How To Attract The Best People In The World

It’s hard to hire great people.

Millions of employers say that every time they need to hire someone new.

Recruiting the best people to work with is just like dating: All the best ones are taken!

The best employees are already working somewhere!

If you are in a committed relationship how hard would it be for me to get you to divorce your wife or husband? That’s freaking impossible unless you really hate them.

They are already locked down and treated insanely great by some employer.

After working at Facebook, Mint, and now AppSumo … I know that the best people output significantly more and can grow a business 100x more than a just-ok person.

So how do you hire the best people in the world?

You can post lazy Craigslist job postings, or you can make yourself appealing so the best people come to YOU.

So how do you make yourself sexy enough that the best people are attracted to you? Or in terms of relationships, how would you break up a happy marriage?

Let me show you 4 simple things you can do today:

1. Look for people you already like.

This solves the good interviewer / bad worker problem. You already know the work is good so you don’t have to hope that they didn’t fool you in the interview.

For hiring a customer service person: Go and complain to companies you like. See who gives you great service. Those that do, talk to them about potentially working for you.

For hiring a designer: Check out the work that really appeals do you on Dribbble.com and reach out to that person.

For hiring developers: Ever use some software you were really impressed with? That’s your person.

For hiring marketers: Ever seen a marketing campaign that blew you away? That’s your homie. Hit up the marketing person from that company on LinkedIn.

Look at the people you’ve worked with from other companies that you were always impressed with.

This is how I hired the CTO at AppSumo. Chad was a customer at my previous company and I always enjoyed working with him. So I reached out as I was planning to do AppSumo and ta-da, he’s now sitting next to me working.

Look at the communities of where great people hang out. See who is the most helpful or produces noteworthy content:

-For developers, check out Github or Hacker News.

-For marketers, check out Growth Hackers or Inbound.org. This is how I ended up working with Natedogg who’s a great young marketer!

-For designers, check out Designer News.

-For social media people, check out the comments or forums on relevant blogs.

-Look at who has great answers on Quora or LinkedIn.

Most of these people WON’T be available right away (remember the best are already taken).

So…

A) Start the relationship now. Reach out with a compliment and see if they are available.

“Hey {first-name},

Really love the {thing they created}.

Was curious if you are open for new job adventures or paid freelancing work?

Keep doing the great things you do!

— {your-name}”

B) Keep in touch with them every 6 months. I use followup.cc to remind me, add [email protected] in your BCC field.

C) Connect with them on LinkedIn.

D) Ask them for a referral, see #3 below.

I’m going through the hiring process now, and honestly it sucks. I should have reached out 12 months ago. Even if I wasn’t ready it would have started the relationship building with potentially great people. Why do you think I’m writing this email? I wanted to do something different while hiring vs. posting jobs on Craigslist.

Ultimately the best people are working and aren’t going to quit immediately so you have to plant seeds today.

2. Look for people that already like you.

The hardest part of hiring can be onboarding and getting someone who fits into your company culture. Find someone who already understands your company’s focus, your customers, and your product.

— Reach out to your current customers who already use your product.

— Your friends that you already have in your network. Facebook, LinkedIn, Meetup, Church, etc.

— Your mailing list or blog of people who consume your information. Check out MailMatch.io to find the jobs of your subscribers.

— Your Twitter followers, check out FollowerWonk.com/bio to search their bios.

3. Ask the best people you know for referrals.

My friend Patrick recently got a job at Google. Patrick is an insanely great engineer and the first thing they did was ask him for a referral. He recommended me, blush. Check out the email they sent.

Google is one of the greatest companies on Earth, copy what works for them.

Most great people aren’t available right away but maybe their friends are.

The KEY thing while asking someone for a referral is to make it specific.

BAD ask for referral:

“Hey friends,

Can you refer one person for our marketing role?”

Better ask for referral:

“Hey Jim,

Who’s the first person that comes to mind when I ask who’s the best developer you know?”

Best ask for referral:

“Hey Jim,

I saw you know Anton Sepetov on Linkedin. Love to chat with him. Think he’d have a great time working with us.

Can you forward the email below?

Hey Anton,

My good friend Noah came across you on LinkedIn and wanted to chat.

He’s a great guy and definitely someone you should have in your rolodex. (do people still have these?)

Anyways, I’ll let Noah follow up with more details.”

— —

See how they got progressively better?

The first was a huge ask with nothing specific.

The second was a bit easier for the person to process.

The last one made it a no brainer for the person to just hit forward on his email and you both get what you want. I did the work for Jim. I found the person I wanted, and I created the email to make it easy for him to forward.

Great people tend to associate with great people. Also, there’s a trusted implication when someone refers someone they have worked with already.

If a candidate rejects you or is unavailable, ask them who they know that’s the best in that position. This is essential!

Personally, I discourage offering money incentives to your employees for referrals. They should WANT the best people to work with them. And it’s lazy.

Fun and unique incentives for everyone else are highly encouraged.

For example, at AppSumo if you refer someone we hire we offer a first-class ticket to visit Austin to spend a day working on your business with me. Check out our openings here, Appsumo.com/hireme.

4. Make a sexy (Jobs and About) page.

Do the best people look at jobs pages? Think about that.

If you’re in a relationship, do you go on dates with other girls? Nope.

If you’re content with your job, you aren’t going to think of browsing jobs pages. But you may consider the about page of a company you like…

The best people are content in their jobs so you want to plant a seed of how much fun they will have and stay in touch for when they are ready.

Ask yourself this on your jobs page: How can you make a jobs page people WANT to share?

What’s your story about how much fun it is to be working at your company?

At AppSumo we built a custom bar in our office.

I saw this listing on Craigslist:

Would you want to go there to work? I wouldn’t!

If you don’t have a bar, that’s fine. Make it appealing to the people you want to appeal to. Sell why someone should be excited to show up to work on Monday.

Then the person can always think, dang well if this doesn’t work out I always have those fun guys at AppSumo available for me.

One of the best things I’ve learned during this recruiting process is to look at the recruiting process of the best companies. All of them have appealing jobs pages.

They sell a story. They make you realise your husband is not that hot. This guy has a whisky dispenser built into him!

Make your pages genuinely you.

Don’t try to be whacky if you’re not.

For example, as a law firm, you can say you work your asses off, get paid very little but do work that is the most meaningful thing you’ve ever done.

Tell the story of your company and the story of why this position is valuable to you. Even if you don’t have the resources of Google.

Add your faces on your page.

Add your attitude.

If you don’t have the job available now, let them join a mailing list FOR WHEN YOU DO.

AppSumo (my company) has been up to 20 people and as low as 1 employee (myself). The valuable lesson I’m learning now is that I should have had job openings for positions we were likely to hire for in the future. It would have made the experience now much easier.

Do you have the jobs you may need listed on your jobs page?

MailChimp smartly does this:

Bonus: Do retargeting for people who visit. Why? No one does this. If you do what everyone does for recruiting, you are fighting a fair fight.

Make it unfair.

— —

Hiring is fun but it’s a short term cost vs long term investment.

In the short term you can keep doing things yourself but there’s a local maxima you are going to reach in output.

Hiring is a long-term investment where you can leverage your time and others to grow more and get more things done.

The important thing is investing in your hiring process so you can work with world-class people.

Btw, if you are world-class, I want you to join us.

We are hiring at AppSumo as we help businesses grow with SumoMe.com.

We have openings:

Growth Marketing

Business Development Associate

Freelance Writing

Javascript Developer

Front-End Designer

Apply here: Appsumo.com/hireme

Hustle hard,

Noah Kagan

P.S. If you refer a person that joins us, I’ll buy you a first class ticket to spend a day with me in Austin. We can work on anything you want or just eat tacos and bike around. You’ll also stay at a 5-star hotel.

Noah Kagan is the Chief Sumo at AppSumo.com. Before that he was employee #30 at Facebook and #4 at Mint. He blogs at OkDork.com.

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