In a previous column in this series on the initial steps of a turnaround, I wrote about the need to hire superstars. Of course, we’d all like to run a company made up only of the A-team, but never is it more critical than when we are trying to get a company turned around.
Look at it this way. If your car fell into a small ditch, your neighbors could probably give you a hand and push you back on the road. But if your car takes a dive into a deep ditch? You need a strong team of professionals to get you going again.
The companies I work with as a Turnaround Authority are in a deep, deep ditch. So I need the best possible team to get us out.
Often the superstars saw the company beginning to fail and have long ago jumped ship, further accelerating the downward spiral.
When I’m brought in, generally I’ve got a team full of B and C players and that isn’t going to get the job done. If we don’t have A+ people in key positions, we are doomed for failure.
I have to go out and find those superstars. I want to hire people smarter than me. I need people who can think outside the box and help come up with and implement creative solutions. I need people who are proactive and can get things done.
It can be a particular challenge to recruit superstars to a company that is in a turnaround situation. They often don’t want to come, or if they do, want a lot of money to do so. I like to find the ones who accept the position because they are up for the challenge because I know they are highly motivated to help us meet our goals.
So how do I find these superstars? First, I think about whether I want to use a search firm or not. That generally depends on the level of the position I need to fill. If I’m trying to hire for a $250,000 annual salary slot I will generally use a search firm, but for a $50,000 job I may not.
I’ve worked with people that balk at spending the money it costs to use a search firm. They are stressed out beyond belief, need someone ASAP to help run their business, but yet don’t want to invest the money to get someone in quickly to relieve that stress and get the company going again.
These people are not seeing clearly. They are not valuing their own sanity or the time they will have to spend during the hiring process. Headhunters are expensive but using one can be the best way to recruit the people you need.
Search firms allow you to cast a wider net, save you the time of interviewing, have expertise and connections in your industry and can help bring someone in quickly to relieve the burden on the other employees.
With these folks who insist on trying to hire a high-level position on their own using, I get them to agree to a timeframe during which they can try to find someone. If they don’t fill the position by a certain date, they agree to hire a search firm.
A lot of firms have turned to social media for hiring and it’s changing the world of recruiting. They use LinkedIn to ask for referrals, search for candidates by using keywords and for a fee, can post jobs on LinkedIn.
In a clever twist, Pizza Hut recently conducted 140-second interviews to fill its Social Media Manager of Greatness, going after candidates who can think at the fast-paced speed of social media.
Social media can also be used to find qualified “passive candidates,” those people who are employed but may be open to changing positions.
There are many ways to hire those superstars you need. The main thing to remember is that in a turnaround situation, you need them on your team as soon as possible.