Check What's In the Fridge Before You Go to the Store


Do you cook? I know, this seems like a non-sequitur, but, do you?  When you decide to make spaghetti and meatballs (and gravy, ok mom?)  what's the first thing you do?  You go to the fridge and you look at what you have on hand.  Pasta? Great.   Tomatoes?  Great.  You get the idea.  

So what does this have to do with hiring? Well, you have a fully stocked refrigerator of ingredients working for your company already.  And, because these people already work for your company these are ingredients you actually LIKE to eat.  

Suppose you are looking to fill a difficult role.  The first thing you should be doing is looking at your current employees to see who is up for the challenge.   I'm going to tell you three things to look for in current employees who might be ready for a move, and three things that this will do for your bottom line and your company culture. 

1.)  On time, but dead in the eyes.  

We've all had employees that fit this description.  They are loyal, hard working, never let you down kind of people, but lately they've just lost their spark.  Maybe they've been in the same role for a year or two.  They have mastery over their work, and because their tasks are completed well and they don't rock the boat, you assume everything is fine.  But, are they as sparkly as they were when you interviewed them?  

Keeping people growing and challenged is a good way to keep them at your company.  Tapping an employee like this one, who is loyal and has institutional knowledge is a good first step for a difficult search.  

What it does for your company:

First, it shows the employee and everyone around them that if they work hard and are consistent someone is watching and rewarding them.  One internal or cross-vertical promotion can be enough to spark that internal competition that creates great motivation.  Second, even if this person requires training it is often less expensive than running a search for the role or leaving the role open, so you have a cost savings there.  Finally, the new challenge will put the sparkle back in the loyal employee.  And sparkly employees are the goal, right?

2) The Secretly Talented

How well do you know your employees, really?  Do you know that Sam in accounting has an internet tee shirt business that is absolutely slaying it?  Did you know he drove traffic there by a carefully crafted Instagram account that only used pictures of dolphins?  And if you happen to be looking for someone to take the lead on social media marketing, is it possible to compensate Sam a little more for 15 more hours of work a week?  

What it does for your company

Similar to the loyal employee example, rewarding a current employee shows everyone that HR cares about them, and knows about them as whole people and not just about their job function.  This is one of the key building blocks of great culture.  Also, hiring a current employee for a few more hours a week is so much less expensive than on-boarding, training, paying and insuring another employee. 

3) The Dreamer

I think in grad school, they call them "gunners"  but every company has that person who has fully sipped the Koolaid and wants to rise right to the top.  If you have a difficult search in literally any vertical this person will jump at the chance to learn, change, and grow into the role.  Because in their minds they are going to be CEO one day, they will want to learn and excel at every function. 

What it does for your company

Well, as we've extolled the virtues of hiring a current employee in previous points I don't have to reiterate them here.  You will definitely make good on your headcount investment with this employee's "hustle".  I would warn you, however, this type of employee may have more bravado then skill and I suggest a lengthy interview and even lengthier training process for candidates like this one. 

Hope this helps!  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!