Beth Smith

Hiring Better: How To Attract And Retain The Best People For The Job With Beth Smith

The way you interview and hire can make or break your business. So if you’re looking to be more successful in the modern workplace, you need to start by hiring better. In this episode, Executive Hiring Consultant Beth Smith shares the way to attract and retain the best talent for your company despite the difficulty in finding the right people these days. Tune in and learn the breakdown on how to hire better, have the best employees, and gain greater business success!

Hiring Better: How To Attract And Retain The Best People For The Job With Beth Smith

In this episode, we have a special guest, a good friend of mine, and a great topic for the end of 2022 and coming into 2023, Attracting and Retaining Your Best People. We are a forum of professionals, and we come together for the main purpose of elevating the profession of rewards and talent overall. The overall objective is to create workplaces where people are engaged, energized, and happy. We believe that happy and engaged people, especially when you select the right people to work at your organization, are going to be intrinsically motivated.

They will perform higher and create better experiences for your clients and customers. It’s the main reason why we’re all together here. Here’s a little bit about our hosts. We have Wendy Graham, who is back from hiatus. We might notice that she has this beautiful glow on her face. She’s been down in Mexico, doing some diving. It’s great to have her back. Welcome, Wendy.

We have Char Miller, one of our serial entrepreneurs. She has many businesses that started years ago. She also has deep expertise as a Chief People Officer at some large healthcare companies. She brings a wealth of knowledge as a People Expert. We have Nizewitz. We worked together at CompTeam and had a long history in the financial industry, several years ago at Barclays and so forth. It’s great to have Howard here as an expert on compensation and rewards. Also, he’s a system expert who knows how to select systems, put them in, and make them successful. Most importantly, I want to invite Beth Smith, the President of A-List Interviews.

She is an author. She’s got great books out there and also working on more. If you’re a reader of Beth Smith, expect more good books coming out in 2023. She’s also an excellent speaker. She’s on the Vistage Circuit, speaking to a lot of small and medium-sized businesses in the country and other countries as well. I’m fortunate to have her here. Beth is going to talk to us about attracting and retaining the best people. It’s a super important topic. Beth, can you tell us how you got started in the sourcing business?

Yes, I can. I owned a restaurant in Boulder, Colorado, right across the street from the University of Colorado. I hired a guy to help me manage the place. He let in two underage football players who were accused of a felony. This was one of the incidents in the Colorado football recruiting scandal, and it made national news. The next day, the Boulder Police Department walked in and told me I was going to lose my license. I said, “Is there anything that I can do to change that?” A Boulder detective leans across the table, points his finger at me and says, “You have to learn how to hire better.” I said, “Okay.”

I read every book I could get my hands on. I looked for classes. They don’t exist. I finally realized I was on my own and launched this enormous research project. I had to hire about 30 to 40 people per year. I saw their resume, interviewed, hired, trained, and managed. I spent the better part of that four years interviewing over 1,000 people. I hired 150 of them and looked for themes, “What do I need to know in a fifteen-minute interview that would help predict this person’s future behavior?” That is the process I created.

We sold the business in 2006. I sat on the couch for a full year, watched Law and Order and played FreeCell on my phone. Thank God Facebook had not been invented, or I’m not sure if I’ve ever gotten off the couch. One day I thought, “I’ve figured out things about this hiring gig, and I need to go out and teach it.” I launched A-list in 2007. Since then, I’ve interviewed almost 20,000 people in my career and had a 91% retention rate for employees after a year. That’s how I got into this mess of the Boulder Police Department told me I had to, and I said, “Okay.”

I have to say that’s one of the most amazing stories I’ve heard on this forum ever.

Did I not tell you this the last time?

This time it resonated with me. I love that. It’s so true. Good for you. Congratulations. It’s quite a statistic on retention rate. It’s incredible.

Thank you. I have some of my organizations who have upwards of 95% to 98% after a year. It can be higher. It just depends on how they take the process and absorb it throughout the entire organization. Sometimes it happens, and sometimes it doesn’t.

I imagine balancing the amount of hiring rigor that you have with the candidate’s experience. How do you balance those two aspects?

The best way to make a great candidate experience is different from what most people think it is. A lot of people will say, “I create a good quality candidate experience by saying things like, ‘How was your commute? Can I get you some water? How are you today?’” which is chit-chat. Chit-chat works outside of the interview. It does not work in the interview. The way to create a great candidate experience is by giving a deadline as to when they will have answers. That’s important to them.

The spiel that I give every single candidate after the first interview is this, “Wendy, thank you much for interviewing with us for the People Strategist position. You will have an answer from us one way or the other by Friday at 5:00. I will either send you an email that states we’re moving on with other candidates, or I will call you and get you scheduled for a second, longer, more technical interview. We have a great deal of respect for the people that interview for us. We know you need answers. We’re going to get those answers to you. We just need to finish up our process and have an answer from us one way or the other by Friday at 5:00.”

I wish you would’ve talked to my daughter’s employers. That was the experience she had. They had zero understanding of what timeliness is. Do you do that at the beginning of the conversation?

What I tell them in the beginning is, “Before you get offline with us today, I will give you a deadline as to when you have answers from us.” What that does is lowers stress levels because this is the thinking in the back of their mind, “I’m going to interview with these great people. I adore. I want this job, and I’m never going to hear back.” We know that. In the back of their mind, their biggest concern is, “When am I going to have an answer?”

When I say to them, “At the very beginning, before you get offline with us today, I’ll give you a deadline as to when you have answers,” at the very end of the interview, the spiel that I give them is, “You’ll have an answer on Friday, Monday, or Tuesday at 5:00,” whatever the company process works with. It’s no longer than 48 to 72 hours. What it does for the candidates is it allows them to move on if they’re not going to get this role, so they can quit thinking about it and put their energies elsewhere.

What it does for the employer is it keeps your pipeline moving. There are all these people that want to interview. There are all these people in various phases of the pipeline. You need to keep on top of the movement. It’s important for all parties involved, and it’s respectful. When you are respectful to your candidates, you will be shocked. I get thank you notes for rejection letters every week. My clients sometimes have gotten business from rejected candidates because of their ethics and integrity in how they treated their candidates through the interview process. Let’s talk real quickly about why we do not let candidates know.

I want you to know that this is human biology. We are biologically wired to connect. Brené Brown beat this into us regularly, “This is how our species evolved. This is how we’ve lived. We need each other. We have to connect. Hiring is not about connection. Hiring is about rejection. It goes against your biology.” Let’s think about this. You end up with 100 applicants, and you will reject at least 99 of them. If not all 100, go back out, get another 100 and do the same thing again. For one role, you can be rejecting hundreds of candidates. Nobody likes to do this. This does not make us feel good as human beings, but it is an honorable thing to do.

PSF 51 | Hiring Better

Hiring Better: You can reject hundreds of candidates. Nobody likes to do this. This does not make us feel good as human beings, but it is the honorable thing to do.


My clients will complain to me, “All these candidates are ghosting me and don’t show up for their interviews.” I’m like, “Wait a minute. Businesses have been ghosting people for decades. We started this.” What I tell people is they’re ghosting you because we’ve been ghosting people the whole time. If they ghost you, what you need to remember about being ghosted is one thing. They don’t want the job. They’re giving you an answer. Instead of trying to cajole them into coming back and interviewing, let them go. It’s part of the candidate flow.

Let me ask you this. In my personal career, I’ve gone through experiences where it took an organization months and months. They weren’t interested. It’s been dragged on forever, and it’s a horrible process. Before you take on assignments, is this something you establish with companies upfront in terms of response?

Yes. When I’m running the search, we make those deadlines on their behalf. When we do that, what it does is it encourages candidates to send us back these nice emails of, “Thank you much for giving me an answer because nobody does that out there.” What that does is it helps clients feel better about doing it. They then take on the process of sending out rejection emails. It’s a copy-and-paste thing. This is not a hard thing to do. I talk to my clients all the time that this is marketing. When you treat candidates well in the interview process, you are taking care of potential customers at their most vulnerable. When you do that, they’ll never forget it.

Conversely, if you have a bad experience, you take that away, and not only do you take that away, but you communicate it to all your friends and family.

I have a good friend of mine who was treated horribly. He is a high-powered technological manager. He now works for Oracle. He’s fantastic. He’s got people skills and graduated from Carnegie Mellon with an MBA in Honors. He’s a sharp guy. There’s a healthcare company he will not have anything to do with because of how crappy they treated him as a candidate. He is appalled by all of this.

I don’t want to spend too much time focusing on the bad part of all of this. Every person I had a conversation with has had an experience like this with at least one, if not multiple, companies that treated them like crap. The message I’m putting out into the universe is if you don’t take care of your candidates, who are potential customers at their most vulnerable, I don’t know that you’ll be successful in business, or at least not as successful as you could be.

If you don't take care of your candidates, who are potential customers at their most vulnerable, you won’t be successful in business or at least not as successful as you could be. Share on X

That’s a great point. It’s about thinking about this process as part of the marketing process because we’re creating an experience for people and some of an outsider’s first look inside the operations of a company. Switching topics, I’d love to hear about your impression of the hiring climate nowadays because there are a lot of misconceptions out there. We got through this period of rapid hiring, a lot of movement in the marketplace, higher inflation, and the thought of a slowing economy and so forth. What’s going on out there?

There are a couple of things. Char and I were talking earlier that there was an article that came out. People are talking about being in a recession, but the labor market is not showing that. People are actively hiring even in what is considered the slowest hiring period of the year, which is the month of December, which is a whole other tangent that I could go on. We’re seeing a lot of people hiring, a lot of growth, and expansion.

I don’t know how that’s going to play out later, but now, I’m not seeing a lot of that. There was another statistic that I saw. It came out from Monster, which talks about 50% of people who left in the pandemic are considering or have already returned to their former employers. I’m wondering if there were this myth out there that candidates got to have their pick of jobs, and I’m sure some had that experience. For 50% to consider going back to a former employer or having gone back there already tells me there’s something broken within the recruiting process.

There was a friend of mine who was a phenomenal controller. Her company got bought out, so she took a month off and started looking for a job. Her resume was great and all the things. She called me three months later, going, “I haven’t gotten a single phone call from the jobs. I’m surprised with my contacts and all the things.” I said to her, “Why don’t you go around the job board, see the job ad online, and contact the company directly?” She did that and had a job within three weeks. What that tells me is there was something flawed in there about companies aren’t getting. There’s a wedge between employers and candidates out there, and I haven’t quite figured out what that is all about.

One thing to bring up is there are a lot of these hiring companies out using artificial intelligence that’s coming up. Do you think that could be the culprit?

Yes, it is. Char mentioned this earlier. This was a great quote, “I’m interviewing for a company, and I can’t even talk to a live person.” That is a brilliant observation on your part, Char. Come on. I’m going to go work for a company, and I’m being interviewed by a robot? Are you kidding me? That’s like going on a first date and being interviewed by a robot.

It was interesting because I went through all the AI and the online chat. I did the personality assessments, and I was whatever top percent person. I did end up talking to the recruiter, but she never met me face-to-face. I did meet with the chief HR officer for the talent management director position. This lady and I did not click well. I don’t know. There was something about us that didn’t click.

The recruiter was baffled. She said, “You were the top candidate. You’re our top person. I don’t quite understand what happened there.” I did give her feedback. I said, “Maybe it would have been better if you and I met in person.” You know the personality type of the chief HR officer. If we had met in person, that might have helped. Believe me. I thought I had this position, but it was all the AI, even the personality assessments and everything I took, even I aced all the colors.

I have to wonder too. The fact that you didn’t connect to the person who would’ve been your boss probably was what killed the deal right there. At the end of it all, if you had met with her at the very beginning, you wouldn’t have to go through all of that in order to figure this out. I’ll give you an example. I have this friend who’s a VP of HR. It’s a big company. She was looking for another job. She put on her pantyhose seventeen different times and drove to the company to interview with seventeen different people. We’re assuming she didn’t get the job because we’ve not heard from anybody in two years.

Think about all the time, the effort, the resources, the gas prices, and all the things she had to put forth to get a job that she never even heard back from. This is not good customer service. We’re going to reject the vast majority of people that we interview. You don’t want to be overly solicitous, but at the end of the day, you can treat people with the dignity and respect they deserve because you’re not going to hire anybody unless you have candidates who interview. We need each other. It’s a symbiotic relationship. If you’re going to be crappy, don’t do it here. It makes no sense to me one way or the other why we are doing this type of process. I don’t get it.

We're going to reject most of the people that we interview. But at the end of the day, you can treat people with the dignity and respect they deserve. Share on X

I was interviewing for another position for the CHRO position. Executive positions are the most difficult to get. I interview with every single level of the C-Suite, the CFO, and every single position. I was even in the executive board room. The president of the hospital walked in 25 minutes late. She’d been sitting around picking apart my resume and zoned in one particular job gap of mine because my mom was ill in that particular year, that one year I had a job gap even though I was doing contract work. She walked in and wore her polished little suit. She was a miss executive lady. She plops down my resume in front of eight executives and says, “What’s this job gap? Tell me exactly what that is about.”

Let me ask you a question. If you had said to her, “I had breast cancer,” what would have happened at that moment is you could have sued.

I ended up saying that my mother had died. It was humiliating and embarrassing, but I had to say my mother died, and I took time off to take care of my mother in her critical stages. It gave me chills, and I had to say that in front of eight executives. It was humiliating and painful.

It’s rude.

This is a big healthcare system, one of the biggest in Denver. I’m not going to say who they are, but I’m telling you that I don’t want to work for that healthcare system. This healthcare system is passionate about patients, but they don’t have any compassion or empathy for a middle-aged person whose mother passed away when they don’t care. I would’ve walked out of that interview.

You wouldn’t have brought that up if she hadn’t asked the question. Sometimes I have seen people interview and ask a question about a job gap that was addressed in the cover letter, and the person didn’t read the cover letter. I have a huge amount of respect for people who take time off of work in order to take care of ill relatives. Why would I ever pick apart a resume and ask about a job gap?

It only put salt in the wound for that issue. I couldn’t believe it. The rest of the executives were looking at this president because I think some of them already knew about that part because they read my cover letter and the recruiter shared it, but the president didn’t look at that.

The important part is we need to rethink, especially now, about these job gaps that are in resumes. Statistics have shown that a lot of job gaps are predominant in female resumes because they are and traditionally have been caregivers. Especially in this pandemic, there’s been a large amount of women that have dropped out of the workplace to take care of loved ones, and suddenly you don’t have childcare anymore.

PSF 51 | Hiring Better

Hiring Better: In this pandemic, there’s been a large number of women that have dropped out of the workplace to take care of loved ones.


Let’s talk about childcare. Twenty-two percent of all employees are affected by childcare, and there is no such thing as consistent childcare anymore. A daycare can close up because of a COVID scare. We don’t need to talk about school schedules. School schedules were never invented for working parents. They have every third week off. When my daughter was in school, there were 41 weeks in the school year. That leaves you eleven weeks that you have to come up with some other alternative. Of the 41 weeks, 22 were shortened by a professional development day, a holiday of this and that, whatever the case may be.

Childcare was never invented for working parents. At the end of all of this, you have a fifth of the job candidates out there who are not working. On top of all of that, childcare now is expensive that unless a woman is making considerable money, it doesn’t make financial sense for her to be in the workplace. We cure the childcare problem, and we are in a world of hearts with it as far as labor is concerned. We’re not ever going to see an uptick in the amount of candidates until we solve that problem.

The further thing about compensation practitioners, what I found is that these job gaps and employers judging people based on the gaps in their resume is disproportionately hurting women because of their traditional roles and is holding them back in their careers. This is something that we need to stop.

It’s very scary. Let’s talk about gaps and job hopping. The term job hopping was created by my parent’s generation, where you work for IBM for 45 years and retire with a gold watch. That doesn’t happen anymore. That’s A. B, companies can’t afford retirement plans anymore because they’re so expensive. Three, I read the statistics that if you’re not changing jobs every 2.5 to 3 years, you’re leaving your salary on the table. Four, we are a much more mobile society. We are moving to different places. We are living in different ways than we did when my parents were working and all those things. There are many differences, but we still look at resumes with the same view and filter as they did in the 40s. How does that benefit us? It doesn’t.

If you're not changing jobs every two and a half to three years, you're leaving salary on the table. Share on X

In addition, we’re in a sandwich generation as well. In that particular example of mine, I had teen kids and a lot of tragedies going on in that area, plus the mother factor trying to coordinate all their living for everybody. To be picked apart when I was a superwoman, a lot of these candidates are super people because they’re so many juggling different hats, and this person might be highly qualified because not only could they handle all of those aspects at the same time, plus hold down this whatever position. Why do you think recruiters don’t dig into that detail? Is it because we’re afraid to talk about personal circumstances with candidates? That is a personal circumstance. Why do you think that is?

There are a couple of things. One, let’s look at where we spend our hiring dollars. We spend dollars on recruiters and management training. What we do not spend dollars on is what happens in an interview between a potential employer and a candidate. Nobody talks about that. There is a book called Hiring the Best and Keeping the Best by a guy named Martin Yate. It was written in 1994. In his prologue, he says that interviewing is a dirty secret in Corporate America. I’m paraphrasing now, “We put people in charge and demand that you hire your own team, and we’re going to hold you accountable for that team. We don’t ever give you the skills to run an interview effectively.”

There is this myth that HR people are better at interviewing than anyone else. I tell them that is not true. I’ll tell you why. Hiring cannot be delegated, just like exercise cannot be delegated. Sam, my doctor, says I need to exercise more, “Would you go out and run 5 miles for me today? I would appreciate that. Make sure you run fast. I’d like the interval training, please, where you run fast for three minutes and slow down for three minutes. That’s what I would like for you to do for me today.” It can’t be done.

Hiring cannot be delegated. Just like exercise cannot be delegated. Share on X

It would be awesome if I could outsource that.

Wouldn’t that be great? You cannot outsource hiring, even me as a hiring professional. Here’s why. I have interviewed 20,000 people in my career. I cannot hire for you. What I do is facilitate a process in order to help you attract, hire, and retain the right person for you. If I do it all myself, I’m hiring people who work well for me, and that might not work for you. At the end of it all, hiring managers, because they have made crappy hiring decisions in the past, are rattled by this. What they do and say are, “I can’t hire people. I need to hire someone who’s good at hiring.” It doesn’t work like that.

Hiring is a skillset you can learn. It is a muscle that you must use and utilize regularly. No one can do it for you. You have to learn how. The only way to learn how is to get trained. I have to tell you. I’ve not seen any good interview training programs. I looked at all of them at one point, and that’s why I created my own. I had 40 people to hire per year. I had a 0% turnover in my last year in my restaurant.

That’s unheard of. Nobody does that. That’s because our selection process is awful. Here’s a quick statistic. Two-thirds of all hiring decisions are found to be a mistake within the year. Peter Drucker is the first one that I’ve been able to find, and he’s credited for making that statement. I found it early as the 1980s. CareerBuilder emulated that same statistic in 2016. We have one billion more people on the planet from the 80s to 2016 with the same hiring statistic. In other words, we’re getting worse at this, not better. Something has to change.

What I would recommend is we scrap the whole thing and start over. That’s what I teach my clients. We’re going to figure out what important criteria in the hiring process are. I’ll tell you what it is. There are three. The first is, can they manage their own conflicts at work? There are two types of conflict at work. There’s conflict with your peers and with your boss, who can fire you. Those are two separate skillsets.

If you cannot manage at least one type of conflict in the workplace, guess who has to manage that conflict for you, the boss. “Char, Sam did not meet his deadline. I’m having to pick up the slack because he’s not doing it as much as I am. I’m working harder and having to carry this whole thing on my shoulders. I need you to go in here and talk to him.” Now, what Char has to do is she has to go and deal with Sam.

In other words, she’s not running a business. She’s running a daycare. That’s the first thing. If they can’t manage their own conflicts at work, and the boss has to do it for them, at that point, you might as well not have them. Do the work yourself. The second criteria is, can they do the job you’re asking them to do? That doesn’t mean they’ve done the job before necessarily. It means, can they do it? Are they willing to do it? That’s a skills-based interview. The third is, do they love the job that you’re offering? If they don’t love the job you’re offering, they’re never going to be problem solvers. They’re never going to take ownership of the job.

PSF 51 | Hiring Better

Hiring Better: If they don’t love the job you’re offering, they’ll never be problem solvers. They’re never going to take ownership of the job.


I’ll give you an example. I interviewed an electrical engineer, which is hard to find these days. He had a PE, which is even more difficult to find. He had worked for all the big guys. He’d been at Jacobs Engineering for a long time. He’d done all the things. We interviewed him twice, and I was like, “Where is this guy’s passion for this job?” It’s because the whole time we’re interviewing, he’s like, “I’ve missed deadlines before. I’ve had crappy clients before,” and all the things. We called him Eeyore. He was such an Eeyore. Finally, I asked him in the third interview, “If you could have any job in the world you wanted, what would it be?” He was sitting, and he went, “I would be a ballroom dance instructor on a cruise ship.”

You can’t make this crap up. I swear. It was amazing to watch this transformation that came over him. We didn’t hire him. He doesn’t want to do engineering. Why would you hire someone that doesn’t love the job you’re offering? If you have those three criteria with the resounding yes, you will have a successful hire.

Say it again. What are the three?

1) It’s how you manage your conflicts at work. 2) Can you do the job I’m asking you to do? 3) Do you love the job I’m offering?

You have a way of saying this in a simplistic, straightforward way. I’ve been doing this for many years, and I love your approach, Beth. It’s very refreshing. I’ve been trying to figure out new and progressive ways to recruit. We’ll talk about TMA later, which is a way around competencies, passions, and talents. I love your approach and attitude about training the leader to be able to hire for themselves. I know it’s not just an HR job. I have been that HR person with 3,000 employees under my wing. There’s no way I’m going to be able to hire with a vacancy rate of 22% or whatever it is. There’s no way I can do that successfully, and the cost associated with turnover and hiring. What you’re doing is great. You do conferences and leadership training. Do you support candidates too, or mainly leaders?

No. I don’t support candidates. The reason I don’t support candidates is because it’s a conflict of interest. My companies are paying my fee. If I turn around and advocate a particular candidate for them who is not or is paying me, I’m getting paid from both sides of the fence. I’ll tell you what I think. This is inherently the biggest problem with recruiters. They are taking money as the fee from the employer, but they’re pitching a candidate and negotiating salary on their behalf, so they get a bigger fee.

It makes a sleazy interaction between the recruiter and their clients, which is why no one is loyal to recruiters. It’s because it’s a sleazy business. I’m not saying all recruiters are sleazy. I’m a recruiter. I am saying that there are inherent big issues with the industry I am working within to see that it is fixed. I don’t work for candidates because it’s a conflict of interest. It’s unethical.

PSF 51 | Hiring Better

Hiring Better: The biggest problem with recruiters is they are taking money as a fee from the employer, but then they’re pitching a candidate and negotiating salary on their behalf to get a bigger fee. It makes a very sleazy interaction between the recruiter and their clients.


You and I will talk because I do career coaching. I help candidates, so we’ll have to talk. This is fantastic because you’re giving a new approach to employers and talent management strategy employers need to hear. Sam, go ahead. I just cut you off.

I wanted to address one more part of your question, Sam, and then I’ll come back to you. For example, I have a car dealership organization in Canada. I went up there and taught interview training to all of their general managers. What that did is it took the interview process and inserted it at the top of the organization so that it could filter down to the other hiring managers. There’s an international accounting firm, and they were having a manager’s conference. I went and did interview training for all of their hiring managers.

Their headquarters is here in Denver. I met with them and taught them this process. When you have the same process from the top all the way down to the bottom, A) The candidate has a more consistent experience. B) Hiring managers can support each other. Let’s say Wendy and I are interviewing Sam. Wendy says, “Beth, I need some help because I’m having trouble evaluating him.” I can sit in. She and I have the same lingo and the same understanding of concepts so that we can make a full-on practical, rational hiring decision and somebody isn’t left in the dark by themselves.

Wendy, what do you think about that?

I remember when Sam first introduced me to you, and he was like, “Beth is amazing. She’s unique in her approach.” I wanted to go on more about what you said about how you start from scratch. You do things differently. That’s what we give out on this forum. We’ve been talking so much about all the bad practices. I wanted to go back to me the unique things that you do that are different. For example, you talked about the fact that you still do in-person interviews for senior-level roles.

After you’ve done a Zoom, you do it in person. That’s interesting in this post-pandemic age. I wonder if other people have let go of that in-person piece. I would be curious to know more about that and more about any other things that you are doing that are different or outside the box because that’s what makes you so good. I want our audience to learn more about creative ideas.

We’re going to do a quick exercise. I want you to close your eyes. I want you to think about the absolute best employee that you’ve ever had. There’s going to be a person’s face that pops up. You can open your eyes now. Sam, give me two words to describe that person.

Competent and articulate.

Howard, two words.

Team player and knowledgeable.


Empathetic and organized.


Honest and authentic.


Engaged and game for anything.

What you did is you created your ideal list for your next hire, engaged, honest, up for anything, etc. Not one of you mentioned skills. Howard mentioned knowledgeable, so that’s close, but not one of you mentions skills. What is the first thing you look for on a resume?


You already have a disconnect, and you haven’t even put a job ad out. The very first step that we do is called an ideal list. We do that same exercise. I have done that exercise for CEOs all across North America. Every single time we do this, we have the same response of, “It’s more about attributes than it is for skills.” Why? Does anybody have any idea?

If you have the will, we can train you on the skill.

Gold star for Wendy. The first thing we do is start off with an ideal list for this person in this position, A. B, what that does is it gets my clients out of what I call the hiring hangover. The person that left is usually leaving for a reason. They’re not performing in some way. The person who hired that person who was leaving is going, “I’ve got to start this interview process. I can’t think of anything worse. I’ve got a headache. I’m slightly nauseous.”

The last thing I want to do is go down this hiring process. The reason people feel that way is A) They hired the person who left, “If I can hire that one, I can hire someone worse.” This is why we fire slow. It’s because a C is somewhat acceptable because, “I could hire an F. I’ve hired an F before.” They start off with this awful negative mindset. They then put a job ad out and start interviewing people.

This is how Char ended up with this God-awful experience with this horrible president. It’s because she has made bad hires before. She comes in and punishes Char for all the bad crappy people that she has hired in the past. We all do this to some level. Wendy, if there is anything else I do differently that is going to make an enormous impact, it’s this. You cannot have the person you’re looking for unless you know what that person is.

According to you guys, it is not about skills. It’s about being engaged, empathic, honest, loyal, competent, taking ownership, and whatever it is you come up with. In addition to those words, I always make a list for my CEOs. I’ll say to them, “Your company’s core values are in this list.” The next thing I do that’s different than others is we’re going to start off a job ad with a mission statement.

What normally people do is they call Char, who’s HR, and say, “I need to hire this project manager. I need you, Char, to write a job description,” and Char’s gone, “Are you kidding me? I don’t know anything about project management.” What did she do? She googles a job description for project management. She takes someone else’s job description, posts it as her own, and is thorough. She’s going to send it to Wendy, who’s the hiring manager, and say, “How do you feel about this?”

Wendy, because she’s in the hiring hangover, barely glances at the thing, sends it back to Char, and says, “That’s fine. You do you.” What Char does is she takes that three-page God-awful generic job description and uses it as the job ad, hoping that she can attract top candidates with this generic job description that has nothing to do with her organization that she didn’t even know if it’s accurate because she can’t get feedback from the hiring manager because the hiring manager is in a hiring hangover. Do you see how this is a complete disaster?

It is. You’re giving me chills. You are spot on. It’s 100% true.

How do I know this? I’ve done this before.

We all have. Many of our recruiters, even internal recruiters, have their workloads. They have 50, 60, or 70 positions they’re trying to recruit for. They don’t have the time or the bandwidth to do all these job postings, and then they get beat because they can’t hire enough candidates. They can’t hire them within 30 days. They can’t get it, and people turn over. What you’re saying is true. I’m doing the jazz house for you, Beth.

In all seriousness, this is solving this problem by calling it out for what it is. What we’re doing is we’re not having a high-level hiring conversation. We’re taking all of the details and focusing on those. Posting a generic job description is not going to attract like-minded people. What we do is start with the company’s mission statement. We can use CompTeam’s mission, which is, “We are dedicated to improving the workforce experience by engaging, energizing, and elevating people and the company.”

Let’s take that. You read that statement in a job ad as a candidate, and you’re like, “Finally.” In A-list Interviews, “We transform the world through the interview process because when people are in jobs they love, they make better parents, better children to their parents, better dog parents, and there’s less road rage.” You’re trying to hire a recruiter. You read that, and you’re like, “I want to work for them.” Now, you have attracted like-minded people, and they’re excited. The second line is, “We’re hiring an empathic, honest, knowledgeable project manager to help us enhance and energize our clients.” You list a couple of attributes.

We’re not talking about job duties. Who wants to read that? Most people know what a project manager and a recruiter do. I don’t need to read that. What I need to read are the things that we are looking for, excellent verbal and written communication skills, takes ownership of the job, is reliable and dependable, lead with honesty, etc. It’s just a few. We’re keeping it short. “If this sounds like the opportunity to you, please send a resume and cover letter to Beth Smith. We look forward to hearing from you.”

You read that job ad, and you’re like, “Who are these people?” It’s very short, and the reason it’s short is because 87% of candidates are applying for jobs on their phones. They are not going to scroll for twenty minutes to read your three-page dry, generic job description. It’s never going to work. If you do that, if you lead that way, it’s great.

Thank you so much, Beth. There’s much to dive into here. You make it entertaining and useful, as always. Thank you.

Thank you. Does anybody have any final questions for me before we end?

I’m going to be emailing you those, so thank you so much. A lot of people need to talk to you. I’m going to ask you how to get ahold of you.

For our readers, how do they find your website?

It’s My email address is [email protected]. There’s also [email protected]. That goes directly to my business partner, who can get in touch with me. There’s a contact page. My phone number, if you want it, is (303) 818-0555. Another number is 0550. That goes to Randy, and he can get to me also. I love talking about this. I could talk about it ad nauseam. I could talk about it 24 hours straight without breathing. If I went over to something too quickly, feel free to email me, and I’ll clarify.

One thing you made clear is that it’s important for leaders to have a process in place so they can follow that, and doing that consistently is quite important to ensure that they have a quality hire. Thank you, Beth.

Thank you for having me, guys. This was entertaining, as always. I look forward to our next collaboration.

Thanks so much.

It’s my pleasure. Thank you.

Everyone, see you next episode. Take care.


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