This month’s question is about how to engage your employers and how your value – even when there are no jobs available with a company. If you have a question you would like to submit for our monthly Team Talk Question & Answer, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
Q: We’d like to do a better job keeping in touch with our employers even when they don’t have job openings for us. We don’t want the employer to think we only want to talk with them when we want something. Any thoughts on how we can get them involved with other things we’re doing while still showing the value in working with us? Thank you!
A: That’s a great question! It is true that we are often stumped on how to continue building relationships with our local employers when we know they don’t currently have the ability to hire our qualified candidates. I find that employers really do want to support our programs and clients but they aren’t sure how. Do you have a Business Advisory Council (BAC) or other formal structure that brings your employers (not service agencies) together? Having a group of like-minded employers that meet monthly or quarterly gives them to opportunity to highlight their business and product, network, and provide leadership in the community. It also makes the employer feel invested in what you are doing when they are asked for advice or feedback.
Starting a BAC can be easy as finding 3-4 employers who have successfully hired clients from you in the past and want to continue to support your organization’s Mission and Vision.
An easy activity to start your new found advisory council is by setting up a Round Robin interview session. The goal of this activity is to:
- Get your employers involved in something that requires little time – one hour maximum is my suggestion.
- Have them see that they can still have a positive impact even when they aren’t currently hiring.
- Create a sense of community with your organization as the hub.
- Highlight the services you provide and the steps taken to prepare your candidates so they are aware first hand who you are sending to them.
- Help your clients build their interviewing skills!
If one of the participating employers has the capacity to set up the interview sessions at their location, that would be ideal. Otherwise, your organization is fine. Each client should be responsible for getting to the interview site on their own unless you would normally provide their transportation, and they should come dressed for interviewing. I have had employers “that weren’t hiring” hire from this type of event!
Step 1: Set up your 3-4 employers in separate rooms so they are comfortable (make sure they have water handy) and a stack a formalized way to assess the client’s interviewing skills. We use an Interview Checklist.
Step 2: Handpick 6-8 candidates that are ready for the interview stage. This means you have already worked with and coached them on interview basics! This is also great for the candidate that may have already gone on several interviews, but has not received a job offer.
Step 3: Send one candidate into each interviewer. These interviews should last no more than 10 minutes. Each interviewer completes the interview checklist, including rating the client’s “hire-ability” on a scale of 1 -10. To put this into perspective, a rating of 10 would be that the employer would hire the client if a position was available.
Step 4: Debrief! As each candidate comes out of their interview, you would use this opportunity to review the checklist, coach them, and send them into the next available interviewer!
Step 5: Encourage! This can be stressful for your candidates. Keep them focused on the improvement they are making with each interview. Keep it fast paced and up-beat for the employer.
The goal is to have each candidate have at least three to four interviews. The benefit is twofold – you will see a rapid improvement in interviewing skills from the quick succession of interview, practice, and reinforcement! You’ll also engage your employers in the process, reinforcing the efforts you make to prepare your candidates when going for an interview. If you can provide snacks to the Interviewers and candidates afterward, that’s all the better. You can also conduct a follow-up session with the candidates as well as the employers to share their experiences, suggestions and for your candidates, new skills they learned.
You can get more practical ideas for building and strengthening relationships with your local employers and creative ways to build your client’s successes by joining our next session of Job Development Boot Camp: Headhunter Style. You can learn more here (http://human-solutions.net/training/jdheadhunter-html/ ). Come join us!!