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  • Writer's pictureIlan Fluxman

Growing your workforce organically in the Behavioral Health Space.

Updated: Dec 20, 2019

There are many benefits to growing your team organically, here are some how's and why's!

Organic workforce growth is based on the business using its own resources, such as current workforce, visibility, capability, reputation, experience, and expertise to grow its workforce.

You are Growing- that's great, to do that you need good people and good people are hard to find. They also come at premium- the better they are- the more expensive they usually are. So growing your team from within is often a good solution to employ people in more junior roles and then groom and grow them into more senior roles. Here are some tips and tricks on how to go about doing that with greater effect.

Use Maximum Effort when Hiring for all positions!

Every time you interview, no matter the role- don't only look at the candidate with regards to the role that you are hiring for. Once you are satisfied they would be a good fit for the current role, dig deeper- see what other skills they possess. This is especially true in the treatment industry. Many people had other careers before active addiction. Now in recovery, they often want to work in the recovery industry- but their skills and knowledge from their previous careers can prove very valuable to you.

As an example: I was interviewing a Behavioral Health Technician, he had the right attitude, right aptitude and was a great cultural fit. I also saw that he had attended an Ivy league University before active addiction and had a degree in Information Technology. I probed a bit further, and it turned out that this candidate had excellent web development skills. He was hired as a BHT, but I always knew that as soon as a role opened up in the marketing team for a developer- he would be the first one I would interview for it. That happened sooner than expected and 4 months after starting with us a BHT, we promoted him to a junior web developer.

Hire for Attitude then Aptitude and lastly skills- every time!

I have been in the recruitment industry for almost 20 years. In that time I have interviewed thousands of people. I have also been fortunate enough to have been a corporate recruiter. Fortunate, because as a corporate recruiter you get to see the growth and success that people you employ achieve. I have always hired for attitude and then aptitude. Skills can be taught- attitude cannot. When hiring- always look for someone who is driven, motivated and hungry. This is a key attribute I look for and I dig deep. I don't purely base it on the person's attitude in the interview- it is easy to fake it for 45 minutes to an hour.

"Your attitude, not your aptitude will determine your altitude"- Zig Ziglar

So ask questions relating to their drive and tenacity: "Tell me about a time when you overcame an obstacle at work?" "Tell me about a time you overcame an obstacle in your personal life?"- if they default to their recovery and overcoming addiction, stop them there and ask them to give you another example- it is too "easy" to default to that answer in our industry. "Who paid for you to go to college?" If they answer that they did for this one- that is a great indicator of hungry motivated person. "How do you start your morning?"Anything that will give you an indication as to how motivated they are in their daily lives will work.

People with the right attitude are up for any challenge- they will thrive when they are promoted to a new role. So hiring for attitude- will allow you to promote from within far more easily that hiring for aptitude.

Always hire the best you can afford!

In a future blog we will discuss sticking to your budget when hiring and why it is so important, but for now- let's just accept that it is- so when choosing between two candidates- go for the very best one- not the "cheapest".

Never hire according to price!

By all means- if the less expensive person is the best- then hire them- but as long as they are within your set budget- always hire the best you can afford, even if the better person is more expensive- if they are within budget- hire them.

Always hire someone that is better than you

Many years back as a corporate recruiter at a technology company, I was asked by the IT manager to find him a software developer. I presented a few candidates and we interviewed three. One, in particular, stood out- he was exceptional- he had it all- attitude was great and he was a very skilled developer who blew us away with his knowledge and previous projects he had worked on. I was ready to hire, my IT manager was not. When I pushed as to why not his answer was: "that guy is better than me- he will take my job eventually if I hire him." Being younger and more naive in those days I left it and moved on. Later that day I had a meeting with the CEO to catch up on our hiring progress. The developer role came up and I told him about the guy we had interviewed. "That's great," he said, "when does he start?". "He doesn't", I replied and told him that the IT manager had decided against hiring him. He asked me why and I suggested he ask the IT Manager. He called him in and asked, and to my surprise- the IT Manager gave him the exact answer he had given me about the guy- he was afraid that he would take his job.

The CEO looked at him very sternly, but very calmly said, "this is your one and only warning, I want people that are better than you. You are better than me- that is why I hired you. Think about how strong our company will be if everyone is better than us?" "Your job is safe, no one you employ is going to take it from you- but do something stupid like that again and you won't have a job"

The Compound Effect

This is my number one rule for hiring! Just think about how strong this rule is- how strong will your business be if everyone in the company is better than you? This is much easier to do in the beginning, it is relatively easy to find 5-6 people that are better than you. But once you have 30 or 40, it becomes much more difficult- so remember the compound effect. Hire better than you and make sure the people you hire know to do the same- this should have a compound effect that will put your business in good stead for years to come! If everyone in your company is better than you and their hires are better then them and they all have the right attitude- promoting from within and growing your workforce organically will be a strong money-saving strategy.

About the Author:

Ilan Fluxman, author and CEO of Rocket Science Recruitment, has two decades of experience in professional recruiting. During the past five years, he has directed his focus specifically on behavioral health. Having firsthand experience of working in multiple facets of this industry, he is dedicated to utilizing his recruiting knowledge and expertise in headhunting to better equip businesses find talented team members. He is passionate about helping overcome the challenges in this important field so people's quality of life can be improved on both the professional levels of those working in the behavioral health industry and for the patients seeking help.

For more information about recruiting services, visit:

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