Those of us over a certain age probably recall the Tootsie Pop commercial.

It was a cartoon depicting a boy that was trying to figure out how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.  He asks an owl perched in a tree.  By the mortarboard cap on his head, we are to assume that Mr. Owl is the smart one.  So, the boy asks, “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?”  The owl’s response is: “Well, let’s see!”  He takes the Tootsie Pop from the boy’s fist and begins: “One, taawo, thaaree!”  In three licks, there is a loud crunch.  Question answered.  At the expense of the boy’s Tootsie Pop.  The joke is that the kid is posing the question in hopes of an answer.  He got his answer, and the joke is on him.

We know that it technically takes zero licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

Why is this relevant today?

How many conversations, how many phone calls or in-person meetings or group lunches are enough when it comes to finding the right new hire for your team?  Say what you want about the owl’s approach, self-serving as it is.  He makes a good point.  Why would anyone want to wait that long to get to the center of the pop, where the good stuff is?

Is making the right hire a matter of the amount of time spent vetting a candidate, or is it more about the quality of the time spent doing so?

We think it’s both.

In today’s labor market, timing is everything. If you take too long, the good stuff won’t be there, and if you act too quickly, the good stuff may not be so good.  We know that good candidates looking for work don’t stay looking for very long. I can tell you that, just in the last couple of months, clients of ours have lost good candidates by taking too long, taking too many meetings, with too many decision-makers.  Other companies have swooped in, like an owl, and got to the good stuff first.

It’s great to have a recruiting plan.  It’s better to have a plan that is focused on retaining good employees.

There are quite a few lessons in hiring that can be learned from Mr. Owl. Quite frankly, too many for just one article. If you are struggling with finding good people, whether you utilize a staffing and recruiting partner or not, perhaps look at your hiring process, and how long it takes to make the decision.

Right now, the labor market is a textbook lesson in economics, pure supply and demand. I could run down the path of the Iron Triangle (project management, not policy making), but I will save that for one of the next articles in the series.

To be continued…

Tony Caramatti

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