Create an environment for employees to be challenged and learn new things across job functions. This learning is invaluable to their future development.
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 Todd Bavol.
Todd Bavol is the co-founder, president, and CEO of Integrity Staffing Solutions, and has guided the firm for 24 years. Bavol guides Integrity’s efforts to positively impact its internal staff and field teams’ lives through award-winning initiatives like Project Home, which assists in cases of homelessness, and the launch of Next Step U, a free program for Integrity associates to learn new skills that further their career advancement.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! First, please tell us what brought you to this specific career path?
My career trajectory was not typical. Soon after graduating from college, I moved to Philadelphia for a job opportunity. After a short time, it was clear that the job was not the right fit for me.
I did the one thing I recommended no one ever do, which was leaving a job without another opportunity already in place. There I was living in the city, with bills to pay and “adulting,” as folks say now, so I took a position as a temporary employee. After a short time, the temporary firm hired me as an entry-level recruiter. I quickly realized it was the industry for me.
I worked in the industry for about nine years before taking the leap and starting Integrity. I found that I enjoyed the connections I made with both business leaders and employees. I was also able to impact the lives of others positively.
Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career and what lesson you learned from that?
When we first started the business, I was heavily involved in sales. At the end of one very long day of cold calling, I was ready to head back to the office. I was passing by a mobile trailer on a large, open property under development with a banner and the name Amazon.
I had never heard of Amazon, and it was just a trailer, so I almost didn’t stop. Thank goodness I had good training and knew better than to end the day without a positive result, so I stopped by to learn more about them. I knocked on the trailer door and met with the team. I learned of their unique vision for how they would change the way the world shopped on the internet for books (and now so much more), and the rest is history.
We’ve had the great pleasure of working as a staffing partner with Amazon since 1998. For me, it was a great reminder to never judge a book by its cover.
Wonderful. Now let’s jump into the main focus of our series. 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?
- We get to know each candidate as a person first. What motivates them? What are they passionate about? Does it align with the role?
- We listen for what makes them unique. Diversity is what makes companies stronger. We want people who can add something special to our organization. Having every person be a carbon copy of the next is not our idea of a strong team.
- We have them share problems/challenges they have solved and provide details about the results. You want people who will elevate every role.
- We challenge applicants to see how they handle opposing viewpoints. Someone who isn’t open to other perspectives may not be good in a team environment.
- We solicit their questions and concerns about the company/role. If they have none, we question their interest and fit.
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?
- Be visible as a subject matter expert.
- Be a brand that people admire, and be involved in the communities that you serve. Ensure that you are articulating your mission, vision, and values in a way that prospective employees can connect to.
- For top leadership: Engage with them first — well before you have an opening. Let them know that you notice them as leaders in their field. When the time comes, they will reach out to you first.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Internet for everyone. It’s mind-boggling to me that everyone does not have the same access to the internet. Barriers of cost (good internet access is expensive) and location (drive through Middle America, and you will see the challenges of access to decent internet) create an uneven playing field that I think is not widely noticed.
The world is so digital and will only become more so. While this shift is exciting and wonderful, it will also create more significant divides in access to opportunity.
We are very blessed to have some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?
The Dalai Lama. To me, he epitomizes love and kindness.
Thank you for sharing your story and so many valuable insights with us today!