I Want You to Want Me – How Your Customers Can Help You Hire the Best

Last week in our Q4Blog I suggested that even though every hiring manager would “want” to hire only “A” players or the Best and the Brightest or even T-Shaped people not every one of these would necessarily “want” to work at your company.

Remember the hiring game is very much like the dating game. I may “want” to go out on a date with that person but that person may not “want” to date me. Although in my case that would never happen. And it is not always about the money. Again I speak from experience.

So how does a company make the people that they “want”, “want” them? In most cases, companies offer pretty much the same list of selling points, good benefits, opportunity to advance, entrepreneurial environment, company name recognition (if they have one), and some slight variations on bonus, stock options, etc.

Why not use your customers as a selling point, to help build a better EVP (employee value proposition) to make your choice candidate “want” you? Let me explain.

In his award winning book, Intellectual Capital, Thomas Stewart suggests that there should only be three types of customers that companies should target and that by doing so they have a much greater chance of retaining their best people and in turn their intellectual capital. I suggest that this approach should be used to also make the candidates that you “want”, “want” you.

The first type of customer is called the Career Enhancing Customer. This customer wants you to provide new concepts, new innovations, new product design, better technology, stronger support among other things in order for you to win and keep his business. This customer’s project will make your employees stretch, learn new ideas and become better at what they do. Their individual careers will be enhanced. And candidates that you “want” will “want” to have their careers enhanced.

The second type of customer is the Image Enhancing Customer. You target this customer to make your company look better and this in turn will give your employees something to feel proud about.  Saying “One of our clients is Google, or Facebook or Microsoft or Evernote” does much more for your company image than saying “we work with some Fortune 500 companies in the technology sector.” Your “wanted” candidates will “want” to be associated with your image.

The third type of customer is the Organization Enhancing Customer. Targeting this customer will require your organization to spend and invest in new technology, expand into new locations, invest in training and development and perhaps reengineer some of your existing processes. This customer will make your organization better and in turn make your “wanted” candidates “want” you even more.

So, instead of just “wanting” to hire “A” players, the Best and the Brightest or T-Shaped people start looking at the types of customers you typically target and those that you currently have. Are any of them Enhancing Customers? Do you feel that your customers could make your “wanted” candidates “want” you?

If you are not using your customers to attract the best perhaps your competition is. And that person that you “wanted” to date just went off with someone else and you knew in your heart of heats that they were “The One.”


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