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Hiring Your First Employee As A Consulting Business With Art Snarzyk III: Podcast #139

What are the most common mistakes business owners are doing when selecting new employees? How do you match new hires to the right jobs? In this episode, Michael Zipursky has “The Turnover Terminator,” Art Snarzyk III, on the show. Art is the President of InnerView Advisors, Inc. and is also an employee and management specialist. With his expertise, he shares some tips on job matching, hiring your first employee, and the core areas involved in bringing in the right talent. He also tackles marketing, generating leads and opportunities, and finding new clients for your business. Learn from Art as he dives deeper on how he wins referrals and gets the best hires.

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Hiring Your First Employee As A Consulting Business With Art Snarzyk III

I’m here with Art Snarzyk. Art, welcome.

Thanks for having me, Michael.

You are an employee selection and management specialist. You’re also the President of Innerview Advisors, where you help small and mid-size businesses around the world to attract screen, hire and then develop high performing employees. You’ve given yourself the name of Chief Turnover Terminator. How did that name come about?

That was a funny name given to me from a client of mine. They called me the Turnover Terminator and a business magazine here in St. Louis picked up on that and said, “I heard I need to talk to you. You’re the Turnover Terminator.” They dialed me up on the cover of the magazine to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m not that intimidating, Michael. I’m going to ride that as far as it’ll go.

Tell us a little more about what you do and what your business is all about.

We do help with attraction, selection, managing ideal people. We’re not a stereotypical recruiting firm. We’re consultants. We want to train the people inside of a business how to be better at identifying who they need for their own culture, for their own office. Instead of being generic about it and saying that all financial advisors need this person or all consultants need an admin assistant like this, then we want to hone in on those traits and attributes and skills that are necessary for your own specific office and then set you up to make great hires and manage those people well.

If we go back some years ago, you were the co-owner of a painting company. Tell us about that. What did you learn in those early years when you’re running a painting company that helped you to build your expertise around hiring and reducing employee turnover?

A big business owner's mistake when it comes to employee selection is not enough clarity about what the job entails. Click To Tweet

I saw the same thing throughout all of my careers. I took an interesting path to get here as many people do. Before painting, I was in pharmaceuticals and then I started a painting company. I left corporate to start my own business with a friend of mine. In both of those, in the corporate world and in my own business, people have always been a challenge. It’s understanding who’s the right person for me. That person has a lot of skills and experience and background. They came and they worked here and they didn’t work out. What was the problem?

I got introduced to cool behavioral assessments and tools when I was in my painting company. As soon as I did, my mind was open. You can discover all kinds of things about people and make richer decisions, not only for hiring, but it helped me dealing with customers and sales. How do I deal with other types of people and how do I understand them more quickly? I fell in love with the science of that. I was encouraged to start my own business by the guy who introduced me to it. I was foolish enough to do it and here I am.

You hear this theme over and over again that hiring, maintaining for the long-term top employees or even working with good quality people that you can trust is a challenge for many people. Maybe share with us what are some of the biggest mistakes that you see business owners making when it comes to employee selection, engagement and job matching, all the core areas that are involved in finding and bringing on talent. Break down the big ones.

The biggest mistake that I see everybody make is not enough clarity about what the job entails and what kind of person. I like to think of the hiring is the who and the do. Because someone can do that work, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily who they need to be in order to do that work with you. I find that we hire based on what they have done in the past and what they can do. We fire people based on who they are. I flip that on its head a little bit. I want to know what are they going to do, but then what person is going to be perfect doing that role for you specifically or your company or department? Who fits best for you?

Without that clarity up front, we go and we post an ad that says admin assistant needed instead of saying, “I need a tenacious admin who’s going to push me and say, get off that phone call. You have another one in four seconds,” or I need that friendly one who’s going to warm up my clients before I talked to them. That clarity about what they’re going to do and who they need to be up front drives what ad you should write to attract those kinds of people. It drives what questions you should ask during the interview to make sure you caught the right fish and how you’re going to manage that person too.

When you talk about the attributes, the characteristics, the type of person that they are, how should someone start thinking about identifying what are those attributes or what are those characteristics? Where does someone even start to make the decision about what the right ones are that they should then put into the job description and think about in terms of developing questions?

That’s a tricky one. If audience member is familiar with a certain type of assessment tool that they like using, DISC is one of those foundational ones that I use. I like to use multiple assessments to measure not just their behavioral style but their skillsets and things. Think about, is this an introvert or an extrovert? Are they very talkative or warm? What skillset are they going to need? Do they have to be great with time management? Most businesses say yes whenever I’m helping to benchmark a certain position. I stay away from the generic ones like humble. I find that many salespeople wouldn’t self-identify as humble. That’s okay. It doesn’t make them wrong.

CSP 139 | Hiring Your First Employee

Watch when you put those kinds of words in your ads because you’re going to attract a certain person. Here’s something interesting. Empathy sounds like something we want in people working around us. When I put together a benchmark for positions in management or above, and a benchmark is what are the target for these traits, empathy is a very low score, four or under. We find that if they have too much empathy, they have a hard time laying off this department because, “Mary’s been here a long time. She’s got three kids.” It sounds good to you, I want you to make sure you let the job tell you what it needs, not what you think sounds good in a person that works in the area.

The clarity part is so important because we’ve experienced ourselves in our business and sometimes once you make the decision, “I want to hire for this position or bring on a contractor,” then it’s like, “Let’s go and find that person.” Sometimes with the excitement of now that you’ve made the decision, you go and try and find them, but you haven’t clearly defined who do you want, what are the characteristics and what are the traits. As you said, what kind of person are they not what they can do. That’s a great share there. I appreciate that, Art. Now that you know that and you’ve identified that those are important things to look at, how do you work that into a job description? What are maybe some of the biggest mistakes that you see people making when it comes to a job description? What are some of the things that people should definitely make sure that they do?

The only big mistake I see with the job description is sometimes it’s too much of a description. Instead of it be a job description saying you’re going to use QuickBooks to enter receipts and then push this button and do that, instead of describing the job in that way, I’d rather that they thought, what are the key accountabilities of the role? What are the key impact points? How do you impact the business with that behavior? We know you’re going to use QuickBooks and all that stuff, but the business doesn’t require us to hire somebody to run QuickBooks. The business needs good financial solid data every month. I don’t care which button you push in QuickBooks, but your key responsibility to the organization is to make sure that we have up-to-date, accurate reports for the shareholders on the 31st of every month. Instead of the description itself, hone in on why we’re doing that thing in the first place and why the business care if the business were a person.

Here’s something that I’ve learned and I’d love to get your perspective on it. When you’re looking for if it’s an administrative assistant or any role that requires detail, you want to make sure that people are able to follow instructions and be very focused on what you’re looking for is to embed specific very detailed requests into the job description. For example, if you say, “Please send this to Mike,” anyone that doesn’t respond and say, “Dear Mike,” they’re automatically gone. You put in there to say, “Respond and tell me about your favorite color or favorite place that you’ve traveled. When you respond to this specific question, do it in this font. Make sure that you do it within three lines.” It’s very specific questions that someone who’s trying to send out as many resumes as possible and isn’t paying close attention, they would miss those things. That would then help you to apply quickly or of qualification to essentially disqualify a lot of the applications that you might receive. What are your thoughts on things like that?

I do those so I’m biased toward it, but there are a few that I do. Make sure that you’re clear upfront because if you’re not clear about who you need and you try to make a networking sales person, a marketing person jump through those hoops, then you’re going to miss some good ones. Make those hoops specific detailed ones. Make sure you’re looking for getting an IT guy or whatever, a real analyst. There are still people out there who apply to everything and it’s frustrating. I always say, “Please apply. We’ll review any resume that comes with a cover letter or two sentences telling us what you liked about this job ad.”

What you said there about making sure that if you’re going to use that advice or approach that it needs to be for the right type of position. If you’re looking for a marketing person or maybe a sales person, then those kinds of specifics that might not fit the characteristics of a successful sales person as an example. That makes a lot of sense. Let’s not look at your business for a moment, Art. You’ve been running InnerView Advisors since 2012. What’s working best for you now when it comes to marketing, generating leads, opportunities and new clients for your business?

It’s the same thing. It’s always worked and nobody’s going to want to hear it, but it is word of mouth and networking. I knew going in with my painting business and even in corporate world that people get most of their business or a good chunk of it through these referrals. When I started this, I was advised. Other consultants tuning in will know that people don’t go to your website and then say, “I am hiring that consultant.” There has to be a connection. There has to be some other way in. When I started this, I spent a lot of time, money and effort learning how do I build those referrals on purpose and not wait by the phone and hope somebody refers me. It’s been a real strategy of mine. I take pride that I do that at a higher level.

You need to attract and hire better people, so you do not feel alone in building your business. Click To Tweet

Give us some insight into your approach to referrals. Most people and consultants when they think of referrals, they think of, “I’ll wait until someone contacts me. I’m going to focus on doing good work. Therefore, I should be able to receive new business opportunities and you reaching out to me.” It sounds like you have a much more intentional, much more proactive approach to referrals. What does it look like?

Michael, I help contractors attract, hire and develop ideal people so they don’t feel alone building their business. What I gave you was a formula that people can take away. I learned it from Virginia Muzquiz, The Referral Diva. She’s amazing. I spent a lot of money with her. It was worth it. You need to be able to first be unafraid to be this focused on your message. Secondly, you need to be able to tell pretty concisely who do you serve, what problem do you solve for those people and ow do you want them to feel when you’re finished? That feeling is sometimes traded out with an impact or what are you going to do for their business.

I know that people buy on emotion. I like the feeling. When I say I help contractors attract and hire better people so they don’t feel like they’re building their business alone, I hit all three of those points. You know exactly who to refer me to. What’s interesting is I’ve said that same message for the last several years and only 31% of my business are contractors because the attorneys that hear that, they say, “I’m not a contractor, but I need to attract and hire better people, so I don’t feel alone.” They’ll say, “I feel alone in my business, but could you help me?” It’s very interesting that it’s this breadth of business you get from being so specific.

That’s such a powerful message because a lot of people are scared to be specific for that exact reason. The fear of if I only say that I’m working with contractors, what about the rest of the world and all the other business owners that I can help. The example and what you’ve seen, your experience has been that even though you are very specific in your messaging, that still is bringing you opportunities beyond that market that you’re focusing on. You’re fine with that. If you only want to work with contractors, that might be different, but you’re able, open and wanting to work with others so it works out very well for you.

Listen the example comes from Virginia when she says, “Send me a picture anytime you see a red Cadillac CTS.” It’s so specific that when you see a black Cadillac CTS, you think of Virginia. You wonder, does she want that too? The first part of it is understanding how you’re going to market. Who sees contractors who are going to have that hiring problem and want to feel that way by going to work and not even trying? If I did this with my painting business, I would have made more friends with hairstylists. I know that people who are getting their houses painted are maybe middle-aged women who are financially secure and go to the stylist. I would be networking with hairstylists like crazy and make $1 million.

You share the messaging part of this, which is core to generating referrals. What about the actual activities, the actions? Are you reaching out to people on a regular basis? Do you have an approach to doing that? Walk us through on what your referral system is?

It’s you start to identify that. We know who I like to serve, but we also know who those golden geese are. I like to feed the geese. Making sure that I’m calling them routinely and saying, “What’s your biggest goal or challenge that you’re working on and how can I put my head around that?” Maybe it’s one of my client’s needs. Maybe they need a referral to another resource. I built a network of other people that I’ve been in touch with and connect with. The ones that I know where my golden geese, I’m going to have a communication plan with them.

CSP 139 | Hiring Your First Employee

Are these past clients or current clients or these are other people that might not even be clients but refer your business? Who are these people?

My best referral partners are going to be other coaches, consultants because they’re helping in strategy ways and I’m helping in human dynamics ways. Marketing people create the problem I solve if there are any good at it. Sometimes the CPAs and accountants, they’re a little slower to pass referrals. If you stay with them and nurture them, they can be a loud mouth for your business. People who solve other business problems that are not in the human dynamics, those are who I want to make friends with because they’re going to bump into people and hear the problem I solve from their clients or people on the street.

How did you even go about creating relationships with those people? What was your initial point of contact and initial message to them?

There are many ways you can do it. My style is more of a warm one. I did it through networking, through local events. I have joined a BNI Chapter, Business Networking International, when I was smaller in business. If I mentioned them, you might not know them, not being in my area, but other various business groups where we get together. You could have success with the Chamber of Commerce. Profile where you’re going. The Chamber of Commerce is more of like a community place. They may not be passing business. BNI, they’re passing business. Profile, “Where am I going to go, who’s going to be there and who can I meet when I’m there? How do I meet two of those people, coaches, marketers, CPAs when I’m there and set up a coffee outside of this so we can talk about each other’s business?”

The first point of contact is meeting them at an actual event, face-to-face. The next step is to meet for a coffee, again, face-to-face building the relationship. You mentioned that you are calling to check in seeing what’s going on and if you can add some value. You’re not looking to sell to them directly because they’re not necessarily going to buy what you have to offer, but they might know others. What’s the frequency of your touch points with them making those phone calls or saying those emails? How frequently are you doing that?

Like everybody, not as frequently as I should, but there’s a good book on this. It’s called The Seven Levels of Communication by Michael Maher. It was written by a realtor for other realtors, but has a nice communication plan and strategy like how do I grade my database of people and who are A players, B players and how often should I be in contact with them? If you read that book, I implemented four of his strategies my first year and took off along with a few other things. How often should you do it? If they’re big connectors and they’re passing you a lot of leads, then you should be in touch with them more often. If they’re more of a friendship relationship, maybe annually or every six months. You determine that frequency depending on how many people. The core of it though, Michael, is that people that know you and like you, they want to refer you. It’s your job to teach them how and to stay top of mind.

Messaging is core to generating referrals. Click To Tweet

How do you track all this? Are you using a certain CRM or tool to stay on top of who to follow up with and when?

No. I have a spreadsheet of my database of people, but it’s low tech. I’m embarrassed to share it. It’s a spreadsheet with this caliber group, but it works.

At the end of the day, that’s all that matters. If it works for you, then it’s good. You also speak though. How big is speaking in terms of your lead generation is when you say that’s also a pretty big part or how does it play into your marketing mix?

I did all of my business through speaking or referrals and networking. It’s those two things. Speaking allows me to connect with many people at once. I’m a good speaker. When you’re listening to a great one, you feel connected with that person. You feel like you know them already. You might go listen to another podcast about them. It’s a cool way to go into a group and talk to 30 people at one time instead of one-on-one coffees.

Let’s talk about a little bit more detail around this speaking. If you go back to when you first got started, how did you go about getting those speaking engagements?

You have to teach people. People want to refer you. Here’s a question that I’ll ask sometimes. I help with hiring and team development. I also give presentations to business groups. Sometimes I’ll ask this question, “Where’s the last time you heard of a good business presentation?” They’ll tell you about it and about the presentation. You’ll learn some things. This is a place I should either go check out for myself or maybe this person heard that I like to speak. They’re going to say, “I know that person that puts on speakers there. Can I introduce you?” That’s always a nice thing. It’s our responsibility to teach somebody else how to look out for us and to comb through their own database, where have you heard of a great business presentation.

CSP 139 | Hiring Your First Employee

That can start to create new or for you to identify where to maybe go and speak or maybe that person knows someone there and now that they know that you’re interested. It’s like if they don’t know what you want, it’s hard for them to help you to make it happen.

Prepare them. If you can do something like this, I’ll usually say during some of my one-to-one meetings, I’ll say, “If you hear that somebody is hiring or they’ve hired and they don’t want to screw it up, keep me in mind. I don’t have to punch a clock to take a call from one of your friends.” I planted in their head, “If you hear this thing, think of me.” That’s on us to do for people. If you hear that a group needs a speaker, keep me in mind.

Some people might be tuning in and going, “All these things that you’re talking about right now in terms of speaking, having coffees, conversations and going to networking, it all sounds like it takes so much time. How do you have the time to work in the business delivering and serving clients?” What percentage would you say of your overall time is spent on marketing and building the business as opposed to doing client delivery and work?

I saw that those curves cross a little bit in the earlier days when there’s more time and less money, you network more. I remember the days where it was 80%. I’d be out at some networking events or having 6 or 8 coffees a week. I was wired. Nowadays, I might have three coffees in a week. There’s always a lunchtime. I have it with someone else if you can and then making a few calls. I bet in the earlier days we’re probably looking at 70% or 80%. Nowadays, it’s probably 30 to maybe even as low as fifteen some weeks. I started feeling bad because I know what’s going to happen to my business in a month or two from now.

Talk about that for a moment because it’s so true. What you do now is not going to create what you see tomorrow. It’s going to create what you see in 3 or 6 months down the road. What’s your experience been with that?

It’s miserable in pharmaceuticals because I had held the sales position. I oversaw this inventory of hospitals and pharmacies across the country. The guy I reported to, I brought some numbers to our meeting one week and I remember he said, “Based on these numbers, you should probably close your division in about seven weeks.” That stuck with me. I wanted to jump across the table at the time, but he knew that based on these numbers that does affect what’s going to happen. I started feeling antsy. It’s nice that we’re getting those paychecks and we have all that volume of work that we have to put out. If you don’t put some time blocks specific blocking in your calendar to say, “These are the times I’m going to do some employee development. These are the times I’m going to do some networking.” It’ll fall off the radar and you’ll get too busy doing stuff.

Emotional intelligence is a game-changer in the hiring process. Click To Tweet

The analogy I always like to use when coaching clients is you’re planting seeds. When you plant seeds whether it’s for a vegetable or a flower, you don’t get the end result. You don’t get the flower or the carrots the next day or even the next week. It can take a month or 2 or 3 months depending on what you’re planting. The more that you plant now and the more consistently that you plant, the more that you water and make sure that has sunshine, everything that it needs, then you’re going to get the result that you want. Your crop might not be 100% full and different things happen. The environment changes. It would be much better off if you’re planting the seeds and consistently doing so rather than hoping that what you have is going to carry you on for a long time to come.

What you said about the watering and pulling the weeds, that’s the part nobody likes doing. Go into the networking event, it’s not always fun depending on which style of person you are. That’s my style. Whether you’re doing this in person like I do or you’re doing it digitally or through LinkedIn connections, I don’t think it matters much. If you go plant a seed and then you leave it there; the seed rots. It’s like, “I remember that person. They stunk. They only came around when they needed something.” If you don’t stay in touch, it’s never going to bloom.

Let’s talk about assessments for a little bit here. Take the consultant that maybe has one or two people on their team, they want to grow their business. They don’t yet feel that they’re at a place where they can go in and hire a firm to help them like walk them through all of that process. What would you say to that person? Is there one specific assessment, tool, framework or approach that they should be focused on or use that could help them to identify the right hire, the right person to bring onto the team?

CSP 139 | Hiring Your First Employee

I have a hard time with that, Michael, because I’m a skeptic of all this stuff so I studied it hard. I found that TTI, Target Training International has done a fantastic job of taking a few different assessments and blending them together. We’re talking about DISC, which is how do people prefer to behave and then their motivators. Why do they act that way? What are they trying to accomplish? Are they going to love this business here? They take soft skills like time management, personal accountability and emotional intelligence. We’ll soon be able to use that in hiring. We’re starting to demonstrate that EQ isn’t developed over time and age like we once thought it was. The data is starting to show that. If I could pick any of them, emotional intelligence is the game changer in all of us. Are you aware of who you are and what you’re doing to other people? There’s much to people that I don’t think there’s enough in one assessment to get the full picture of how complex, rich and unique people are.

I appreciate you coming on here. I want to make sure that people can learn more about you and your work and everything else you have going on. Where’s the best place for them to go?

It’s the website, InnerviewAdvisors.com. You can also call anytime, (314) 282-9632. I don’t have to punch a clock to take a call or answer an email.

Art, thanks again for coming on.

Thanks so much for having me, Michael.

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About Art Snarzyk

CSP 139 | Hiring Your First EmployeeIn management and and hiring since 1996, Art spent years in corporate America and another 9 as the owner of a successful painting company. He knows first-hand the hassle, expense, and headache of trying to hire quality employees.

Let him introduce you to a scientifically tested and proven way to attract, hire and retain the best people for your company.  You’ll no longer need to rely on intuition, skewed references, and subjective work history to make your hiring decisions.  The best are out there and you deserve them!

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