The #1 Recruiting Strategy

Below is an excerpt of "How to Hire: The Essential Guide to Recruit & Retain the Right People" by Clint Smith, Founder and CEO of CareerPlug. He wrote the book to give owners and operators a playbook to achieve hiring success. How to Hire covers everything you need to hire the right people, including:

  • Clarifying mission/vision/values
  • Understanding who you need
  • Attracting high-quality candidates
  • Running an effective hiring process
  • Building a winning culture
Recruiting is hard. It’s expensive and a huge distraction. And a lot of it doesn’t even need to happen.

The #1 recruiting strategy is retention.

Hire the right people and do everything you can to keep them. When you retain your employees, you can focus on growing your business. Every time you have to replace a team member, it’s an

opportunity to upgrade. But it’s also a step backward.

The cost of turnover is high—thousands of dollars even for your most entry-level employee. And that does not factor in the opportunity costs: how much could you have grown if you kept your team together?


If you want to hire and retain the best employees, then you cannot just give them a job. You need to help them build a career. Many believe that this isn’t possible for people who work hourly shifts, as many of our clients’ employees do. But these are the people on the frontline for you. They are the ones that serve your customers and keep them coming back for more. They deserve an opportunity to build a career. And if you don’t offer it to them, the best will leave and look for someone who will.

If you want to hire and retain the best employees, then you cannot just give them a job. You need to help them build a career.

This doesn’t mean that you need to pay everyone a salary, or even increase their hourly pay and improve benefits—although those things will help, and they will be more affordable if you can increase your profits with a high-performing team.

A career is about more than money. It’s about feeling like you are a part of something special—knowing that the work you put in each week is making a difference in people’s lives. It’s about growth and achievement both professionally and personally. It’s about being part of a winning culture and being recognized for your contributions.

This is how to develop employees for life—people who will always be loyal to you, even if they move on at some point in their career. If you show someone that you care about them and help them get what they want, they will never forget it. This is the best way to lead an organization. And it is the most profitable way. Your “career employees” will wow your customers and stay with you for the long run. And most of the hiring you will have to do will be to grow—not replace—your team.

Retention doesn’t start on day one—it’s actually earlier than that. During the hiring process, you set expectations for what it would be like to work for you and your company. Now your new employees are paying close attention to see if you meet these expectations.

Your goal should be to exceed them.