and skills they should have. CEDR’s Free Hiring Guide… This text opens a new tab to CEDR’s hiring guide… has a section called “The Difference Maker Inventory Toolkit,” which can help you pinpoint the skills and qualities you need at your particular practice.

Don’t forget to evaluate soft skills that might help create a more harmonious workplace by making sure that your candidates are a good fit for your company culture.

Maybe you have several team members who are empathetic and kind, but nobody is great at explaining insurance to patients. Perhaps you need someone who is way more systems-oriented to lead everyone towards innovation and software adaptation.

It is important to be able to articulate and identify the qualities that will complete your dream team before the stress of the hiring process begins.

Build your workplace’s reputation

Another thing you can do to attract great candidates is work on your reputation as an employer… This text opens a new tab to The Manager’s Playbook: Your Company Culture as a Management Tool….

As stressful as it can be, owning a business means you are the face of the practice at all times. Present and conduct yourself publicly as someone that people would be excited to work for.

Promote your workplace as a great place to work. That way, if a local, very talented dental hygienist starts looking for a new job, she’ll think of you first.

One of the best ways to attract top talent is to be a good brand ambassador.

Conclusion

You’ll have a much better chance of building the perfect team if you take the time to think about hiring before a team member walks out or before your valuable worker hands in their two-week notice.

It’s not only important to know exactly what and who you’re looking for but to consider nontraditional channels.

We often tell people looking for jobs that luck is when opportunity meets preparation. The same is true for employers looking for that ‘perfect’ hire.

When it comes to hiring, plan ahead and think creatively, like a recruiter would.

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