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How Companies Identify Talent with Tanner Shaffer of Directive & Kage Spatz

HR Strategy Series, Real Human Resources

Directive Human Resources Hiring Strategies

It’s not what you do, but how you do it.

As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Tanner Shaffer.

Tanner Shaffer is the COO and co-founder of Directive with co-founder and lifelong friend, Garrett Mehrguth.

Thank you so much for doing this with us!

Thank you for having me!

Hiring can be very time consuming and difficult. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill?

1. How much do they care about the details? Require potential candidates to include their LinkedIn URL. It is the first thing I check. If they do not have a professional photo; they don’t care enough. Create questions that need to be answered in the application that are specific to the job. You won’t believe how many one-word answers I get. Do they send a follow-up email after the interview? This also shows a level of care.

2. Are they transparent? Don’t be afraid to throw them a curveball. When going through their previous work history, ask them what they were proud of and how their managers perceived them. Usually, people want to paint themselves in a successful light. Follow that up with a curveball, “Sounds like a good setup, why did you leave that company?”

3. Do they take ownership? Talent takes ownership! Are they blaming their previous employer for things not working out? If they say they want to find a place where they can grow (I hear this in almost every interview), ask what areas they want to grow in? Follow that with a, “How are you owning that growth outside of work?” You would be surprised by how many people haven’t fully thought that out.

4. Make the first interview for 15 minutes. Once you get in the flow of interviewing, you can spot talent very quickly. The worst thing in hiring is having a 30-minute interview scheduled with someone you knew wasn’t a fit in the first five seconds.

5. Use assessments as a filter in between interviews. I send technical assessments in between interviews to help me further filter out bad candidates. Before scheduling the final interview, I send a personality assessment. This compares them with all my top talent. I send it last because it is very time consuming for them and pricey for us.

With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?

1. Glassdoor reviews: This is something that companies do not have much control over but need to be mindful of. I have Glassdoor being brought up constantly in my interviews with candidates.

2. Provide better benefits than the competition: In 2020, employees really care about benefits, actual benefits, not a ping pong table (haha). Employees not only appreciate the direct value of the benefits, but they also see it as a sign of an employer that cares. Showcase benefits on your Careers page to get talent. We survey competitors every year to make sure we stack up.

3. Connect with your target audience on LinkedIn: Although it is probably effective, we are not a fan of headhunting. We provide our client’s value through inbound leads, due to their higher close rate, and we take the same approach with hiring. One way of taking this approach, while also being proactive, is to connect with your talent on LinkedIn. When you need to hire, you can post your job openings on LinkedIn and get in front of your audience for free. By doing this you can get qualified candidates knocking on your door instead of you reaching out to them.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I think mental health is a big issue that we are dealing with in the United States, and we are seeing it affect people in the workplace. Something that we do at Directive, that I would love to see more companies investing in, is “care services” for mental health for employees. With companies providing this, I believe more individuals nationwide would manage their mental health proactively without fear of stigma.

Big fan of that answer. Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and how that was relevant to you in your life?

“It’s not what you do, but how you do it.”

My mentality as a young professional was that the results were the only thing that mattered. This thought process worked well when I was an individual contributor. As I moved into a leadership role, it limited my impact. When I realized that everything that I did in front of my team multiplies, it really made me slow down and aim to always do things the right way.

We are very blessed to have some of the biggest names in Business, VC, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?

Mark Cuban. I grew up watching Shark Tank. He is undoubtedly the baddest shark in the tank (in a good way.) I chose him because if I had five minutes to connect with him, I think he could probably identify at least one big gap/opportunity in my business that would excel our growth. Plus, we’re both in Texas.

Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!

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