After the Webinar: How to Stand Out when You are a Small Fish in a Big Pond. Q&A with Dr. Kimberly Miller

Webinar presenter Dr. Kimberly Miller answered a number of your questions after her presentation, Marketing & Hiring: How to Stand Out When You are a Small Fish in a Big Pond. Here are just a few of her responses.



Audience Question: Can you repeat the meaning of ‘Remove the negative filter for millennials’? 

Dr. Kimberly Miller:  Yes, not everybody has a negative filter for millennials. But that’s sort of just the challenge for you or other people in your organization. Because oftentimes, when I hear people talk about the younger generation, they roll their eyes, ‘Oh, my gosh, they’re lazy. They’re entitled, you know how they are’. We have to get beyond that. We’re all more than one box we check. And especially watch that mindset, if you have people on your recruiting team that have a negative mindset. We really need to challenge them about that. I don’t think it’s fair to stereotype or label anything one group based on things that aren’t 100% accurate. As I said before, I’m sure you have lazy entitled people that are from the boomer and the Xers generation in your organization. I know plenty of that those generations are lazy and entitled to. I don’t think that’s a millennial thing. So that’s what I meant.


Audience Question: What agency do you work for, Dr. Miller work for? 

Dr. Kimberly Miller:  So I have my own company. I run my own consulting company. I have worked with organizations in the past the job I had before I did this, I was a research faculty member at Colorado State University. That’s where I work prior to but I run my own consulting, coaching and training company. So that’s who I work for.



Audience Question: About the recruiting video, he felt it focused on the I and not the team, we. What do you think about the difference between those 2 and which would you recommend using? 

Dr. Kimberly Miller:  Their marketing was ‘I Am A Trooper’, and the reason they had it like that was they wanted the women who watch the video. if they believed in what they believed if they shared the values that they shared, to be able to basically say in their head, well, that person is a trooper. And they do this and they believe in that and they get time with their family and they fish. Well, gosh, I could be a trooper too. So it wasn’t meant sort of selfishly individualistic focus, like I versus team. They wanted to make it personal and say, “Here’s who we are. I am a trooper, and I look like this. I’m a trooper, and I do these things. I am a trooper, and here’s what my job looks like at the State Patrol”. So that the young women, or maybe middle-aged women watching the video go, “Oh my gosh, that’s me, I could be a trooper too.” So I don’t think that there’s necessarily one approach for success. I can tell you the state patrol had a lot of success with their I’m a trooper thing because a lot of people connected to it. But you could say we are the Colorado State Patrol. We believe in this. There’s nothing wrong with that. That was just one way that they took it they work for them because they wanted to have that personal internal dialogue of the person watching it.



Audience Question: One of our biggest hurdles for recruiting is that the vast majority of our officers’ employees don’t want to be on camera or video, have their pictures taken or used or help with recruiting? Do you have any tips on how to have better employee buy-in? 

Dr. Kimberly Miller:  I would have to know more about your organization first and why everybody’s so resistant. But I might ask them, I might say, “What are your feelings about how we struggled to recruit people here.”, “What are your feelings about we’re down 4 people on this shift, or on your team or whatever?” And then get people to see what they’re going to feel about that right. Because they go, “Oh, man, we need more people. I wish we could find the right people”, then you know, they have some buy into It. So then I might say to them – if they have some emotional reaction for y’all being short, “Okay, so you think that we need to get more?” “Yes, I do”. “Okay, I would ask what are your ideas about it? Well here blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, okay?” And then say, “how do you see yourself helping us? Because this is not just an HR thing. This is not just the command staff thing. You know, this is all of us thing. How can we market better? How can we recruit better?” And I’m not saying you force people to be on videos, but you might ask them,  “Why would you not want to be on a video?” “I don’t know. I’m tired. I don’t look good. I don’t like my clothes, whatever. Okay.” Well, maybe do like a little office makeover for people who want to get hair and makeup for people who are willing to be on a video. “Oh, I’ll get a free haircut and get some my makeup done for me, well, then I’ll be on a video or something”. But I would ask people their perspective on the challenge, I’d ask them what they can do to help because again, not everybody is going to be on a video or in front of a video. But I would say, “How could you help us? What does that look like?” Maybe they could design a recruiting card. And maybe the only people who might be willing to do it is your brand new employees, well, okay, then. Get some brand new employees on. But you have to figure out what their mindset is about it. Ask them how they can help. And then see if you can incentivize it. What would it take to get you on a video? What would it take for you to write a testimonial? What would it take for you to write up a social media post? Could we take a picture of the back of your head at a community event, maybe they don’t want their faces on it but then show the back of their head. Right. I’d be flexible.



Audience Question: And you may have touched on something there towards the end when you talked about the back of the head Mike did submit that the concern is mainly from the security side of things that they don’t want to be outed he put that in quotes- outed as police officers also not looked at as cool to do the videos. 

A-Kimberly:  I get if they’re, like undercover or something, but if they’re in a patrol uniform out in the street, people already know they’re a police officer. If they’re undercover, that’s cool. I would, I would challenge them about that. Why wouldn’t you want somebody know you’re a police officer and you’re proud and whatever. I mean, I get some people hate police and there’s targeted violence toward police. I get all of that.  But I think we also have some people in law enforcement who were a little too paranoid. Again, not my space to make people change, but I would challenge them about that. And the cool thing, I’m trying not to spend too much time on answering this part. I mean, I don’t know I’m don’t have the market cornered on what’s cool, but I think it’s fun. I think if you’re fun and you want fun people and you want a good work environment, I think it’s cool and talk about cool like a year or two ago there was all those flash mob videos all the people in law enforcement are doing those like lip sync videos and that went around the country major and people loved it and thought that was cool.



Audience Question: Many of our latest hires are actually the result of lateral transfers from other nearby agencies. Is this approach sustainable? Or do we need to be developing our own pool of new talent? 

Dr. Kimberly Miller:  Some people are not going to like this, but I totally believe in- if you can steal people who are good steal them, right? And people who have gotten people stolen from them don’t like that. But here’s the thing about laterals, and I know you all know this. Be careful that you are not getting other people’s trash. So if you can steal the good people Yay. But really dig deep in that background and make sure you are not getting somebody else’s trash because that’s bad. But let’s assume for the person who asked you were stealing good people, yay for you. Yes, you should be thinking long term about succession planning. So here’s the reality. Wherever you are in your marketing and your hiring process, whether you go to job fairs, you do social media, whatever. Yes, you need to recruit for right now. But I want you to think long term where you need to be going is middle schools and high schools. Yes, you might need somebody next month. But all of you need to be engaged with the middle schoolers, the high schoolers, getting involved in the schools doing guest lectures in the schools. Again, maybe getting some of these students to come and help you with your video or social media ideas, because then they’re getting to see your organization as students and let’s say it’s a sheriff’s office. And they said, “Oh my gosh, I got a three-month internship to go work at the sheriff’s office and help with social media and their video. My gosh, it was so fun. I liked being there. I liked working around. I want to work here one day”, and you’ve just planted a little seed and you have ongoing relationship. That’s why if you have an explorer post, not all your explorers are going to become police officers but I would invest heavily in that. If you do not have an explorer post. I would think about creating one or create if you have a small agency create joint posts with a couple of different departments. You can share resources, but the experiences that your organization – no matter what the organization is creates in the community, the relationships you develop in your own community are likely to be somewhat of a pipeline to you. So figure out all different kinds of ways that you can get involved and get involved even that’s one of your police officers becomes the basketball coach. Well, yay, now they get to see a police officer as a basketball coach. All those small things make a huge difference.



Audience Question: Are our volunteer programs a good resource of recruits? 

Dr. Kimberly Miller:  Yes. Because they already are believing in what you stand for. Right? Because volunteers don’t get paid anything. They are there because they have a common purpose. They have a common goal. They believe in what you believe in. And they’re actively demonstrating that by giving you their time and efforts and all of that. So absolutely, I think volunteers are good not only for the potential pipeline. But, your volunteers, as I mentioned earlier in the webinar, can go recruit people for you. You can have a volunteer meeting, let’s just pretend once a month, and say, “Hey, we created this hiring profile, we have these hiring cards. We want you as you’re interacting with other people in the community, I want you to hand these out and let us know who you find who might be a great fit for us.” And some of those people are your best people to identify who’s going to work for you.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Marketing & Hiring: How to Stand Out When You are a Small Fish in a Big Pond. 


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