How To Identify and Engage The Best Talent For Your Organization
An Interview With Rachel Kline
Where is their fulfillment? Finding the things that make them feel most fulfilled — being with family, traveling, hitting new goals — are the keys to sustaining them in every sense of the word. It’s easy to get caught up in things that don’t matter. Focusing on what brings them fulfillment and putting your energy there reminds you that their life is a whole entity, and not just separated parts.
Companies are always on the lookout for exceptional talent in today’s work environment. In addition, the perks needed to keep talent have changed as people are not simply running after a paycheck. They want something more. What does a company need to do to identify and engage the best talent for their organization? In this interview series, we are talking to HR experts who can share ideas and insights from their experience. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Maurice Harary.
Maurice Harary is the co-founder and CEO of The Bid Lab, a consulting company dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses find, manage and build their RFPs and proposals.
His experience building a company that started with just $1,500 into a company that has grown tremendously is a great way to help with stories and pitches outside of just procurement and the RFP process. Furthermore, he has helped countless small and medium-sized businesses win their first multi-million dollar deals, and helping smaller businesses drives The Bid Lab’s mission!
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before diving in, our readers would love to get to know you. Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?
Back in 2017, my wife and Co-founder, Jordan, was climbing the ladder in the automotive industry while I was working at IHS Markit. Jordan was tasked with completing an RFP for her business and hired an outside consultant for assistance. When we saw the final work product, we were shocked by the subpar quality that seemed to be accepted by the industry at large. The formatting was off, the writing was shoddy and the information was not even compliant.
She called me and we worked through the night putting together a proposal she could stand behind. It was then that we realized combining her writing talent with my RFP knowledge was a winning formula for success.
Since then, we’ve created the world’s leading RFP company, had two daughters and recently launched our own RFP search engine, Bid Banana.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you first started? Then, can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I made some foolish assumptions about who my first clients would be. I learned that it’s not about the size of a client, but about how much you can assist a business. One of our best clients came to us with just over $100,000 in revenue, and we have grown together to be multi-million dollar businesses!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and how that was relevant to you in your life?
There is an old Japanese proverb: “Fall seven times and stand up eight.” Throughout the years as we have continued to expand and grow, there have been inevitable hiccups along the way. The key to overcoming these hiccups is that we EXPECTED them to happen. You have to be prepared for and accept bumps in the road when you are trying to do something great. What’s great is that we always get back up, even if the fall was so hard it sometimes takes a second to heal.
Are you working on any exciting new projects at your company? How is this helping people?
After years of hard work, The Bid Lab was finally at the home stretch of launching our new software, Bid Banana, which would enable small businesses to find new bid opportunities. Then, my second daughter was also born earlier than expected. In addition to that, a key team member had a health crisis that required her to step down from her role in developing the software. It was a double whammy. While we could have let this moment derail everything we had worked so hard for and push back our launch date, we did quite the opposite. My co-founder and wife, Jordan, worked with me around the clock to get the work done, and done right. Having the newborn in the hospital, then luckily, at home, may have required us to work odd hours, but it did not diminish the amount of time spent. In fact, it allowed us to work smarter, and have a new sense of motivation for what we were working so hard to achieve.
I started this company because I am the best at what I do — winning bids for companies. I wanted to take my talents and use them to help smaller companies win new business. Winning these bids changes the lives of the people who run these companies, their families, and their communities. I love knowing that my skill set is helping change lives in impactful ways. There is nothing better than knowing that you are contributing to the overall good.
Wonderful. Now let’s jump into the main focus of our series. Hiring can be very time-consuming and challenging. Can you share with our readers a bit about your experience with identifying and hiring talent? What’s been your most successful recruitment-related initiative so far?
Marketing to the real person — As people evolve they become more sophisticated in their understanding of when and how they are being marketed to. That is why it is more important than ever to be authentic and honest in your advertising. Much like the de-influencer trend on TikTok, many people are looking for more authentic examples of how to live their lives and thus respond to more genuine, human, and even “messy” marketing. Don’t be afraid to add the imperfect or perfectly human into your advertising approach. People make lifelong connections to relatable brands, and your honest humanity in marketing will be your greatest asset in a world craving more authenticity and less perfection.
Once talent is engaged, what’s your advice for creating a great candidate experience and ensuring the right people go through the process?
Schedule Consistent One-on-One Check-Ins! We always encourage weekly one-on-one check-ins with our employees to minimize any build up in detachment, disengagement, and ultimately, quiet quitting. By having prescheduled one-on-one meetings that are consistently on someone’s calendar, it allows for grievances to be introduced early and often without requiring someone to explicitly schedule time to talk. The meeting is happening anyway whether something bad is brewing or not. By meeting with a team member consistently, managers can have a great pulse on their team’s morale, and understand individualized nuanced differences between their team members’ communication styles. Some people may be more forthcoming than others in raising a concern, so meeting with someone consistently allows a manager to compare someone’s behavior towards consistent check-ins as opposed to other team members. And, if there is nothing negative to note, it is a great way for managers to connect with their team on a personal level, even in a remote setting.
Based on your experience, how can HR and culture professionals work with the broader organization to identify talent needs?
As recession fears mount, 2023 job-seekers will pursue and crave stability in their careers. With tens of thousands of recent technology layoffs and additional layoffs expected, job-seekers will pursue opportunities in fields that are stable and consistent through economic recessions. Government contracting, medical services, insurance, and other fields that are generally safe during economic slowdowns will be increasingly attractive to employees. These fields may seem boring during economic boom times, but during times of economic uncertainty, boring is beautiful. In fact, there are often exciting opportunities in industries that may seem boring, with extremely interesting people to work with and excellent salaries/benefits.
Is there anything you see that recruiters, internal or otherwise, do regularly that makes you think, “No, stop doing that!”?
It’s so critical to show where you struggled and overcame struggles as opposed to never letting them see you sweat. Be realistic in setting KPIs, goals, and improvement rather than just hitting an arbitrary number that you think should be hit or met. Have them be a part of the conversation when discussing these goals for the future. Their input/feedback could provide insight, allowing much greater success for everyone involved. Studies have shown that people are more likely to complete tasks assigned to them and lead by example when they feel they have been part of the decision or plan. Furthermore, seeing and identifying mistakes are often the hardest part of accountability. Once this has been established, avoid playing the ‘blame game’ and find the courage to own it! This will help allow you to solve the issue. Lastly and most importantly, DO IT! As it’s been said — “it is better to offer no excuse than a bad one”!
With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?
Engagement is the new quiet hiring. How do you keep a member of your team engaged and excited about their work? First, identify who is showing up consistently, who is actually getting work done, and who has a growth mindset when it comes to themselves and your company. Once you’ve identified your strongest team players, let them know you’re on their team as well. Increasingly employees want meaningful work that allows them to flourish in their professional life so they can thrive in their personal life. Recognizing talent and appreciating effort are the starting points of engagement. Take it one step further by actively encouraging employee growth. Have regular sit-downs where you discuss setting professional goals they are passionate about and how you as an employer intend to help them achieve the growth they are looking for.
What are the three most effective strategies you use to retain employees?
Stability, security & success. A recession is a time of anxiety for everyone, especially those that have lost their positions through the financial crises in 2007. When people hear the word ‘recession,’ it causes fear for their jobs, loss of income, and ability to find work. Considering that people work for most of their days, and their work impacts their non-work lives, having a stable and secure position is the bedrock for an individual’s success both in their career and their personal lives. As an employer, it is critical to be transparent about the risk of losing or retaining a position through tough economic cycles. If you are able to grow during a recession, explain how and why to employees so they feel your confidence. And if you are anticipating a negative impact on your business, work with your team to be aware of the challenges you are facing so you can all work together to overcome them. Either way, you’ll garner trust and confidence from your team when other employers may be holding back!
Here is the main question of our interview. Can you share five techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill? Please share an example for each idea.
1 . I would call it Fulfillment Culture. My work is all about building good relationships both with my employees and my clients. Taking the time to really understand a person so I can help them achieve success is inherently fulfilling and thus motivating. I work hard to hire good employees and work with them to build their careers. Our journey together creates amazing bonds and is what makes The Bid Lab a company I am proud of. Moving from thing to thing or task to task is just like eating too much candy, you’re full but not fulfilled. Focusing on the important things and really investing in them is what creates a sustainable sense of fulfillment to help you both reach your goals.
2 . Effective listening opens you up to new experiences. It was actually my wife and Co-founder, Jordan, who suggested we start The Bid Lab. If I had shut that suggestion down, instead of really being open to what she had to say, we would have never built something like The Bid Lab which I am so proud of and passionate about.
3 . Where is their fulfillment? Finding the things that make them feel most fulfilled — being with family, traveling, hitting new goals — are the keys to sustaining them in every sense of the word. It’s easy to get caught up in things that don’t matter. Focusing on what brings them fulfillment and putting your energy there reminds you that their life is a whole entity, and not just separated parts.
4 . What’s their motivation? Of the things they have realized are a priority, why are they motivated by them? Finding the source of motivation really helps you help them to stay focused on the end goal and where to put your energy going forward.
5 . Take the time to ask the right questions. People are often nervous to tell you what they really think or say something that needs to be said. Take your time in communication. Make sure to ask leading questions that invite people to provide genuine responses and stay present in the moment. Sometimes if you just pause before answering people will provide additional information. When you are able to show someone with your questions and thoughtful body language that you are really there to listen they feel more comfortable opening up, even if they are nervous about what they have to say.
We are very blessed to have some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this.
I’d love to meet Jeff Dean, the head of AI at Google. We use Google products all the time, and we are currently exploring some cool ways to implement AI through our newly launched software. He is brilliant and has been with Google since 1999.
How can our readers continue to follow your work online?
Check out all that we’re doing at The Bid Lab or Bid Banana. From articles in our Learning Center to our extensive list of Case Studies you can find information to grow your business or inspiration on how we’ve helped others grow theirs. You can also check us out on:
Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!
Authority Magazine Article Link: Maurice Harary of The Bid Lab On How To Identify and Engage The Best Talent For Your Organization