Here’s an experiment you can try the next time you’re hiring a manager for your storage facility. Go to Google—or any search engine—and type these words into the search bar: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Your search will produce a robust list of books, scholarly articles, blogs and testimonials about the power of networking.
The interesting thing about these opinions is that they are almost exclusively written from the perspective of the job seeker. They describe how job seekers can use their personal and professional contacts to find their next jobs.
In other words, while you are starting your search for a managerial candidate, hundreds of job seekers in your community are searching for you. You are the Who they want to know. This insight prompts an obvious question. If job seekers are trying to find someone they know who is hiring—or someone who knows someone who is hiring—then why not make it easier for them to succeed? Let’s consider some proven methods for activating your network and creating high-quality candidate referrals for your secure self-storage facility.
1. Develop a Stronger Digital Presence.
Job seekers of all ages use internet sites to look for their next jobs, and it is common in our industry to post job openings on Monster, Indeed and SimplyHired. The less obvious point, however, is that a wider digital presence will improve your reach and influence with a larger pool of potential candidates. Some businesses, for example, report success with job postings on Craigslist and Facebook. Additionally, your business website should include tabs for Jobs and Contact Us, and you can maintain a profile on LinkedIn that mentions your continuing interest in hiring. Finally, you can create a digital newsletter that includes hiring information in every issue.
2. Maintain a Larger Contact List.
Job seekers are often advised to start networking by creating a list of all the people they know, both personally and professionally, and you can do the same. Start by considering categories of contacts, such as family, friends, colleagues and vendors. Virtually any person in your community can be a source for your next referral, so you should expand the list to include contacts in industries such as real estate, hospitality, construction and retail. Ask each contact to provide an email address, mailing address and phone number; then load your contacts into a database that you can save and update. This is your list for outbound communication via phone, letters and email.
3. Establish a Higher Community Profile.
This is the opportunity with the greatest potential, because most self-storage businesses are underrepresented in community organizations. It is also the easiest opportunity to pursue, because communities are always looking for involvement from local businesses. You don’t have to be a member of every organization in town, but it is practical to join your local chamber of commerce and to attend their meetings and events. Consider opportunities to join or support the local economic development commission, visitors’ center and tourism bureau. Make direct contact with marketing and public relations officials at senior centers, community colleges and technical schools. Connect with local clubs such as Optimist International, Rotary International, Lions Club International, Kiwanis International, 4-H Club, PTA, American Legion, VFW, Toastmasters International and SilverSneakers.
The three practices cited here are a starting point for generating candidate referrals. The next step is to nurture your network, using all available and appropriate media: phone, letters, email, postings, blogs, newsletters and personal contacts. The more you connect with your network contacts, the more likely they will be to provide the quantity of referrals you need to fill your candidate pipeline.
Further, as your network grows the quality of your referrals will improve. Specifically, the referrals from your network are more likely to include candidates with good work habits and solid business ethics. Personal integrity may be the single most important attribute for a job candidate, and secure self storage starts with a site manager that is honest, diligent, attentive and observant.