7 Insights Into Recruiting While Growing A Tomato Garden

Ben Martinez Recruiting, Talent Management

Growing tomatoes is a humbling experience. It takes patience and care. You will put forth a lot of effort to grow your own tomatoes and save $3.89 but if you look deep into what you are doing, there are lessons to be learned, even with recruiting.

Like robots in recruiting, I can outsource the work with automatic bubbler sprinkling systems or ask someone else to care for my tomatoes or just buy tomatoes, but there are no lessons learned or value that comes from doing work with your own hands.

The more that work goes online, it gets harder to quantify and experience a hard-earned day of working for your money or some type of reward.

Here are 7 insights into growing tomatoes with parallels into recruiting. If you think this is boring, try growing your own tomatoes…

  1. Pay no attention to your candidates and hiring managers and they will disappear. Pay no attention to your tomatoes and they will dissolve into the ground. Check-in with people daily. Pay attention to candidates and hiring managers via phone, video and text. Especially during our new remote ways of working.
  2. Water tomatoes at cool and optimal times. Morning and evening. Same with recruiting. Call candidates who hate their job, earlier in the week (i.e., Monday and Tuesday). Recruit at optimal times. Chances are by Friday the candidates who hate their jobs have survived the week and find their bad job more tolerable.
  3. Enjoy the process. Enjoy the time you have outside with your tomatoes. They can be a good relief from stress or drama at the house. Get outside and water the tomatoes. They are alive, just like the humans you are recruiting. Enjoy the pleasure and sometimes pain of getting to know new people and developing deeper relationships with people you already know. It’s part of the path. 
  4. Use automation if possible, but stay hands-on. I have an automatic sprinkler system that I use. It helps keep tomatoes wet while I’m out of town, but I stay active and water by hand. Same goes with recruiting – Pick up the phone and call people. Do video, meet-ups with social distancing, etc. You can outsource and use automation but people need to talk with people.
  5. It takes about as much time to grow tomatoes as it does to hire someone. On average, it takes about 63 days to hire a $100K+ professional and takes about 50 days to grow good tomatoes. I have timed this over the years and it’s about right. Growth takes time. So does hiring.
  6. Positioning matters. Tomatoes need sun for energy. No matter how pretty you think your tomatoes are, they will need the sun to grow. The same goes for that new hire. If they are in a bad company or in a bad position with bad leaders with no energy, they will not succeed. They need to be in a good position.
  7. Enjoy the reward. A good tomato. Share the fruits of your labor with your family and neighbors. This is the best part. With recruiting – enjoy the good candidates. Let them shine with your customers, board, and investors. For the few bad candidates and hiring managers out there, there are more than 10X good ones.

In short, it’s easier to give up on tomatoes and let them die than it is to put forth the effort to grow ripe red tomatoes and save $3.89, but you will not appreciate the work that goes into a red ripe tomato.

Do the hard work and have no regrets. Day by day, it will pay off and you will have ripe tomatoes and good candidates, clients, and hiring managers to work with.