Great Business Ideas: Recruit Good Employees

Great Ideas for your Small Business:

Recruit Good Employees

A small business can’t afford to make poor hiring choices. Yet small business owners too often hire the first person who drifts through the door, even for key jobs. Casting the widest net possible before hiring is one approach, but it often pays to bring in professional help. Why? Because in a small, expanding business, your people-power means the difference between success and failure.

You should begin a search with local networking, classified advertising, and word-of-mouth, but that’s often not enough to attract the very best candidates. Many entrepreneurs believe they can’t afford the professional services of an executive recruiter. But consider how critical a savvy sales manager or controller can be to the future of your business.

Executive recruiters, long retained by big companies to find just the right person, also work with many smaller firms. Their fee—traditionally 331/3 percent of the total first year’s salary plus all expenses—may sound steep, but think of it as an investment. “We create a strategy for the hunt,” said Brad Marks, chairman and chief executive officer of Brad Marks International in Century City, California.

Marks, a veteran executive recruiter, has placed many top executives in the entertainment industry. A former executive at Walt Disney Co. and ABC, he’s been helping companies find just the right person since 1982.

Marks, who works with four women colleagues, is particularly known for placing high-level women in a traditionally male-dominated field. “I have a distinct desire on my part to find the best executive for the position, and in many cases that turns out to be a woman,” said Marks.

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According to an industry report, 24 percent of the news directors in the top ten media markets are women. Two- thirds of all news writers and producers are women, and 41 percent of all middle managers at radio and television stations are female.

Marks said a willingness to consider women for high-level jobs began in the 1980s, when the leveraged buyouts of Hollywood studios took many out of family hands and put them under corporate control.

Marks, who encouraged KNBC in Los Angeles to hire Car- ole Black as general manager and placed Dawn Tarnofsky at Lifetime, said his type of work can be very “cloak and dagger,” especially when he is replacing people who don’t know they are about to lose their jobs.

He said the executive search process has several steps. After meeting with clients to determine exactly what kind of person they need, he and his team begin searching for suit- able candidates. It can often take up to ten weeks to track down and interview people. Marks then narrows the field to about twenty people who are interviewed by him and his associates. After careful evaluation, the top five people are scheduled to meet with the client.

Hopefully, one will be a perfect fit. If you need to hire a key manager, consider paying for professional help.