Hiring is critical in any business; get the right people and the business improves, get the wrong ones and it can have a serious impact on the work being done. It’s even more important in a small business where there’s very little room for error and a poor hiring decision can set the business back months or even years.
So how do you find the right talent for your small business? Well, there’s no exact science when it comes to hiring but there are things you can do which increase your chances of success when looking for staff:
Write Better Job Descriptions
The job description is the first thing that a candidate usually encounters when examining a company as to whether or not they will apply. The traditional job description is a long list of demands on a candidate: experience, skills, attitudes, etc. these are often grouped as “essential demands” and “desirable demands” but research shows that these job descriptions deter high-quality candidates from applying for work.
A non-traditional job description which talks about the company’s objectives and what the company does for the people that work there – has been shown to dramatically increase the quality of applications for the position. So if you want to attract talent; focus more on “quid pro quo” and less on “what we want”.
Think About Digital and Social Media Approaches
Smartphones are used to access the internet more often than desktops, laptops and tablets combined. People look for work in their down time and that means an awful lot of folks are going to do their job hunting using their smartphone some or indeed, all of the time. If your website isn’t mobile compatible – there’s a good chance you’re cutting off job seekers from reaching out to you and applying for the positions you have.
Social media can also be a great way to reach your audience. People spend ever increasing amounts of time on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. and if you have a strong social media presence – it can be a great way to access the talent pool available to your business.
Run a Social Media Background Check
It’s not OK to base your hiring decision on what you find on a candidate’s social media but it is OK to take a look and form an initial opinion. While it’s worth remembering that social media, and in particular channels such as Facebook, isn’t intended to be a digital resume – you might want to think twice if every photo of the candidate online has them engaged in risky behavior or drug taking.
LinkedIn is a good place to start though – it is intended as a resume of sorts and can tell you how a candidate presents themselves professionally.
Think About Cultural Fit
If you run a stuffy financial services firm; there is little point in hiring an accounting whizzkid with bright green hair and pierced eyebrows – they may be brilliant but they aren’t going to match your clients’ expectations or their colleagues’ expectations for that matter.
Finding someone who is a good cultural fit for the team is more important than finding the perfect skills match with the job description. A smart and able candidate can always learn new skills, it’s much harder for someone to change who they are to match the expectations of a business environment.
Look at the Emotional Quotient of Candidates
EQ, the emotional quotient, is a good determinant of how someone will fit within a role. There are specific roles such as customer services or nursing that require a very high EQ in order to cope with the demands of their work. This is less true for other positions such as programmer or database administrator where the work is markedly less involved with people and more involved with process and/or technology.
The better prepared someone is emotionally to carry out the work you require of them; the better they are likely to fit in quickly and start delivering results.
Think About the Interview Process
Hiring is a big deal in small businesses but due to the time pressures of running a small business – it’s often not given the care and attention it deserves. Plan the interview; what do you want to know? What might be a warning sign that someone isn’t quite right for the job? What skills would you like them to demonstrate?
The better you plan an interview; the more you will learn from an interview. Make sure you allocate enough time for interviews too – it’s better to see fewer candidates and spend a decent amount of time with each interviewee than it is to try and stuff 48 candidates into 48 x 10 minute slots in an 8 hour day. If the interview isn’t long enough; it’s not going to let you get under the skin of a candidate and work out what they’re really all about.
Make Sure You Follow Up on Concerns
If you find something that a candidate mentions in an interview concerning – ask more questions to bring out the issue. If someone tells you that they lost their job because of poor management – find out what they mean by that? Is it that there were genuine managerial problems or is the person trying to shift the blame from themselves for poor performance. It it’s the latter, you’d be forgiven for opting for another candidate when you make your choices.
Give Candidates Room to Talk and Ask Questions at Interview
It’s important to remember that interviews are a two-way street. While you do want to find out what you need to know about the candidate; they also need to be able to find out what they need to know about you. If you don’t give them space to ask questions and give full, frank answers to your questions – they’re going to feel like a number on a list rather than a person and that’s going to put the better candidates off working for you and turn them on to working for your competitors instead.