Hiring Top-Level Execs: Don’t Be Deterred by Salary History

With unemployment at 10 percent, some executives who once earned $100,000 or more are willing to work for less. But many jewelers worry that they’ll leave for higher-paying jobs once the market improves. But if you don’t hire such a candidate, your competitor might. Below are issues to consider when interviewing these execs:

Discuss your fears relating to their salary history. Ask what assurances they can offer that they won’t go elsewhere when the economy improves. Ask why you should take this risk and what you can expect in return. Ask what they expect from you.

Look at prior job tenures. A candidate who has moved around every few years may not value loyalty (unless there were extenuating circumstances). But we’ve found that most of these executives had long tenures with their previous companies. Hire them when the market is down and trust that they’ll stand by you when it improves.

To make sure employees think before they make a change if an opportunity arises, consider these personnel practices for your entire team:

Practice good communication. Listening, appreciating, respecting, and adhering to strong ethics create the foundation of any trusting business relationship. Treat employees the way you’d like to be treated.

Recognize and reward performance. As employees perform beyond expectations, reward them with ongoing small monetary and nonmonetary incentives such as extra days off. Use your listening skills and make sure you offer employees something that’s meaningful to them.

Make a big deal of these gifts or raises, but keep this in mind: If you give too much too early, it will become an expectation, not a reward.

Don’t offer a raise because someone receives another offer. Statistics show that even if employees stay because of a counter offer, 96 percent will leave within the first year. If they’re worth what you’re offering today as a counter, why weren’t they worth that yesterday?

Don’t wait until an employee is ready to move on before you recognize what they may need. Communicate with, listen to, appreciate, and respect your employees. For many, money isn’t the primary consideration. In this economy, stability, benefits, and how they’re treated may be more important.

Take the calculated riskand hire high-caliber executives. The worst that can happen is you’ll get several fantastic years of service from a talent you never dreamed could be part of your team. The best that can happen is you hire one of the finest employees you’ve ever had, who will never forget you took a chance on them when they needed it most.