Welcome to the Parker Web Partner Show, where we provide creative solutions for creative agencies.
This week, the topic of the show is about attracting the right employees to your company. Post-Covid, people are looking for more than just a paycheck. You now have to recruit employees with the same focus as you do with attracting new customers.
00:00 – Introductions and overview.
01:08 – Developers Desk: Why your contact form may be the most important thing on your website.
05:23 – The Corner Office: What is the difference between an employee and a contractor, when should you deal with one or the other, and what laws are you breaking if you treat a contractor like an employee?
15:16 – Roundtable: Michael Cinquino, from SoHo Creative Studio, joins us this week to talk about companies needing a strong employee value proposition. What attracts potential employees to your company, and what repels them? We also share our favorite digital tools and applications.
40:08 – Wrap Up: Reviewing everything we covered today.
If you run any type of creative agency (ad agencies, digital marketing agencies, social media agencies, etc.) we would love to hear from you. What are some of the challenges you see in your world?
Links mentioned in the show:
- Google reCAPTCHA v3 – https://www.google.com/recaptcha/intro/v3.html?ref=techmoon
- How the IRS Determines Independent Contractor Status – https://www.thebalancemoney.com/how-the-irs-determines-independent-contractor-status-398618
- The Employer Toolkit – https://www.sohocreativestudio.com/employer-toolkit
- NH Union Leader Article “Hiring is the New Marketing” – https://www.unionleader.com/news/business/ask_the_expert/ask-the-expert-hiring-is-the-new-marketing/article_3e31d087-c99e-5de0-a8da-1981f41ee204.html
- Sharp Careers – https://business.sharpusa.com/Careers
- Jotform – https://www.jotform.com/
- Jotform Smart PDF – https://www.jotform.com/products/smart-pdf-forms/
- Canva – https://www.canva.com/
- Vidyard – https://www.vidyard.com/
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Welcome to the Parker Web Partner Show where we find creative solutions for creative agencies.
Darryl Parker 00:03
I am Darryl Parker, and welcome to another episode of the Parker Web Partner Show. This week, we’re going to be talking about how to attract the right employees. And I’m going to be talking about employees versus contractors in my segment, and we’re going to have Michel Cinquino here from SoHo Creative, and he’s going to be talking about the employee value proposition and the employer branding opportunities that are available to you. But before we get to that, let’s everybody introduce yourselves.
Merrill Loechner 00:11
I am Merrill Loechner, founder of Smith Douglass Associates, a creative agency based in New York.
Caleb Parsons 00:50
Hi, I’m Caleb Parsons. I’m a developer at Parker Web.
Darryl Parker 00:55
Thank you both for being here. And we’re gonna jump right into the Developers’ Desk with Caleb, and Caleb is going to talk a little bit about something that he’s seen coming up in the ticket system this month. What’s going on Caleb?
Caleb Parsons 01:14
Recently, we’ve had multiple clients talk about contact forms. This is the most important part of a website, typically. You want as much engagement as possible, so we’ve got clients tweaking fields, just to make sure that they’re interacting as much as possible. Or maybe they’re adding another contact form on their website to enable the online functionality of something like scheduling an appointment. Or we’ve also got clients that are looking to continue to reduce spam by making CAPTCHA more aggressive, for example.
Darryl Parker 02:01
But not too aggressive, right?
Caleb Parsons 02:03
Well, yes, not too aggressive.
Darryl Parker 02:07
What kind of CAPTCHA do we use?
Caleb Parsons 02:11
We often will use Google reCAPTCHA version 3. It is invisible; there is no extra box that pops up that makes you click all the motorcycles and you’re never quite sure whether that’s a motorcycle at the edge of that image. Nothing like that; it’s totally invisible. And it allows also allows you to change how, by looking at the data that’s coming in, you can make adjustments and make it more aggressive or less aggressive, depending on how much span you’re getting in, and things like that.
Darryl Parker 02:53
So what are some examples of forms, what are some of the questions that our clients are asking inside of the forms? So is it like a job application? Or contact forms? Like, what are some of the examples of forms that you’re seeing?
Caleb Parsons 03:07
One example would be, we had a client recently looking to sort of make a better online form to capture potential new clients looking to schedule an appointment with their various clinical practitioners. So not only would they say what dates and times work best for them, but then after that, they would go in a little bit about their health backgrounds and things like that. And they wanted a form that could capture all of that. We used Jotform to create a form and capture all that information and then send it to the client so they could have everything and print it out easily.
Darryl Parker 04:03
And that’s HIPAA compliant?
Caleb Parsons 04:07
Yes, yes. JotForm does have the ability to be HIPAA compliant.
Darryl Parker 04:11
Right. So that is something that’s available in the marketplace. That’s great. Merrill, do you have any examples of web forms that you see out there?
Merrill Loechner 04:20
I really only pay attention to the bad ones. We were joking about those ATS systems that say: Here, upload your resume, and now copy and paste everything that you’ve just posted into these boxes so that our HR people…it’s like, NO!
Darryl Parker 04:36
Yeah, so bad forms can be a detriment, right? So we want to be sure that we’re reviewing forms. And one of the things that I’ve seen over the 25-plus years that I’ve been doing this is that forms have changed. It used to be that you would put a form in your site, and it was native to the site. And now it’s very often that it’s coming from a third party service like WordPress or JotForm or something like that, because those forms represent database vulnerabilities if they’re native to the site. So that’s another thing you want to look at, too. If you’ve got a form running on your site that is from 15 years ago, it is probably a security hole in your site. And so we often look at that too, and say, well, is that the most secure thing? Well, that’s awesome, Caleb; I appreciate you letting us know about that. So this week I want to talk about employees versus contractors and some of my experience with that in this week’s Corner Office. At one point in my life, I had hundreds of contractors working for me when I was in Florida, and we were one of the larger cable modem installers in the country. This is while I was in partnership with a company down in Tampa, and working with them as 1099 contractors, one of the things that we ran into was the fact that they probably weren’t 1099 contractors; they actually should have been employees. And so I learned a lot of valuable lessons back in 1999/2000, when those things happened. And I’ve applied those to my business as I’ve grown Parker Web through the years. I started like every other digital agency has started where it was me and then I brought in a friend or someone that I knew, and they came in as a 1099 contractor. And it came down to taxes and costs and things like that. But I did make a transition in 2012/2013, where I started working with contractors and bringing them on as W-2 employees, and starting to build a base of W-2 employees as part of my staffing model. And it’s made all the difference. So I think it’s important that as you’re looking at your business, you have to kind of assess and say: What is the type of culture that I want to create in my company? And we’re going to talk more about this later, I’m sure, with Michael. And it’s important to think about: What kind of culture do you have when you just have a company of contractors?
Merrill Loechner 07:16
Absolutely, because contractors are there for the money. You have a specific job; you’re going to pay them a specific amount to do that specific job. And too many companies view their employees that way. I’m going to hire someone, I need this job done, I’m going to hire someone to do that job. Where culturally it’s two different things. To have the right employees, you’re bringing on partners; you’re bringing on someone who, yes, needs to get this job done, but has the ability to grow and expand that job and make it better and make it different, maybe move on to it and let that job go to someone else. So you are hiring someone to help you grow the company, as opposed to: Do this one thing. As a solopreneur. I have a series of VAs; I need this one thing done, they do this one thing, that’s fine. When I get to the point where I’m looking for someone to actively help me grow the company. That’s when I’m going to look for an employee and not just someone I got off of Fiverr.
Darryl Parker 08:25
Right, exactly. And I think that’s the point. To me, that was the transition point. When I started getting enough customers, where it was like: Can I really be asking my contractors to provide a layer of customer service to my customers? And technically, I don’t think I can and I remember reading about the Microsoft lawsuit and the resulting 20-factor test–and we’ll put a link to that in the show notes–that says: Is this person an employee, or are they a contractor? And when you get into those kinds of intangibles of: Can they answer the phones? Can they actually provide a level of customer service? You can hire contractors for that in a very limited scope. But in a business environment like what I had, where we were kind of just doing all the pieces, they were technically employees. And so it made sense very quickly after I realized that to bring them on as employees to help in the building of the company, but to also provide a higher level of customer service and a higher level of quality.
Merrill Loechner 09:25
Because employees have skin in the game. Your contractor does not. It’s like you’ve hired me to do a job, I will do the job, I will take the money I will go on to the next job.
Darryl Parker 09:34
Merrill Loechner 09:34
So they’re not thinking: Oh, I’d better do the best customer service for this because I really want to impress… No, they’re there to do a job. It’s kind of like calling the plumber; the plumber is going to do the best job they can. But then he’s not going to wander around going: You know, I could also paint that house and hey, let me fix those curtains for you. You hired him to be a plumber. They came to be a plumber. You paid a plumber and they left.
Darryl Parker 10:00
Some people think, well, you either have to be all employees or you’re all contractors, like there can’t be some kind of happy medium. And for us, we’ve developed a happy medium. So for our company, we have a base of W-2 employees, myself included. But we also have some of what I would call skills experts or subject matter experts. So, someone who is an advanced PHP developer, or an advanced Ruby developer, where we might be doing some things that we only do, let’s say, we only do it like 10 hours a month, or 15 hours a month. I’m not going to staff a position for that. But I can have someone who’s willing to be a 1099 contractor that I can throw them a project and say: Hey, can you knock this out? Now, what’s the difference? The difference is that I’m only using them on a limited basis, they probably have lots of other customers, and they are not really acting in that customer service role other than doing the work itself.
Merrill Loechner 10:56
Exactly. And again, it’s the whole skin in the game. Because if you are an employer, and you’re like, well, that’s what my employees do. They come in, they do the work, I pay them and they leave. Maybe you’d be better off with contractors. But then again, if you’re treating your contractors like employees, Uber is getting sued, because you are treating your contractors like employees. You have to start paying them, giving them benefits, they can’t be 1099, but they have to be W-2 . And that’s going to completely screw up Uber’s entire way of doing business. And so of course, they’re fighting like hell for it. But it’s best not to piss off the federal government in advance. So it’s definitely take a look to see: Do you need an employee to do that? Do you need a contractor to do that?
Darryl Parker 11:51
Very important to kind of understand that difference and see where they fit. And again, I think that you can have both and I think it’s actually a sign of a healthy company, especially in the creative space in this kind of web hosting space where you do have both because it allows you the ability to burst and take on things that are important to your customer base so that you can help retain your customers in a better way. They don’t have to go looking for a resource, you might have that resource available. So I try to keep a portfolio of contractors on specialty technologies that we may just not deal with a lot.
Merrill Loechner 12:28
Oh, absolutely. I’m a solopreneur. I’d like to think I know everything but I don’t. So if I have a client come to me and say: Can you? I either have a choice I can say: Yes, I can. And then spend the weekend frantically learning how to do that. I can say: No, I’m sorry, I can’t. Or I can say: I have someone who can help.
Darryl Parker 12:49
Merrill Loechner 12:50
And I’ve done it the wrong way several times because I hate not knowing things. I was looking for a particular kind of CRM I couldn’t find. I, in a moment of blind stupidity, I’m going to learn Access and learn how to program my own CRM and build it from scratch. And after playing around for a weekend, I’m like: What am I doing? This is the stupidest thing ever. I need to find someone who can do this in 10 minutes that will take me 10 months to try to figure it out on my own.
Darryl Parker 13:19
Right, absolutely. The other thing, and I’ll just bring this up completely from selfish measures, is that sometimes it’s better to work with a company, contract out to a company, instead of contracting out to an individual, or in addition to contracting out to an individual. One of the things that Parker Web offers is this kind of consistency of presence, because we worry about the staffing for your agency’s needs. So we think about what what your agency might need in terms of skills. And typically, we already have that or we wouldn’t be working together. But we worry about that staffing. So it’s our company that’s got the perpetuity versus a single individual. So that’s just another kind of technique and how you can use contractors. There are some good best practices, and maybe we’ll get into it in another show and how to work with contractors. The biggest thing is pay well and pay quick.
Merrill Loechner 14:16
Darryl Parker 14:17
If you want to keep contractors, and you want to keep them doing a good job for you and be available when you call them. You don’t dicker over price and don’t be delayed on payment.
Merrill Loechner 14:27
Yeah, none of this Net 30, Net 60 stuff when I use a contractor. I use a lot of voiceover actors for various and sundry events for my thing. They send me a bill, they get paid within five minutes. My voiceover actors love working with me because there’s no multi-level, okay, well, it’s Net 30, Net 60. It’s Net 60 Seconds. You send me your link, you get Venmo, you get PayPal, you get Zelle, you get paid immediately.
Darryl Parker 14:54
And that goes right to your reputation as a contract lead, as someone who’s kind of like: Hey, I’m hiring contractors. They talk, people talk, you start to get a reputation, you start to have, you want to be aware of your contractor culture just as much as you’re aware of your employment and employee culture. And that’s going to lead us right into the next segment with Michael Cinquino. All right, well, we’ve come to the Roundtable segment of our show. And we’d like to introduce you to Michael Cinquino. Mike, could you introduce yourself to our folks?
Michael Cinquino 15:28
Absolutely. My name is Michael Cinquino. I’m one of the cofounders of SoHo Creative Studio. We’re an…I was going to say an employer branding agency. We’re actually just a branding agency based in Portsmouth. We have two segments of clients: One segment is interested in attracting more of their ideal client customer. And a lot more lately, the second segment is attracting your ideal hire or a team member.
Darryl Parker 15:52
Well, and I was reading an article that you put together with the New Hampshire Tech Alliance recently that came out in the Union Leader, I believe?
Michael Cinquino 16:00
Union Leader, yeah.
Darryl Parker 16:01
And you got into “Hiring is the New Marketing.” Tell us about that. What are the problems that businesses are facing?
Michael Cinquino 16:09
Yeah, I steal that very good tagline from a project we’ve done over the last six months. Last year, the Seacoast Economic Development stakeholders reached out to SoHo Creative Studio to help solve the problem of hiring in the Seacoast, really kind of beyond, actually. And the question was: What can small businesses do to better attract, retain, and develop talent? In December of last year, we didn’t know. So that began six months of research and interviews with local business owners, with industry experts, we interviewed some UNH students and surveyed UNH students, with the sole question being: What can business owners do to better attract, retain, and develop talent. And we have created a toolkit on this. So if you do go to sohocreativestudio.com, there is six months of research on employer branding and what you can do. It’s free, it’s there, and a lot of these things are actually free that business owners can do. But it really drove to what you just said, Darryl, that hiring is the new marketing, meaning you have to market as aggressively to potential employees as you would a potential client. This, believe it or not, is a very, very new way of thinking for a lot of business owners, not because they’re not trying to think about it. But just because as business owners, we have 732 things to do a day. And adding something like marketing to new hires can be challenging.
Darryl Parker 17:37
I know we ran into like, a couple of years ago, we looked at our website and realized that, basically, our careers link went to an email address. “Submit your resume here.” And we spent some time kind of thinking about the employment process on our website. And now we have a nice landing page, we try to talk a little bit about our company. And then we have a multi-step kind of process that you can enter into if you’d like to apply with us. Is that kind of what you’re talking about?
Michael Cinquino 18:09
That’s exactly it, man. And the question you just have to ask is: What is the experience like when someone applies to your company? Do they send an email and then hear nothing? Do they just come to a page and it’s a form? So really, this part of what we do at SoHo Creative. You want to curate an experience so good that the person you didn’t give a job to is going to recommend you to somebody else; that’s really the goal.
Merrill Loechner 18:37
And it’s so, so important to do that now. One of my clients is a law firm, and they were planning to do some hiring. And they sent me their job listing, I’m like: You can’t send this out. It’s a list of “you gottas.” It’s like: If you’re going to work for our wonderful law firm, you gotta you gotta you gotta you gotta. And it’s like: I don’t got to do anything. Why the hell would I want to work for you? What is the benefit of working for this law firm? Why am I going to spend time, effort, energy? I have skills, I have talent, I have experience, I have time. Are you worth me even talking to? And so we had to completely switch over their entire HR side of their website: This is who we are. This is what we believe. This is why people love working here. Do you think you would be a good fit? We’d love to hear from you.
Michael Cinquino 19:35
Darryl Parker 19:36
I think you have a name for that, right? Don’t you call that the Employee Value Proposition?
Michael Cinquino 19:41
Darryl Parker 19:42
Tell us about that theory.
Michael Cinquino 19:44
Yeah, you know, Merrill broke it down so well. Really it’s what you have to offer. And it’s a singular question. I like to keep things very simple because this could be all…marketing can go all over the place. But really, the question you want to answer is: Who are we? And Merrill broke it down so well: What do we value? What’s it like to work here? What’s the culture like? What do we like? What do we dislike? And I think part of it, you have to put yourself out there in a way that’s going to repel people. All right? I had an acting teacher. She said that what her acting teacher said to her was: You’re never going to be a movie star. And she said: Why? He said: Well, if you’re going to be a star, you have to be good with 50% of the world hating your guts, and the other 50% absolutely loving you. And you’re not good with 50% of the world hating your guts. So I think there’s an element that gets overlooked here. And it doesn’t mean you’re saying stuff to upset people. But you want to repel a certain candidate. Because if you’re not willing to do that, you never get to attract the ideal candidate. People want to know. Our newest hire Madeline Bercow, she’s right at UNH. She says her generation, they’re value seekers. So they’re looking for value, both in what are your values and what is the value? So you want to answer the question: Who are we? It’s a tough question for anybody to answer really, but I’d say you can start with what are your values as a company? What’s your mission? Why did you get started in business? Why do you continue to do business? Why are you excited about your business? And then putting those things out there so potential candidates can attach them and go: Oh yeah, I’m really into that. I’m also into that. Oh, interesting. Maybe there’s some alignment here. And getting someone excited about working for you beyond the standard “this is how much you’re gonna make, you gotta stand four hours a day.” You know, the “you gottas.”
Merrill Loechner 21:31
Yeah, well, that is so important. And also it’s, what is it like to work there? And it’s talking about the culture. I saw on LinkedIn, someone was posting a job opening. And it was one of the flat-out best job openings I’d ever seen. It was from the COO of the company saying: We have this job opening, and this is where I started with this company. And I was surrounded by people who wanted to see me succeed. And they helped me grow at every point in every position, and I am now COO of the company. If you want to be a part of a company that is part of a team, that you will be surrounded by people who want to see you succeed, here’s the link. It didn’t even say what type of job or what they were looking for, or whatnot. It was like: Here is the culture, do you want to be part of this culture? We’ll make you fit. And wow, is that powerful!
Michael Cinquino 22:24
Yeah, that’s really powerful. And for entry level, it’s easiest, because you’re not looking for highly, highly skilled positions, people that might have been in an industry 15 years or something like that. You’re looking for people that are right out of school or new, that are going to be acquiring their skills on the job. So why not really lean in heavy with what you were saying, Merrill? I actually just, as you were speaking, I pulled up a website: Sharp USA. Now Sharp’s an $8 billion company. They have really good employer branding. Is it possible to pull that up now? Can we do a screen share?
Merrill Loechner 22:53
Yep, you can click on Share down at the bottom.
Michael Cinquino 22:56
OK, I’m going to click Share, Share Screen. Sharp, here we go. So this is their…so let me just go back to their landing page, actually. So their landing page, all at the top of the fold, this is an $8 billion company, 111 years, world’s most acclaimed company, and right here, right at the top three tabs here, boom, “Explore Opportunities.” What you’re going to see here, and we won’t run it now, but people can check it out, is a video of their employees talking about why they like to work at Sharp. And they’re doing it very honestly, very authentically. And this is one of the things that is a secret weapon for employers, if you can get your employees to get on camera and just say: Hey, I like working here because XYZ. Oh my God, you’re here over anybody that’s not doing that. And ideally, if you’re running a company well from an employer branding perspective, your employees are going to be on social media talking about the company without you having to ask. So for our viewers, if you go to sharpusa.com and just click on that link, watch this video. And I’ll say one more thing about it: Sharp has all the money in the world. It was not a Marvel Universe produced video. It was a very simple, decent sound, decent image quality video that was not that costly to make. So I would say that’s something to really consider if you do have a few employees that are willing to get on camera. That’s a definite differentiator.
Darryl Parker 24:22
Do you feel like video is your favorite tool to kind of get that value proposition across?
Michael Cinquino 24:27
Yeah, can I tell a one-minute story?
Darryl Parker 24:29
Michael Cinquino 24:30
Okay. So when I do seminars, and now I’m having to change the film, because I’ve realized that I’ve gotten a little bit older, but usually I go into a seminar when I’m teaching and I say: Raise your hand if you’ve seen “The Godfather.” Everybody of course usually raises their hand. I say: Okay, keep your hand up if you know who Marlon Brando is, and everybody keeps their hand up. Then I say: Okay, keep your hand up if you can tell me who Gordon Willis is. The room goes silent and all the hands go down. Gordon Willis is the cinematographer for “The Godfather.” He’s one of the most renowned cinematographers in the history of movies. He is as important as Marlon Brando or anybody on the set, but nobody knows who he is. Why? Because he’s behind the camera. So he doesn’t get that notoriety; he doesn’t get that connection. And to your point about video, if you want to connect and give people something to connect to, you’re going to have to step out in front of the camera. And you have to give people something to connect to. Just the founder of a company getting on for 30 seconds to a minute saying: I started this company because I really love X. And I continue to love X. I keep this company running because of Y. Done! That’s something to connect to. And so few businesses do this. And I understand why. Because this thing right here can be very scary.
Merrill Loechner 25:42
Think “Undercover Boss.” All these companies have a CEO that nobody knows what he looks like.
Darryl Parker 25:50
Isn’t that crazy? You don’t even know the CEO. I think it’d be super obvious, Caleb, if I walked in and was just like: This guy is the CEO. You know, I’m a giant. But they come into these shows, and they have no idea, the employees have no idea that this is the CEO of the company. Right? Is that even possible in today’s business environment?
Michael Cinquino 26:12
I mean, I don’t know, actually. It would be tough now, because a lot of CEOs or most CEOs have some sort of presence somewhere or at least on LinkedIn, or something like that. But I guess the point is, us human beings do really weird things in the name of connection. I can’t tell you how many times a job candidate has said to me: You know what? I love my job. The pay isn’t as I could get paid better elsewhere. I can maybe have a better job description somewhere else, but I love the people I work with, and I’m not going anywhere.
Merrill Loechner 26:42
And that is so powerful. I was part of a startup, and I remember driving to work in the early days thinking: You know, if I win the lottery tomorrow, I’m going to still keep this job because I’m having so much fun with it. And that’s what so many employers need to move away from the old way of: Well, we have work, we have money, you need money, you’re going to come in and do the work. Yeah, you can find some people to do that. There are always people desperate for a paycheck. But you have to realize somebody else offers a little bit more, they’re going to leave because they’re going to get a better paycheck somewhere. If you give them a reason for being there, if you give them agency, if you give them: You are part of this team, you are growing as a part of this team. That is the best salesforce you have for getting new people on here. Enthusiastic employees.
Michael Cinquino 27:39
There was an article that I think you mentioned earlier, Darryl, that came out. Someone I interviewed, a bookkeeper Beth Blaney, fantastic bookkeeper, runs a great company, the culture is amazing. Her thing is: If I take care of my employees, my employees are going to take care of my clients. So as a business owner, it’s not A/B, you know? It’s really like A/B/C/D/E/F, good things happen. But the more you can help an employee, and I remember, she said on the interview, she had an employee say: i have to leave the company. And she said: Why? She said: Well, I’ve got to drive my kid, I’ve got this thing going on. And she said: Hold on; do you want to leave the company? And she goes: No, I don’t. She was: Okay, great, let’s figure it out. So you need Tuesdays off? She’s like: Yeah. She’s like: Okay, done. And that was it. And that was a conversation. And she couldn’t have been happier. Another example from an interview we did: They run an elder care facility. And there they demand that their employees show their clients dignity and respect. And they thought to themselves: Well, we can’t ask them to do that if we don’t do that for them. And they were asking a woman one day: How’s your day going? She’s like: It’s tough, you know, it’s a two and a half hour commute. Oh, you know, almost a little over an hour there and back? She’s like: No, no, two and a half hours one way. They go: Wait, what? She’s like: Yeah, I have to drop my kid off at my mom’s because I don’t have childcare. And that’s an hour away. Then I have to backtrack and drive another hour to work. And then I’ve got to do that back and forth. They’re like: Holy smokes! So they built childcare for all the employees on site.
Merrill Loechner 29:14
When I was a teenager, I had a summer job in a company that the entire first floor was daycare and summer camp, because they were losing a lot of very smart, very strong women to: Well, I’ve got a kid now. It’s like: That’s fine! Bring him to work. And this was the late ’70s, early ’80s. And yeah, they had to beat applicants off with a stick, because if you’re in a place that people really, really, really want to work…I was talking earlier about King Arthur Flour. Everyone who bakes adores King Arthur Flour; they adore the products, they adore the culture. And the thing is, they’re employee-owned. So if they hire you, you become an owner. So they can pick and choose exactly who they hire, because they’re not so much hiring someone as adopting them, and bringing on a new co-owner. So for all the people who bitch out there: People just don’t want to work anymore. No, they just don’t want to work for you,
Michael Cinquino 30:20
Merrill, you know, it’s such a good point. “Oh, people don’t want to work with their hands.” I interviewed another guy who runs two garages, car garages, automotive repair. He has a stack of resumes that he can refer to; there’s a line out the door of people that want to work for him. So I’m like: Okay, so what are you doing? And it’s in the research we’ve done. But but just a couple of things. One little thing, he says has a huge impact. He said: Well, when we bring somebody on, we take them out for dinner Saturday night and have the whole team there and welcome them into the family. He goes: One, it makes it really difficult for them not to show up to work on Monday, because you’ve got to be a real jerk to have free dinner and drinks and then just not show. So there’s that. But also, it’s kind of this beautiful gesture of welcome to the family. Let’s talk personally. And he knows everybody personally. I would say one of the things that also came up on his call is to know your employees personally, like: How are they doing? What’s going on in your life? Everything good? You just had a baby, everything good there? So these things are important to know, and to show a genuine interest in the well being of your employees goes a really long way. And I also say, for employers, when you’re doing this, and you’re doing all these things, you really tend to attract the people that are going to want to be with you and then repel the people, like I said, that are going to go away. The stronger and clearer the culture is, the more they’ll realize they’re not a fit, and you won’t have to do anything. They’ll just be like: This is not for me kind of thing.
Darryl Parker 31:47
Yeah, so what a great a great way to look at it, you know, in terms of setting up the right culture, and then that culture kind of compounds on itself, because they share that, they put it out there, they talk about this great place to work. And then other people are attracted to that because your culture that you’re building in your organization becomes its own kind of brand, right?
Michael Cinquino 32:11
Darryl Parker 32:13
So I just want to start to wrap it up. So tell us a little bit about where the website is, where they can find this branding kit, and maybe make some quick recommendations on what you suggest if you’re just starting cold, and they don’t really have a great presence in terms of employee brand awareness, or employee value on their websites, maybe make some quick recommendations.
Michael Cinquino 32:35
Sure, happily. You can go to sohocreativestudio.com. I believe it’s /employer-toolkit. So sohocreativestudio.com. Or, if you just go to sohocreativestudio.com, in the upper right hand corner, there is an Employer Toolkit link, and there is a lot of information there that you can take. You can listen to it; you can watch it. So that’s definitely the place to go. If you’re just starting off, just do a little reverse audit on yourself. Pretend you’re applying for a job at your own company. Okay, what do you see? And when you go to the website, is there anything that would indicate who are we, what are our values, and so on. If not, start with your values. And just be honest, like: We value X, we value Y. Talk about why you started the business a little bit on your careers page. Get some photos up there; they don’t have to be uber-professional; they can be candidates. And you know, there’s a lot of filmmaking power on this iPhone here. So just get some photos up, get a little bit of bio up. Those things alone are going to put you in the top 10% because most companies don’t have any of that. Photos, a little bit on the members, a little trivia, maybe fun facts about our team members can be a really cool thing to do. And you know, you could hire someone like us for this or a lot of this stuff you can do on your own. If you’re just starting out, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg. Then I would also say when candidates come in, make sure they get some sort of email. And I’ll just finish with this: We had space for one intern this summer. We had a bunch of applications. We hired someone; she’s fantastic. She’s wonderful. We had another kid from RISD. She’s a junior there. She wanted to work with us. In the past, I would have never emailed her back. I was thinking, well, she’s an intern, she’s probably sending a million of these things. What’s the point? I’m like: Nah. Employer Branding says I email her back. So I did. I said: Hey, thank you so much. We would love to work with you but we only have budget for one intern. Maybe next summer. She comes back and says: Hey, would you do it for school credit? For free, because I can get credit for a course if I intern for you. And that would make me really happy. I said: Absolutely. Now the point I’m making is we have two interns. They’re both fabulous. We wouldn’t have the second one if I didn’t take the time. Now I understand. For larger companies, you’re getting 700 resumes, but you should get something, even if it’s an automatic response that says: We get a lot of applications; we can’t respond but we want to just say thank you for applying. We really appreciate you, know that your email was received and that you are heard. That alone is going to be something. It’s just one little email.
Merrill Loechner 35:10
That is so important because in job hunting, the worst thing is the ghosting. Yes, it’s you throw the rock in the well; you don’t hear the splash. It’s like: Did they not get it? Is there something wrong with me? And yet, even if again, you’re IBM and you can’t respond to everyone, even a: Thank you so much. We’re unable to blah, blah, blah, we’ll reach out to you. But thank you; don’t ghost.
Michael Cinquino 35:38
Yes, a compassionate email that is an auto-respond to anybody that applies or anybody that you’re not bringing on for an interview. Any company can do that. If you don’t know how, you’re more than welcome to reach out for us. And Merrill, I have got to note this. When we interviewed the kids at UNH, one of the things that was so terrifying for them was exactly that. They’re sending out 300 applications and getting nothing. That is incredibly demoralizing for a kid coming right out of school going: Oh my God, what am I doing? What’s going on?
Darryl Parker 36:04
Michael Cinquino 36:06
For anybody, and then also the opportunity for the employer to stand out in a place where no one’s doing this. You’re the one company that got back to them, and said: You’re awesome, we really appreciate you, just know that. They’re gonna remember that. So there’s a lot of opportunity here, I think.
Darryl Parker 36:22
So culture and brand are the constant, the regular story. It’s all little things. It’s all little pieces that make up culture. It’s all little pieces that make up the brand. Thank you for joining us today, Michael. That’s just fantastic conversation around how to work with marketing to potential employees.
Michael Cinquino 36:42
Thanks for having me. It’s been it’s been a pleasure. I love this stuff.
Darryl Parker 36:45
Yeah, well, one of the things we like to do when we wrap up is we like to talk about some tools that we use. So I think I reminded you of that.
Michael Cinquino 36:47
Darryl Parker 36:47
So one of the tools that we like to use is a tool that we used when we set up our employee branding page at Join our Team. So we use JotForm. JotForm allowed us to build a multi-stage form, that allowed someone to upload the resume, PDF or whatever. They could upload the resume, really short form. And then when it got submitted, it triggered another email out to the applicant with a skills assessment that we also had built in JotForm, where they could go through and self-assess skills that we utilize. And we could look at their skills assessment and their resume and say: Yeah, we want to talk to this person. So JotForm is a really powerful tool. Caleb, do you have any tools that you’d like to recommend?
Caleb Parsons 37:45
I do! On the back of JotForm, something that I’ve found to be incredibly useful in helping clients create forms that they want to use is JotForm has a smart PDF form extension, where you can upload a PDF and JotForm will create an online form based on the data in that PDF. You can then connect the fields to the original PDF. And then once someone submits the form, you receive a PDF with all of that information already put into the fields. This can be super useful for a company that uses printed documents, but wants forms available online for clients–things like: Fill this out before you come in, things like that. It’s not a perfect extension, you have to do a little bit of work sometimes to make sure that the fields match up correctly and it does what you want it to, but you can make multi-page forms with it. It is incredibly useful.
Darryl Parker 39:01
I think one of the places that we used that was for a client who had a fixed employment application, and their HR department wanted that application on everybody, whether it was from online or in person. So we translated their employment application into that PDF extension and JotForm, so that HR was in compliance with how they had their rules set up in the organization. Merrill?
Merrill Loechner 39:28
Well, one of the things I use every day is Canva. I’ve updated to the professional versions a while ago when I realized the incredible tools there. Most people think: Canva? Oh, it’s good for social media. I can make a quick box with some funky font and a message. I use it for video editing as well. I will be taking the video from this and transferring it through Canva and do some video editing there. It’s got a huge stock video and photography and music library I use to help my clients. So it’s an incredible tool for generating content. And not just the cute little boxes for Facebook and Instagram and the like. You can do a whole bloody movie in that thing. And I’ve actually started doing a series of these YouTube short videos for a lawyer client of mine. And it’s all done in Canva.
Darryl Parker 40:21
Michael Cinquino 40:24
First off, I didn’t know you could edit video in Canva. So thank you.
Darryl Parker 40:27
I didn’t either. I just learned that this time.
Michael Cinquino 40:29
Yeah, that’s awesome. I use Vidyard; it’s a program that you can record videos and email them. I use it for client prospecting. So it records it right to your computer, or keeps it in Vidyard. So what you can do is I can record a video and go direct to the camera and say: Hey, you know, Steve, this is Michael Cinquino, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, we would love to talk about XYZ. And then it saves it and you can go right into an email, and then it’s got an animated thumbnail. So when they get the email, there’s some movement in there. It’s a way better, more impactful way to send an email. And then you also see if they watched it or not, or how much of it they watched. So you can see how effective this is, whether people are just discarding them, watching through them, and so on. But I love Vidyard for that.
Merrill Loechner 41:19
I use Vidyard a little bit for tech support sometime and Caleb might find this interesting. I’ll go into Vidyard and do a screen capture. So if I’m trying to explain: Okay, well, you need to click on here, go down here where I’m circling, and then click on there. And then we’ll just save that, it’ll save it into Vidyard, I’ll save the link. And as opposed to me trying to call someone and talk them through a process, it’s: Here’s a short two-minute video showing you exactly what you need to do to get the results you want.
Darryl Parker 41:49
That’s a great way to use it. Well, thank you. Thanks again, Michael.
Michael Cinquino 41:53
Darryl Parker 41:54
I look forward to seeing you around town. And that’s a wrap. All right…today, we spoke about how to attract the right employees. So we talked about contractors instead of employees, and when we want to consider those, and then how we want to treat those contractors, and how we want to think about employees and the differences between the two. And then we talked with Michael and he talked about having a strong brand presence, and doing just simple things that could put you at the top of the heap, making a nice reply to an application, or having a page on your site that is dedicated to the culture in your company. And then we talked about some tools, and Caleb brought us up to speed on some forms.
Merrill Loechner 42:39
That’s important, too, Caleb talking about the forms… How many employment forms on websites are dreadful?
Darryl Parker 42:49
Oh my God, so many.
Merrill Loechner 42:51
Click here to add your resume, and then copy and paste all the same information into these things, so we can attach it to our ATS. If you can attract the right people to your website, the last thing you want to do is immediately repulse them from having an absolutely horrible system of HR forms on your website.
Darryl Parker 43:12
And it’s those little things that make up your brand, that make up your culture, that make up how clients perceive you. And that’s what we try to get at on this show. We try to get at these little solutions, and how having good customer service can help build the success in your company.
Merrill Loechner 43:28
Absolutely. If your brand is: We are creative, blah, blah, blah, and people want to join you, stop making it hard. Start making good employees who want to work for you get to you. If they send you a resume, don’t ghost them. If they go to their your website, don’t make them go: Ooh, nevermind. Or don’t make them go: Yes, click to apply, and then have this archaic, weird 1980s Geocities form.
Darryl Parker 43:56
Talk about blowing first impressions, right?
Merrill Loechner 43:58
Darryl Parker 43:59
It totally blows first impressions.
Merrill Loechner 44:01
You want to make it just as easy for an employee to join you as a sale to get to you.
Darryl Parker 44:08
Merrill Loechner 44:09
I mean, seriously. Can you imagine if you treat treated potential clients the way you did potential employees? Well, we don’t know if you’re good enough to work for us; fill out these forms. Here are some tests for you. We don’t know if you’re good enough for us to sell you our product. No business would get away with that. Why do you think it’s okay to treat potential employees that way?
Darryl Parker 44:30
Exactly. Exactly. Well, thank you for joining us on this show. We hope that we’ve made a good impression on you. I’m Darryl Parker.
Merrill Loechner 44:38
And I’m Merrill Loechner.
Darryl Parker 44:40
And we hope to see you again on the show soon.
You’ve been listening to the Parker Web Partner Show. If you need help in this ever-changing digital world, reach out to us at 877-321-2251 or visit our website at parkerweb.com.