CEOs Showing Up
CEOs are taking their jobs as chief recruitment officers seriously. An article in this week’s WSJ described how CEOs are spending more time on campus grounds. The lead example was from Cargill’s CEO who literally calls candidates to seal the deal. The CEO, David MacLennan, feels that he needs to play a role in attracting the best talent to his agriculture and food company because he is competing with high tech companies that have greater awareness. As the CEO says, he has to put a human face on the company and that job is exclusively his. The article mentions how MacLennan shows up on recruiting weekends and talks freely about the company’s values and ethics, a key factor to many candidates looking for the right place to work when they graduate college or graduate school.
This example reminds me of one of the pieces of advice we give to CEOs starting out on their first 100 days. Not everyone takes me up on this but I heard about it from a well-known CEO and I saw his point immediately. When he was a new CEO himself, he participated in the company’s employee orientation session on Day One. It was a good way to show himself on equal ground with others first starting out and build positive impressions. We have also counseled CEOs to make time to speak at their own employee orientation sessions after they have had a few months or year under their belts. They can show that they care about new recruits, narrow the distance between titles and listen to the hopes and dreams of those just starting out. A good reminder of why people choose to work at your company and what matters in this competitive world for talent.