My name is Mark Wayman, and my day job is Executive Recruiter for the gaming/casino and high tech industries. I get people jobs. Lots of people; placed 800+ executives over the last 13 years. Compensation starts at $100,000, average placement is $200,000+, and over the course of my career I placed a dozen executives north of $1,000,000.
Disclaimer: I only represent executives I know personally, or that are referred to me by friends and clients, and I only connect on LinkedIn to executives I know personally. No disrespect intended.
Over the last few years several new casinos have opened nationwide. There were GREAT openings like MGM National Harbor, and there were TERRIBLE openings like….well, names withheld to protect the guilty. This week I emailed the Chairman of a hotel/casino that will be opening in 2018. He gave me the “we don’t need any help; we have all “A” players ” response, so I checked LinkedIn to see his executive team. Wow. Total bummer. Not even the “B” players. Most of these folks have minimal casino background and have changed job likes I change socks. Got me thinking: Maybe I should write an article on what all these failed casinos have in common. Here we go!
Your Culture is Toxic…and Everyone Knows It – This is the #1 reason you can’t hire top executives. It’s a small, small world. You may pay well, but everyone knows your culture is toxic and you have the highest employee turnover in the industry. Until that changes, you will have to keep hiring people from outside gaming that have never heard of your company.
It’s an Honor and Privilege to Work Here – Actually…IT IS NOT. America has the lowest unemployment rate in history. Let me translate that for you: The best executives are gainfully employed and not moving. Especially when you are paying so far below market rate compensation. New does not always translate to cool.
Smartest Guy in the Room – This is a corollary to the paragraph above: CEOs that think they are smarter than everyone else. My favorite are the ones that are not from Las Vegas and have never set foot in a casino. How many of those went BK or in the drain the last 10 years? Plenty.
You Don’t Pay Anyone Anything – Paying below market rate in a full employment landscape? Bahahahahaha! Especially if you are building a casino in a high cost of living area like California. Do you really think top executives are going to take your mediocre salaries to live in an area that has a high cost of living? You must be smoking that newly legalized cannabis in the parking lot.
HR’s Idea of Recruiting is Cold Calling People on LinkedIn – Several Human Resources departments wear this like a badge of honor. Let me help you: Top executives do NOT respond to cold calls. Top executives do NOT apply to online job postings. And all those people you are Recruiting that you don’t know and have never met? Do you know if they have a drug, alcohol or gambling problem? How about inappropriate relationships? Lawsuits against former employers? Yeah, they don’t list that on the resume.
Your Hiring/Interview Process is Broken – This was a HUGE problem in 2017. Companies that take way too long to interview and hire. Recently had a VP search. Rounded up three high quality candidates. Three months into the search there was still no hiring decision. Not even close. The top candidate took an SVP job and the other two candidates said, “If this is how they treat me as a candidate, I have no interest in being an employee.” Good point. If it takes you more than 30 days to get someone hired, you won’t be hiring anyone good. They will have two other job offers and be long gone.