Unfortunately, there is no perfect formula when it comes to recruiting and hiring exceptional people. Recruiting is part sales and marketing, and part psychology. You want to attract people with the practical skills you require, while also ensuring that they will fit into your organization. This task is challenging for experienced human resources folks, and even more so for small business owners who aren’t accustomed to wearing the recruiter ‘hat’. Fortunately, there are steps that you can follow in order to find and screen the best possible candidates.
Focus on the Candidate’s Ability to Learn
‘What did you do at your last job?’ is a very common interview question. However, ‘What did you learn at your last job?’ might be a better question. The problem with many hiring efforts is that the focus is on meeting an immediate need and that usually means searching for candidates that have a specific hard skill or set of hard skills. What’s missing is the focus on what a candidate is capable of learning. The candidate who has 3 years of experience using software package X might meet your immediate needs but can have little to no desire to acquire new skills or knowledge. The candidate who only has a few months of experience using software package X, but is a proven learner, might be the better choice for your organization in the long run.
Attract Quality Applicants by Viewing the Hiring Process as a Marketing Opportunity
Quality candidates have options. In order to attract them to your company, you will need to market to them. You can do this by writing job postings that detail the benefits of working for your organization as much as they outline the skills and experience you require. You can also use social media to reach out the talent that you want to work for you. A third strategy is to offer incentives to employees and others who refer a talent to you.
Clearly Outline Your Expectations
As mentioned above, in ideal situations you will be on the lookout for employees who have the potential to benefit your company in the long run. However, if there are criteria that candidates absolutely must meet, that should be made absolutely clear in the ads that you post. This means writing postings that are detailed, and that leave no questions about your expectations. You’ll save job seekers who do not meet your criteria a lot of time. You should also mention if the job requires working a lot of overtime, or if you require extensive travel.
Figure Out Who Your Ideal Candidate is Then Go Where They Go
In order to successfully attract customers, you define your ideal customer, and then you market to that demographic. The hiring process is no different. You identify your ideal prospect, and then you figure out where they hang out, online and off. Then, you meet them where they are. This means hitting up trade shows, going to meetups, and reaching out to talent through the social media sites that they use. It also means reaching out to them in ways that they will appreciate. For example, creative talent may be more responsive to a job posting that is written as an infographic or that contains a video.
Be Clear About Culture
Candidates won’t know whether or not they are a good fit for your organization if you are not absolutely clear about your company’s values, culture, vision, and branding. None of the skills and talent in the world will make a difference if a new hire doesn’t get along with others, or doesn’t buy into your vision. By all means, don’t obscure your culture just to attract somebody with a particular set of skills. Once they realize they do not fit into your company, they will lose any motivation.