Why Is It So Hard to Find Reliable Team Members?

Finding Team Members

Why Is It SO Hard to Find Reliable Team Members?  

Jill Lutz | Founder - Let’s Build Talent    


Finding Team Members for Your Business is Hard

I am generally a trusting soul - and when I make a connection with someone who could be a great part of the business universe I have created, more than likely, I am going to give them a shot. And in spite of my 20+ years of recruiting experience, I am forever and a day surprised when that person ultimately does not work out in the long run. 

Have you ever heard the phrase, “The cobbler’s children have no shoes.”? 

I have been the epitome of that phrase when it comes to recruiting my own team members, especially when I first started hiring for my own business. 

And I have paid the price - dearly - because since I have all this experience, I feel that I can go with my gut alone. You can go with your gut to an extent, but you also have to conduct due diligence when hiring team members. Remember, recruiting is both an art AND a science…and that makes it hard to find reliable team members. 

But WHY is it so hard? Below is further insight into the phenomena, along with what you can do  to reduce poor hiring decisions. 

Five Generations are Now in the Workforce

Yes, you read that correctly - according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), FIVE generations are now in the workforce. SHRM lays it out like this: 

  • Traditionalists - ages 76 - 99
  • Baby Boomers - ages 57 - 75
  • Generation X - ages 41 - 56
  • Millennials (aka Gen Y) - ages 26 - 40
  • Generation Z - ages 25 and younger

Now some experts would argue with the exact ages here, but generally speaking, you can understand how a generation who witnessed Neil Armstrong’s moon landing may be slightly different from a Gen Z’er who doesn’t know what life was like without electronic devices. 

What does this matter to you? Well, with all knowledge, skills, and abilities being equal, candidates from each of these generations are going to act differently in your workplace. The Gen X’er is going to be the strong, silent type who gets his work done, and the Millenial will wonder why she has to work a full work-week if all work is done by 5 PM on Thursday. 

Generation affects behavior and you, my friend, get to wade through all the behavioral muck. Get your boots on…

People Will Tell You What You Want to Hear

No, candidates (usually) are not being deceitful, but an engaging candidate who connects with a hiring manager will tell that hiring manager how he/she can do just about anything - to make themselves look like a top pick. 

For example, I met a former HR coordinator who did hiring as part of her last job. She screened resumes, conducted first interviews, and would make recommendations about who should move forward. Sounds like a slam-dunk for my firm, right? It wasn’t. Technically, she had all the skills and could do the work like she said - but it was challenging for her to follow my standard operating procedures and best practices that my clients were used to receiving. And I heard an earful from my top client. 

You Often Hear Only What You Want to Hear - and You Tune Out Any Negativity

When you are desperate to hire and in a hurry, sometimes you only hear the positives - and often ignore the negatives or do not ask any of the tough questions that should be asked. Going back to my above example, I was struggling with 10 and 12-hour days and needed someone to join my team fast

And when I heard all of the things this lovely person could do, I practically emailed a hiring agreement during our initial meeting. But I should have asked more behavioral (i.e. situational) interview questions to dig deeper. Reflecting back on the experience, I also should have noticed that this person was a very serious, by-the-book type of person. I follow all laws and regulations when it comes to recruiting, but I also try to make candidates feel comfortable. And that was not in this person’s DNA. Lesson learned. 

What Can I Do Differently to Find Reliable Team Members? 

To find the best team members for your business in this erratic, post-COVID labor market, implement the following tips ASAP.

Identify the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Needed in Your Next Team Member

“Well, no kidding, Captain Obvious”...

But stay with me here - we often only consider someone’s work experience - the knowledge that they have gained and what they can do for us - and we very often do not consider their work style, personality, and how well they would fit within an existing team. 

Write down all the experience you need - and the traits that you would like to see in your next hire. Ask your existing team members to contribute ideas. All of you have to create, celebrate, cry, and laugh together during the work day. Your team will feel like they are part of the process and have input - added bonus.

Avoid Hiring Someone Just Like You

It’s human nature to gravitate towards people that are like ourselves. Hiring managers across the board do this - and there’s a name for it: subconscious bias. A few years ago, Forbes discussed subconscious bias, how it is normal for any hiring manager to have, and that even the best and biggest companies do it. 

Ask yourself this question: Would you be able to do every job in your company? 

The answer is “no”, in case you are unsure. Even solopreneurs hire bookkeepers, web designers, and social media experts at some point in their business - because they know they cannot do all the things. 

The personality of an amazing administrative assistant is completely different from that of a meticulous, by-the-books bookkeeper (pun intended). Admins are flexible, they go with the flow, and they face many challenges throughout their day with a huge smile on their face. Bookkeepers cannot do that, nor should you want them to be that way. They follow the rules for a reason - to keep your numbers straight and the IRS at bay. 

Understand a Candidate’s Background

This goes beyond checking references and employment verification. Sure, you must do that - or hire someone to do that for you. But you also want to know how they got where they are in their career - and what led them to that career. 

People who do work because it is simply a job that provides them money are probably not your best bets. Ideally, you want someone who loves their work and has a passion for it. Because when the chips are down, they can wade through the muck and come out on the other side still loving life. 

Does your top candidate have a history of job hopping? It’s kind of normal these days, but I typically avoid candidates who consistently have tenures of 18 months or less at many of their jobs. Bad work environments exist - we all know that - but candidates with longer tenure typically have weathered challenges and won’t back down (cue Tom Petty) or quit on you without notice. 

Relax…Hiring is Easier When You Know What You are Up Against

Does this sound like an awful lot to consider when you need to hire your next reliable team member? 

Well, that’s because it is a lot to deal with - and often, you don’t have time for all that. Outsource your hiring needs with a recruiting or talent acquisition firm that YOU connect with - one that understands your business and cares about it. Understand both your short-term and long-term hiring needs and budget accordingly for experts who will help you make excellent hiring decisions. Because you and your business is worth it! 

Think that it makes sense for us to talk at some point soon? Schedule a no-obligation discovery call to see if it makes sense to partner with Let’s Build Talent for hiring traditional employees or outsourced professionals like virtual assistants. 


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