Finding the right people to join your growing online business is not easy. But, with a little effort, you can create a compelling offer that does not require you to spend a lot.
Many people are becoming more selective in how they approach their career. For an online business this can be a challenge, especially if you want to attract the right people for your business.
And while it will take some effort, if you craft your company story in the right way, you may find you won’t have to spend a lot to hire them. As a business owner it is important to remember that some of the best people you want to attract will make their decision NOT based on the salary you provide, but on how well you can help them achieve their personal goals.
So if you are looking to hire more people, or just want to create the right environment for future hires, then this episode will help you.
In this episode we interview Kathryn Minshew from TheMuse.com to take a deep dive into the ways that businesses of any size can stand out from their peers and bring in the right talent to help grow their business.
In this 35-minute episode, Sean Jackson, Jessica Frick, and Kathryn Minshew discuss the key components of recruiting talent, including …
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You’re listening to The Digital Entrepreneur, the show for folks who want to discover smarter ways to create and sell profitable digital goods and services.
Sean Jackson: Welcome to The Digital Entrepreneur everyone. I’m your host, Sean Jackson, and I’m joined as always by the illuminating Jessica Frick. Jessica, how are you today?
Jessica Frick: I’m illuminated, Sean. How the Jackson are you?
Sean Jackson: I am well, as always. We left the last episode with the question of the week, which I think is perfect when thinking of you.
How weird is too weird when it comes to standing out, when it comes to your unique selling proposition, and when it comes to really crafting that special mojo that is you and your organization?
Jess, what do you say? How weird is too weird?
Jessica Frick: I think you can be as weird as you want to be. But I think there’s certain levels of weird that are appropriate for certain situations. I mean, you don’t want to let your full freak flag fly in a client pitch.
Sean Jackson: Right.
Jessica Frick: You know, just maybe a little freak. Wear something a little weird, or maybe make a joke that somebody would have to catch.
But when it comes to recruiting, you can be super weird. I think that that would actually help you find an employee or a staffer that might not otherwise come. Just because they resonate with you, and they’re like, “Oh, my God. They get me.”
Sean Jackson: I think you’re right. I think you can be unique.
And being unique means being yourself on your best day, but truly being yourself. Not trying to be something that you are not.
I mean, if you looked at me — me dying my hair pink does not go with my persona, okay? It just doesn’t.
Jessica Frick: No.
Sean Jackson: I would stand out, to be certain. But there would definitely be a disconnect, and I wouldn’t be able to carry it off. And so I do think you’re right.
I think you do have to be unique and different and really something that is memorable and remarkable. I think you don’t want to be boring. You do want to stand out, but you don’t have to be something that you are not.
And I think it goes to the core set of values that you believe in yourself and the people that you want to attract. The people that you want around you — be it the audience that you’re trying to build online, be it the customers that you’re trying to sell to, or being, as you pointed out, the employees or the contractors inside your organization, right?
Jessica Frick: Absolutely. If you just disappear into the background, you’re going to just be part of the background noise. And if you’re selling an ebook or if you’re creating a new membership organization, the more people feel at home with you, the more they’re able to trust you.
Sean Jackson: Yeah, and they look forward to seeing you.
I mean, let’s face it: There’s a lot of boring people out there. The more that you can infuse your work with the unique characteristics of what you do and what makes you special — and really clearly articulate it. That’s what I really think it comes down to, is that you have to really know what it is about you and what you stand for and clearly articulate it so that it becomes a compelling part of your messaging.
Because it is okay to discriminate against people who are not sharing in the values that you share when you’re trying to build an organization. If you have certain values and you are clear about articulating them, there will be others that will be derisive of those values, that will be dismissive of it, and may not find any value in it. And you know what, Jess? That’s okay.
Jessica Frick: It is. I think though a lot of people don’t necessarily need permission to get weird. But I think that there’s a lot of us who were perhaps freaky kids, getting called out weirdo in the playground. And it was a bad thing then.
But now it’s an asset. And it takes some guts to make those first steps and be more you than who you think they want you to be. Little by little, you can get as weird as you want to be.
Sean Jackson: There you go.
I think this really comes to a head when we start talking about building up an organization. That by identifying, articulating, and really understanding what makes it unique about the organization you’re creating, which really centers on the solopreneur to start with and then expands and grows from those they bring around. It’s very important from the onset to understand those unique qualities to attract the right people, and that’s a little bit about what today’s show is.
We do have a very special guest on who is going to talk to us about how to create up that right type of organization. Be it a standard office or be a remote workforce, how to articulate that culture, how to attract the new type of talent that is out there, that is very discerning in the type of jobs they are looking for. And really understanding that, by being better at understanding yourself, it may not only save you money in the long run but actually help facilitate your growth.
Jessica Frick: Yes.
Sean Jackson: I know.
When we get back from this break, we will be talking to Kathryn Minshew, the author of The New Rules of Work, about how you can build an organization that attracts the best people. Stay tuned.
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Welcome back from the break, everyone. Jessica, it is time for our interview this week. Whom do we have?
Jessica Frick: This week we have a very special guest, Kathryn Minshew. She is the CEO and founder of the TheMuse.com, which is a career platform used by 50-plus million millennials to find a job, learn professional skills, or advance in their career, and by hundreds of companies looking to hire or grow their employer brand.
Kathryn is also a Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review contributor. She’s spoken at MIT and Harvard, appeared on Today and CNN, and she’s been named to SmartCEO’s Future 50 and Inc.’s 35 Under 35.
Most importantly, of recent news Kathryn is co-author of the forthcoming book The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook to Navigating Your Career. We’re very excited to have her today. Kathryn, thank you so much for joining us.
Kathryn Minshew: Absolutely. Thank you for having me. I’m really excited to be here.
Sean Jackson: Kathryn, I want to get into this because I figure I’m going to take a giant leap here, okay? I think you’re probably an expert in career management as well as helping companies figure out how to attract the right people. Would you say that’s a true statement?
Kathryn Minshew: I think it’s fair enough, but it is definitely an unintentional expertise. I like to joke that I started this business because I needed the advice, and I’ve ended up gaining so much more than I ever expected.
Sean Jackson: See? It helps when you’ve been there, right?
Kathryn Minshew: Exactly.
Sean Jackson: Let’s get into this a little bit.
The Muse, by the way, is a beautiful site. Congratulations to you on your success and obviously the valuable information you have there.
Given who our audience is, I want to talk a little bit about where you are seeing the trend now for people in the workplace. Because obviously our audience are the people that do the hiring. But I think, before you can hire anyone, you need to know what is that pool of talent out there. What are they expecting, and what are they looking for?
So talk to us a little bit about the modern worker today and the person that’s looking to manage their career.
Kathryn Minshew: Absolutely. One of the big things that has differentiated The Muse and I think our community is that the people that we cater to are often thinking about work in a fundamentally different way from perhaps 10, 20 years ago. And there’s a number of differences, but just a couple at the high level.
One is that candidates are becoming more like consumers. So it’s no longer enough for a company to post up a job description and say, “Walk right this way, come through my interview process, and maybe at the end I’ll tell you if you get an offer.”
Instead, candidates are taking more power and they’re saying, “Well, why this job? Why this company? What is it that will happen to me if I join you? What will I learn? Who will I work with? What will my day-to-day be like?”
They’re becoming much more informed and discerning consumers, and companies are reacting to that by changing their entire recruiting process. The investment in employer brand, the candidate experience that someone has as they’re going through your application interview process. All of that.
Secondly, the types of things that people are looking for, as I mentioned, it’s less about the sort of flashy perks or simply just, “Oh, you have a job? I want a job.” That is definitely going the way of the dinosaur.
We’re seeing a lot of people focus on the people, purpose, and path. So “Who will I be working with?” The purpose being the overall goal, mission of the company. “What is the point? What is the ultimate reason we’re all here together?”
And then path is opportunities for growth and development. This has never been more important, because career paths are less linear. And so as individuals realize they need to develop skills that will take them where they want to go in their career, they’re looking to employers to say, “What experiences that will help me develop those skills can you provide, and how will you help me grow?”
Sean Jackson: So it really comes down to the fact that people who are looking for a job now are not just looking for a job. They’re looking for something a lot more.
They’re becoming, I would say, much more discerning about the opportunities that they would like to pursue. Would you say that’s an accurate statement?
Kathryn Minshew: Exactly. It’s completely true, and it’s changing the entire way that employers are thinking about attracting those people.
Sean Jackson: Got you. Let’s talk about that a little bit.
Because, obviously, if you have a supply of people out there that are much more discerning, that are much more discriminating — looking for the 3 Ps, as you mentioned out there. How as either a solopreneur looking to scale up or an established business, where maybe I’m doing a lot of my work with people who are not necessarily in an office, how should I be thinking about company culture and trying to appeal to this more discriminating audience out there?
Kathryn Minshew: I think the first mistake that a lot of people make is thinking that there’s some sort of generic best culture or attractive culture that exists that they should emulate. Instead, the most successful people figure out what it is that they already have to offer.
So, what’s authentic to the opportunity, to their business. Whether it’s a one-person solo shop looking for a number two or someone else to help out or a much larger and more established business.
There’s a lot of ways to do this, but one thing that I find really helpful is, if you are in a position where you already have existing employees, you can actually get some of your best recruiting content by asking them, “What made you take this job? What drew you to this opportunity?” You can gather and sort of capture some really interesting content about what already brings people to your open roles from the people who’ve done it.
Frankly, if you’re a solo entrepreneur or you’re looking for your first, second, third person and you’re very small, that’s an opportunity in and of itself. There are people out there who are specifically drawn to and excited by that sort of thing, and so I would put that front and center when you’re recruiting.
I’d say first you have to figure out what is it that sets you apart. What are those unique identifiers that might make someone say, “Yeah, that’s what I want to do.” Then secondly you’ve got to make sure you get those in front of the right people. Whether that’s making sure they’re on your career site, if you’re at the stage where you have a career site, making sure that your existing employees or your network is sort of informed and empowered to be able to spread the word.
And then the simple job description. I think the days when you can just post Looking for a sales person or a software engineer and get a bunch of great people in the door, those days are numbered. And the best job descriptions have a section, not just what do I want from this candidate or what are the qualifications, but also what we can offer you. Why would you want this role?
It’s incredible, this sort of uptick you can see in applications and then conversion from people who look at your job description to actually apply when you write...