Recruit Like a Country Singer

I recently discovered that I really love country music – kind of a surprise to me, but there it is. What I have also discovered is that there are some great recruiting and retention lessons in the genre of country music.

Country lyrics – more than any other – tend to be honest, sincere, and just plain real. If country singers love whiskey and Applebees, they want you to know it. If a song is about someone they love, well, they just say it. Interestingly, those are qualities that are needed now more than ever in the recruiting and retention of valuable employees.

In recruiting, it is easy to tell candidates what you believe they want to hear, but honesty and candor are what allow you to land a candidate who is really the right fit. You invest a lot of money and time in training and mentoring employees. An employee who feels that they were duped from the outset simply will not be happy or stay. If your position is “9 to 5”, then say that, but if “weekends look a little different these days”, hire someone who is on board and excited about that. It will be worth the wait in the long run.

In retention, if an employee is great, tell them ……often. Money and bonuses are flying around wildly right now, but sometimes we forget how important the words can be to a hardworking associate.

In the end, by being honest, sincere and real, you may lose some strong candidates – who simply don’t like the honest story of the position with your firm or company. You may also lose some current employees who are great, and you tell them how much you appreciate them in plain terms as often as possible. It happens. But, you will have done the right thing by being honest and sincere in recruiting – and effusive in praise for retention.

I believe that most of the time, the country song approach will work in your favor. When it doesn’t, however, do NOT “take a Louisville Slugger to both headlights and slash a hole in all four tires” as suggested by Carrie Underwood. Tempting? Absolutely. A felony? Yep :).

Amy McCormack
Founder and Co-President