Stengel Solutions: The Door to Business Growth


Ten Tips to Hiring and Keeping Top Employees



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All of a company’s employees add value and contribute to its success – some in small way, others in large measure. Because sound recruitment and retention strategies provide a competitive edge, hiring should be done carefully, methodically and strategically. Here are ten ways to attract top prospects to your company and retain them once they’re on board.

Recruit Continuously: Aggressive companies are always on the prowl for talent. They have a sense of what skills they need now and in the future, and what type of person will be a good fit. They look even when there are no current openings, because one can never predict when an employee might leave.

2. Know What You Need:  Know the skills and personality traits that will make a person successful in a given job, so you can develop job descriptions when you’re hiring. This helps in framing interviews with potential applicants, who in turn learn in advance more about the skills needed for the position.

Initially, a job description facilitates the selection of the right employee. But a good job description also ensures that he or she has a clear understanding of responsibility, authority and expected results, so it also becomes a useful training outline. 
3. Interview Many Candidates: Don't hire the first person you like. Commit to meeting a number of people - even though you won't be interested in most of them. If you don't think a person is a good fit for your company, use the interview to dig up information on your competitors or create a business-development opportunity. (Who knows where your company's next alliance partner will come from?) 
4.  Ask Probing Questions: The only way to find out if candidates will be a good fit for your company is to ask a lot of questions to discover whether:
  • they possess a positive attitude.
  • they have high energy.
  • they are trustworthy and possess good character.
  • they feel good about themselves and life.
  • they take responsibility without making excuses.
  • they desire to keep learning and hunger for growth.
  • they are willing to follow the leader and work with the team.
  • they have a good track record.
  • they are able to flow with the organization and accept change.
5.  Check References: Today’s employment laws are extremely strict on how much information can be obtained regarding past employment; previous employers are not supposed to give out any information other than the length of employment. They cannot give out any information with regard to skills, attitude, attendance or anything else in the applicant’s job history while employed there.
6. Clarify Expectations: New employees seldom know exactly what is expected of them, how they will be measured, or with whom they will work the most. It’s important to communicate expectations and metrics clearly and succinctly from Day One. 
7. Offer Attractive Compensation: Money buys the house and the bacon, but it also represents recognition and fairness. Talented people expect their contributions to be acknowledged and their compensation to reflect their impact. If necessary, do a competitive compensation survey. 
8. Establish a Buddy System: Often overlooked yet consistently successful, mentoring systems give employees a sense of history and community when they enter a new company environment. By introducing recruits to the office culture immediately, mentors make them feel important and necessary to the company's success. 
9. Develop People to Their Full Potential: Every company leaves a tremendous amount of human potential untapped because its people are inadequately developed.

Provide informal feedback and coaching, cross training and opportunities for advancement. Train all new employees thoroughly in job requirements immediately upon hiring. Putting a new employee on the job to “sink or swim” results in frustration, sloppy work habits and omission of important details. Reinforce the attitudes and behavior patterns you want. A new employee is usually highly receptive to suggestions and eagerly assimilates and readily accepts the organizational vision, mission and goals.
10. Conduct Exit Interviews: Retention of talent often begins at the end of the process. Chances are, an employee who is walking out the door will be more honest and forthcoming than a person who still depends on your company for a paycheck. But in order to ensure truly effective exit interviews, a leader must establish a climate of trust long before he receives the letter of resignation. 
Prepared by:

Heather Brighton and Geri Stengel. Ms. Brighton, president of The Brighton Group, is a management consultant providing strategic management, marketing management, consulting, and leadership training and development programs to individuals, business organizations and public/private institutions. Ms. Stengel, president of Stengel Solutions, is a business strategist who does business strategies for industry leaders and growth companies. Ms. Brighton can be reached at (212) 362-5159, or Ms. Stengel can be reached at 212-362-3088, E-mail or

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Contact Geri Stengel at
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