When you’re one of more than 30 local companies competing for the same slice of business and a potential client asks what sets you apart, you can’t say “our people.”
That can’t be all you say, that is.
At Concept Technology Inc, which provides information technology work for small and medium-sized businesses, president James Fields aims to stand out by taking hiring seriously — soliciting more than 300 applications to make a job offer.
Hard work is expected, but the intention is not to find workaholics. When hiring, Fields is always considering whether candidates will fit in among other employees, who typically enjoy a beer together after work on Fridays. And it’s not just for Fields to say whether an employee fits in. According to Amy Rains, an executive assistant at Concept, several employees sit in on interviews, who can then overrule Fields on whether to hire a recruit.
“I didn’t want the company to be too me-centric,” Fields said.
The process, Fields said, puts the right employee in the right spot. And while he said only a couple of employees have voluntarily left to find new work, “planned turnover” is substantial. Fields estimates every third or fourth hire is let go for not meeting the potential displayed during hiring.
The expectations are high, said account executive Kevin Rogers, “but they reward you really well, too.”
A few examples: Concept pays for 100 percent of its employees’ health care. Everyone was recently given new iPhones. Every employee is being flown to Las Vegas after Concept was recognized for being one of the fastest-growing local companies five years in a row. The kitchen is stocked with sandwiches and frozen entrees, at a cost of some $20,000 a year.
Asked what could get them to leave for another company, Rains and Rogers said not money.
“Frankly, there’s nothing you can do or say that would make me even consider it,” Rogers said.
The Right Stuff
James Fields looks for these three traits when bringing employees to his IT firm.
• “No. 1 is honesty; honesty with others, and honesty with yourself.”
• “They have to wholeheartedly buy into the philosophy that we’re here to serve our clients.”
• Don’t be a stranger. Though they look to hire people they can work and hang out with, Concept is not looking for an archetype. All comers — introverts, extroverts, “vegan hippies” and “button-down conservatives” — are welcome.