I spent part of the morning working on a Client on a person he wants to hire. He has been looking for this person for a month or so. He is using business partners to provide him with referrals. It has simply not worked. After talking with him, I concluded that he was not really describing the person he wants accurately.
I started with a basic job description. He gave me the primary technical criteria that he was going to choose the candidate from. I nodded and began to ask him questions. I knew that if he was struggling with the hire that he had hidden requirements. On top of that, I needed to get him to get all these requirements written so that he can give them to the people he is having refer candidates to him.
The job description was broken into 3 sections: Job Duties, Mandatory Requirements, Preferred Requirements. Since he started with the Mandatory Requirements section that is first where I probed. It turned out that he wanted someone to fill a Lead Position. Not a Manager, but a hand’s on leader of a particular job. Over time we were able to determine that my Client needed this person be able to lead the job independently for a specific period of time. We collected all the requirements and enumerated them. We then went on to Preferred Requirements. Again, we spent time to enumerate these requirements. I asked the Client if he really only needed 8 years of experience (his Mandatory Requirement). He said that he really needed more like the 15 that were in his Preferred Requirements. Finally, we got to the Job Duties and went through them. This is where we came up with the Independent Operations capability. His actual requirement was “Mature”. I knew that was a vague description and open to interpretation. The clarity that able to operate independently brings to that description will help those who need to understand who to refer.
Which is the entire point here. In a lot of ways, what we did was go through an Ideal Client discussion. I used the same methodology to drive my Client to that answer that I did when we went through the Ideal Client discussion. Getting referrals is great. Generally, you will only receive good quality folks in referrals. This was true for my Client as well. But he wasn’t getting the ones he needed. He had requirements that he did not tell people about. Just like any other form of referrals, you have to be crystal clear on who you want referred to you. If you are not, then you will not get the prospects that you want. This will be true whether you are hiring employees or looking for customers.
The common element is clarity. Being able to clearly describe to another what you are looking for. The biggest issue is pulling out specifics to be able to tell others. “Mature” or “Senior” means one thing to you but something else to others. So be objective and specific. That will help others when they refer candidates to you.
Have a great day!
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