How to find good employees“There just ain’t nobody out there that’s worth hiring these days.”

Such were the words of a friend of mine recently as he explained to me why he was struggling with his business so much these days. And although I’m not going to sit here and say ‘yes’, there are droves of great people out there just waiting to be hired, I am going to say that after 10 years of owning a business and making loads of hiring mistakes along the way, there are definitive reasons why companies struggle to find great workers in 2010.

8 Reasons Why Your Company Can’t Find Great Employees

1. You won’t let go of existing employees: Wow have I suffered from this problem in the past. Too often, business owners simply won’t let poor-performing employees go when they know the person is not a good fit. I could go on and on about the psychological reasons for this, but trust me when I say 99% of business owners in the world right now have someone on their staff that they know needs to be let go, yet they’re not following their gut to cut ties. My point? LET THAT PERSON GO.

2. Your network stinks: In this day and age of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, social groups, etc.; there is simply no reason why a business owner should be stuck depending on a help-wanted ad in the local paper to find good people. Such a strategy is nuts and typically attracts everything you don’t want. So use your networks. Let people in your social groups know you’re looking for a particular employee/skill. Trust me, the results will be completely different than what you may be used to.

3. You Over-value your skills: This is a tough one for most business owners to handle. Because of our inner pride, it’s easy to think that no one can do our job as well as we can. And because we don’t want work below our standard, we continue as business owners to work in the business versus on the business. The reality is this though: There is a person, actually there are many persons, that can do your job as well as you can if you’ll only show them the path and believe. Again, I’ve learned this over and over again during these past 10 years. As soon as you come to this realization, a new world of opportunity will open up for your business.

4. Your business has no identity: Every company needs a face, a culture, and an identity. Without it, you simply won’t attract those persons looking for what you offer. Why? Because they don’t know you exist. So what’s your unique identity? Why would people want to be a part of your team? If you can’t answer these simple questions, then you’ve got some work to do.

5. You under-estimate people: This one goes in line with #3 but too often business owners don’t allow their employees to exercise their gifts and talents. As human beings, we all want to be challenged. We want to grow. It’s something we’re all born with. So the next time you say, “There is no way Bob could do that task” go to Bob and ask him first. See how he feels. You may be very, very surprised with his answer.

6. You’re grumpy: Ever met a grumpy business owner before? Heck, I’ve seen so much negativity lately it’s no wonder the economy can’t seem to lift itself out of this funk. Business owners attract into their lives employees that are a reflection of who they are. So if you’re known as the guy or gal who has a constant cloud over your head, it might be time to bring back the sunshine ;-)

7. You only hire “experienced” people: Wow, this is one mistake that took me many, many years to figure out. As new business owners, we often times have this silly belief that it’s imperative to find great and experienced people in our field. Let me tell you this is total bunk. As we’ve all heard, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and unfortunately, most of the time this adage is true when it comes to hiring good people. So instead of looking for experienced people in your field, go after great people. If someone is willing to work hard and is teachable, those are really the only requirements you need in most cases to find exactly the person you’re looking for.

8. You keep saying there aren’t good people out there: Last but certainly not least, you’ve got to stop saying this, because it’s a lie. There are good people in this world. There are good people out there that can help your business right now. Expect to find them. Keep your eyes open. And most of all, stay positive about this process of finding help.

So there you have it folks, 8 reasons why business owners struggle to find great employees. I’m sure there are many I’ve missed here so I’d love to hear your thoughts. What are some other reasons why businesses struggle to find the right people? What have you done that’s worked? As always, your comments are invited and appreciated.

12 thoughts on “8 Brutally Honest Reasons Why You Can’t Find Good Employees

  1. Great points Marcus, but with that said finding good employees is difficult, mostly because everyone wants them.

    Whenever we find someone perfect for the job it turns out that 6 other employers felt the same.

    At our company we have stopped looking for only experiences employees but will take now anyone who is suited for the job and train them ourselves.
    This has made a great difference to our recruitment and while it takes more work it gives us the opportunity to mold our employees exactly like we want them to b, since they have no preferences from earlier jobs.

    If I am to add a point it is a add-on to “your grumpy”: “You forget that while you are interviewing them, they are interviewing you”.

    You need to sell your company to your potential employee if they are to chose you over the other 5 employers who also are interested.
    .-= Daniel M. Wood´s last blog ..Book Review- How to live on 24 hours a day – By Arnold Bennett =-.

    • Good points D’. It’s odd that looking for ‘experience’ often times blows up in one’s face, but it’s true.

      As far as the interview is concerned, you’re right-on. An interview is a 2-way street— in other words, there are actually 2 interviews going on within the one.

    • I remember that post P’….’twas a good one ;-)

  2. Great post, Marcus! I’ve been hiring folks for 33 years and have seen most of the games out there that exist. Now, I hire for “fire” & train for skills. Most of the time I don’t want all of the bad habits a potential hire has accumulated from previous experiences (see #7 above), so it’s better to train folks to the standards I really want. I can train folks to do the tasks at hand, but there is NEVER any use in trying to “build a fire” in someone’s gut – either someone is hungry & really wants to be a contributing member of the team or they don’t. Sometimes a person has some “undirected” fire that can be focused by getting them to work on clarifying their goals, etc & that does work when the person really wants to move forward. As Marriott Corp. says, “we don’t train our people to be nice, we just hire NICE people!”. I just look for folks who are happy, eager, enthusiastic & want to show what they can do!

  3. Hey Marcus, I forgot a couple of thoughts: on #1 – one of the most important rules of success is that you have to get rid of what you don’t want, in order to make room for what you DO want! This is from physics, where you learn that 2 things cannot occupy the same space at the same time! My friend Bill is happy for his wife to buy any new piece of clothing, etc but they have a rule that for every new item she brings in to the closet, she has to remove an existing piece – this also ensures that the closet doesn’t get over-stuffed! But seriously, this rule applies to one’s whole life. I don’t care if we’re talking about your clothes, your car, your job and sometimes even your family members! People do fall completely off the wagon sometimes & there are times when you need to dis-associate yourself, as painful as that may be! There is a corollary to this notion: when you do make room for something new in your life, you’ll find that Mother Nature hates a vacuum! She’ll do anything to fill it! Usually with something really good!
    #2 is spot on! I think it’s about 80% of (the good) jobs are filled through personal connections!
    #3 I always try to hire someone who is smarter, better or faster than I am. Amongst my staff, I like to have an abundance of smarts & capabilities!
    #4,5 and 6 are excellent! Many thanks.

    • Wow Dave, now those were some awesome freaking comments dude, thanks. Love the story about buying a piece of clothing but having to throw another out. Tremendous lesson there….Powerful words my friend, thanks so much for contributing.

  4. G’Day Marcus,

    A temptation that I just can’t resist…..! The biggest single reason that people can’t find the “right people” is because that isn’t the purpose of staff selection.

    The purpose of staff selection is to get a job done not to choose a person. The basis of successful staff selection is what I call an output centred job analysis; a “job description” to use an old expression that describes, in measurable terms what the job exists to achieve: how you’ll know for sure that the job is being done well. This forms the basis of your ad. wherever you place it.

    Frankly, if your job analysis is poor, your chances of finding the mythical “right person” are slim indeed.

    A couple of other things….
    *the purpose of you job ad is to find the ideal applicant and to deter everyone else.If you get lots of applications you’ve probably written a lousy ad.If you can’t find that person, don’t compromise. Go for the training option described in Dave Heinrich’s comment.
    *you can’t tell what a person can do merely by talking to them. You should only grant a face to face interview to applicants who have shown you through testing, that they can do the job.
    *selection’s a retail transaction; you are the buyer, the applicant is the seller.Behave like a buyer.

    Well…. that’s enough Aussie heresy for one day.



    • Gotta love the Aussies ;-)

      Your points here are excellent Leon. I especially like your thoughts on ‘deterring applicants’….I’d never really thought about that, but it makes a great bit of sense.

      Your thoughts are always appreciated here Leon!!

  5. I am scared of that moment. When I’ll have to choose someone to work with me. Fortunately that moment is still far in the future, so I’ll be able to be better prepared. I do tend to be very demanding of people, based on my own skills (which of course I am constantly overrating), but I am also an easy going person so, once I get a good professional to work together with, we should be fine.

    • I appreciate your honesty Ramona, I really do. I’d also say most people are just like you– concerned of passing the touch and the potential struggles that come with it. The problem with holding on too long though is the fact that so many business owners end up getting over-worked and ultimately suffer from burn-out…which ain’t no fun.

      But I think if it is an active goal of yours to look for great people to surround and eventually replace you, then you’re on the right track.

      Thanks so much for stopping by here and I hope to see you again….

      PS: You’re a DJ and a web designer?? Sweet combo!! :-)

  6. Marcus,

    I liked your list of why companies can’t find good employees. Our research shows that the number one reason that companies cannot find good employees is that they take whoever shows up at their doorstep and chooses from that group. This is the group that comes from light networking (your phrase – your network sucks), posting job descriptions masquerading as worthless ads that repel top talent on job boards. job fairs, and other ineffective strategies to identify top talent/good employees.

    Most companies attract the bottom third of the candidate pool through their ineffective and inefficient sourcing tactics. If all you’re seeing is the bottom third, you’re doomed to failure before you even met the first candidate.

    Desire to make an immediate impact in your company – especially in the sales function – change the way you find, engage, and identify great talent.

    Barry Deutsch
    IMPACT Hiring Solutions

Comments are closed.