Trouble Hiring Great People? Advice from 5 Business Coaches

05/01/2024 | Roger and Susie Engelau

If you’re having trouble hiring great people, here’s the advice of 5 different business coaches. At Inspire, our coaches regularly collaborate to come up with the solutions especially when the problem is a complex one.

Here’s a case study from one recent situation where a client was constantly dealing with employee issues – coming in late, not coming in at all, turnover, and ongoing quality issues—and had trouble hiring great people.

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Coach #1 reached out to the team of business coaches with this description of his client’s problem…

The business owner and his managers have been having trouble hiring great people and have resorted to bringing in people with no experience, attempting to train them. It isn’t working. Like a lot of employers, they aren’t holding people accountable out of fear they’ll quit and then not be able to find a replacement.

They post openings on Indeed, but don’t get many applicants and the ones they do find with any experience have baggage they don’t want to deal with. They’ve tried temp agencies with little success. They’ve reached out to industry schools with no success. They can’t find good candidates.

They offer a mid-range hourly rate. Cash flow’s tight and they worry about increasing labor costs. They’re ultimately probably paying more due to the re-work required to get things out the door.

I would appreciate any thoughts and feedback you may have that I can share with them.

Response from Coach #1

I think they need to rebuild their workforce 1 person at a time.

A superstar can produce +10 to +100 times the value of a stinker employee.

  • Look at the top of the range in his industry.
  • Advertise a position at 75% of that rate.
  • Use a recruiter because they specialize in finding the best candidates.
  • Make sure their Culture Statement is up to date and Behavioral Interview questions are created based on the values in the culture statement as well as on skills and knowledge.
  • If they find more than 1 superstar, hire them all.
  • Fire the people in their bottom 25% of employees to pay for the superstars.
  • Then treat them like gold giving them autonomy, responsibility, and authority.

The right people make all the difference. The pay will draw the best candidates.

Response from Coach #2

Trouble hiring great people—tough situation but unfortunately not unique. Let’s check turnover %, he doesn’t need to pay the most, maybe look at employee perks, if his turnover is above 50% there are internal issues. He can vary his payroll paying weekly, vs higher wages.

Response from Coach #3

The only additional input I have is to assure their Director of Operations is truly leading the daily operations. All the issues you listed are primarily in his court to resolve but he may be passing the responsibility to the owners (directly or indirectly).

The daily leadership role is very important, so they need an A+++ leader/manager in this position and be willing to pay for it.

In addition to hiring A players, recognize existing A players and recognize appropriately. Hiring great people will be difficult if they don’t have strong leadership and a culture to support and motivate them.

Response from Coach #4

There may be some repetition here.

Most likely, the people they want to hire are currently employed elsewhere. Aside from offering pay in the top 20% range, they need to create a compelling reason or story to attract the right candidate and an active campaign to continuously mine for them. If they use compensation as the primary bait to attract the right candidate, they’ll eventually lose those same employees to a higher paying employer in the future.

In my business, we actively searched archived resumes and relied on recruiters that did the same to appeal to profiles we found attractive. We emailed them about our business and sold our culture such as, “we loved doing the work we do”, “we pride ourselves on offering our clients the newest products and technologies available”, “supportive, super-engaged management to provide team members with every tool to be successful”, “fun, challenging work where we celebrate success”, etc.

The final suggestion is that one of the owners needs to accept ultimate accountability for the success in having the right people on their team.

Response from Coach #5

I worked with a client very similar. They were afraid to hold people accountable and to fire. They were afraid to even post ads for hiring because they felt it was a waste as they kept hiring the wrong people. Together, we finally got ONE good hire in. Simply experiencing what a good employee at a higher pay range is like helped change their mind on price. Like Roger said, 1 good employee can do the work of nearly 2. This is easiest to explain in something like metal work or programming where you have machines to do the work… a good employee can program one machine to run, go set up a 2nd machine, and then come back to first one. Lower performing employees not only make mistakes but also can only run one machine at a time (and sit on their phones in the middle of it).

Look at hiring ads of competitors not only for pay but how their ad looks.

Lastly, help them set up tools to track waste and productivity. One client and I created a simple tracker that showed what his “gut” was telling him about a specific person’s productivity.  This helped SHOW him how bad one person really was performing compared to a good person over time.

Click here to schedule a conversation with one of the Inspire Results coaches. Tell them your toughest problem, whether it’s trouble hiring great people or something else entirely. You’ll get tons of free advice and it’ll only cost you 30 minutes of your time.


Component 6 – 1 1 e1707212907719 | Inspire Results Business CoachingBrian Kemple, Business Coach

With 30 years of experience across all areas of business in the Automotive, Industrial, and Life Sciences, Brian has led his clients through a multitude of challenges and opportunities in organizational turnarounds, downsizing and combining organizations, as well as the construction of new facilities. To book a complimentary business analysis, go here , or email