Recruiting great people

February 2013 » Columns » FROM THE PUBLISHER
Mark C. Zweig

The New Year has started and it's time to make sure 2013 is better than 2012.

Don't get me wrong, 2012 was a great year for us. We completely turned around this train wreck of a business I came back to in 2010. We made a profit and refinanced all of our debt. We paid off a lot of folks, too, we owed money.

But for 2013, my focus – and probably yours, too – needs to be on adding some new "A" players. Recruiting is so critical if you want to add new skill sets, grow, and even make your own life better. I like recruiting. But I like even more having the "difference-makers" on board.

Getting these great people is rarely easy. It may take some changes in the way you hire.

The first problem you have to confront is deciding what kind of person you want to hire and then sticking with it! Most of us are willing to come off our hiring criteria too quickly. It takes a diligent effort – and some patience – to get the right man or woman on board. I have worked sometimes for years to hire someone I really wanted. Be persistent, but don't be too compromising.

The second issue: Are you really willing to do what it takes to hire a superior person? That means the pay has to be right – many firms use current staff they aren't thrilled with as a constraint (does that make any sense??) – but it means a lot more. You have to offer the right job in the first place in terms of role and status. You may have to be flexible on start date. Working hours may be odd some days due to child care, or the employee may ask to work from home a day or two each week. These and many more situations are all common. To hire a good person you have to address their needs.

Last, be sensitive to your existing staff. Explain to them why you are adding someone else and why he or she is not a threat to them. People are insecure – at least many of them are. They may assume any new person – especially one who may have higher pay than they get – is very much a threat to them, but that need not be the case. The new person has to bring something good to the company that no one else has; if he or she succeeds, that will be good for everyone. Explain – be patient – and alleviate fears and anxieties should they present themselves.

One thing I know: We have a great issue of CE News here for you in February. We're all about the business – and technology – of civil engineering. We plan on giving you more of what you want in 2013, so please don't hesitate to share your thoughts with me at mzweig@zweigwhite.com. Read on!

Mark C. Zweig
mzweig@zweigwhite.com

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