Conversations with a Branch Manager, Recruiting is Like Speed Dating

If you follow some of my other articles you know I share my conversations in guiding other branch managers to becoming better recruiters. Today’s article is a conversation with myself.

A number of years ago I decided to calculate the amount of time it took to recruit someone during the first 10 years of my career. I analyzed the time I made my first connection to the time that person joined my team.

I couldn’t believe that it was almost 2.5 years from start to finish!  Yep that’s around 900 days.  I recently went back and reviewed what changed for me when I implemented the Recruiting Made Simple process in 2014. The results were an incredible gain in time as it was just 62 days from starting a relationship to hiring talent!

Now these aren’t scientific numbers but they do come from a CRM tool that I use so they are provable. But let’s just hypothetically say I whiffed by 2X or 3X on the amount of time it took to recruit using that system. Even if that was the case you would have to agree that I improved significantly as a recruiter, right?

In 2014 I had an epiphany which changed how I view recruiting.  I had recently changed companies, the geographical area I could grow my branches into was significantly larger so I was motivated to grow quickly. I began studying my patterns in recruiting. Not just kind of studying but more like a science experiment where you actually dissect everything, label it and make sense of it all. Who I was calling, why I was calling, what I was saying, how I was presenting myself, how I was presenting my company, was I creating next steps, what was my follow up, what was I communicating during my follow up, and on and on.

If you follow me you know I always say Recruiting Is Simple. So if that is the case then why are there so many things that go into it? Well it kinda goes like this….

A number of years ago my brother in-law and I determined we were going to do something special for our wives on valentine’s day. We decided we would cook a gourmet meal of sorts to show our undying love for them. So like any important decision made by men we rock paper scissored to determine how we would divide the menu. I scored deserts and he got the hard part, the main course and entrees. Now if you know me you know I can be a bit competitive. I knew he had a leg up on impressing our wives as he was a better cook than I so I was going to have to hit the desserts out of the park.

I searched out a fabulous recipe and decided I was making a rum cake. Not just any rum cake but one made from scratch. Did I mention I am a huge fan of desserts! I could taste the cake even before I began the hunt for ingredients. I visualized this cake being warm out of the oven when we ate it. That moistness, that yumminess, the freshness of the warm rum sauce drizzled all over it. Yep this cake was going to be memorable!

So the project of making my memorable cake began. There were close to 20 ingredients in the cake and each ingredient I purchased had to be the best. The best flour, the best cornstarch, the best butter, the best rum and on and on.  There was no doubt that this cake was going to be one that everyone would remember.

I was dreaming of this cake making it into the Milligan family recipe book that my wife and I would pass onto our children. Needless to say there was a lot of love and time that went into that cake. When I was done it looked beautiful and I knew it was going to taste amazing!

The moment of truth came after my brother in-laws amazing main course, entree and bread. I brought the fantastic cake to the table (still warm), cut pieces for everyone and sat back waiting to hear everyone’s response. To my dismay my wife immediately spit hers out onto her plate. Similar results happened with my sister in-law and brother in-law.

Surprised I asked what was wrong with the cake. They advised I needed to have a bite myself and decide.

As I took my first (and only) bite I immediately noticed it tasted like rum with cake more than cake. The rum was overwhelming as if I had poured a bottle of rum onto the cake. It smelt like rum, it tasted like rum and it will always be remembered as rum.

I kept a calm face and continued with the bite until I swallowed it. Then I burst out laughing which was a release for everyone at the table. I suppose there is a rule that if the Chef laughs at himself everyone else has permission to laugh as well. No doubt I missed a step or put too much rum into the recipe but it was worth it for the great story. Its an ending to a meal we haven’t forgotten to this day and the recipe never made it into the family recipe book

Now let me connect the dots on how my horrendous rum cake is similar to recruiting. What I realized after dissecting my recruiting “system” is that I was consistently inconsistent in the ingredients I put into my recruiting efforts. What I also realized was just like the cake there were a lot of ingredients going into my recruiting. To be exact there were 32 steps from the time I identified a candidate to the time they joined my team.  BUT the real epiphany came when I realized there were only a few things that ultimately mattered. To be exact 4 things, thus why Recruiting Is Simple.

  1. Communicating clearly to recruits who I was as a leader
  2. Connecting my leadership style with stories and sharing this while recruiting
  3. Creating unique ways of staying connected to people when recruiting them
  4. Creatively revealing who the authentic Richard Milligan was through the recruiting process

I then took those 4 things and mapped out a recruiting strategy which became the blueprint for Recruiting Made Simple. What came from that is a form of Recruiting Speed Dating. When you reveal who you are as a leader you give people something to move towards. When people see you as being genuine, transparent and flawed you become more relatable as a leader. It was no longer a decision for the recruit about the company, rather it became more about who I was as a leader.

I then pushed all of that into a 32 touch system where I connected organically with my recruits by giving constant value. Sending them books, connecting them to Darren Daily’s free text message mentorship, sending them an encouraging handwritten note and so much more. These next steps happened because I had a system in place and knew what was next.

In the end you know when you know when you know. I may have said this when I married my wife. We kind of speed dated. I communicated clearly who I was, I shared stories around that, I was constantly connected to her while figuring out ways to creatively reveal my heart while “speed dating” her.  See how my 4 basic principles held true?

Leaders typically know early on whether a recruit is a good fit or not. Individuals being recruited know the same. You don’t need 900 days to get to know someone. Put my 4 items into your recruiting process today. You don’t need an epiphany, use mine.

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