Is your Company Growing? Recruit New Hires More Efficiently
By: John Rossheim
A major new opportunity has just emerged for your small business -- kudos! Yet this exciting development will require a recruiting strategy to meet demand. And you've got to hire quickly if you're going to exploit that business opportunity.
As the economy has gradually improved in recent years, the labor market has gotten more competitive. Total U.S. hires increased to 5.05 million in October 2014 from 4.51 million in the same month a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' JOLTS report.
Companies were most bullish about their hiring for the first quarter of 2015 in the leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and transportation and utilities sectors, says Manpower's Employment Outlook report.
Here's what to keep in mind as you head to the labor market for a rapid infusion of new talent.
Know the job you're filling. You might think that small business owners and hiring managers would automatically have intimate knowledge of what their workers do every day. Yet given their hefty workload and responsibilities, often they don't.
How can you buck this trend? "Make sure you know exactly what you want the employee to do, what’s the skill set that’s required," says Margaret Jacoby, president of MJ Management Solutions. "Start by writing down five things the hire will need to do and five skills they need to have."
You're nowhere without a quality job description. If you spend a painful hour writing down critical details of the job you're filling, it will be 60 minutes wisely spent. “Have a well-written job description that clearly and concisely summarizes responsibilities, what the role will be doing," says Amy Hughes, director of client adoption at Monster. "That helps candidates screen themselves.”
Establish a start date for your hire. Decide when the opening will be filled and back-time your recruitment and hiring process from there. "Set a deadline for hiring," says Julie Desmond, IT and software engineering recruiting manager at George Konik Associates. "Candidates quickly lose interest in small businesses that seem disorganized or hesitant about making a hire."
Make it easy for candidates to apply. First, remember that if you want to hire -- and hire the best people quickly, you can't just post an ad and wait. The challenge is that top talent is often too busy to spend time on a job search. That makes having a mobile recruiting strategy in place more important than ever.
You can also get a jump start on the recruiting process by screening top candidates for an interview simply by scrutinizing their existing online career profile, for example. Just be sure you understand the art of social media recruiting.
Narrow the field expeditiously. You'll save a ton of time by coming up with a quick quiz which eliminates that vast majority of applicants who are not top candidates for the job. "Put some qualifying questions into the posting where the lack of an answer within 24 hours or the wrong answer is a deal breaker," says Jacoby. That winnows the field.
Buyer's labor market or not, the job is yours to sell. "A lot of companies forget that they have to sell their jobs to seekers," says Kasey Segovia, a product optimization analyst at Monster. Small employers can emphasize the opportunity to help build a business while also building a diverse resume, she says. Don't you forget it, or you'll miss out on some of the best employees.
Pitch what's special about your company and culture. “Identify what sets your small company culture apart, whether it's a flex schedule, no evening hours, or whatever else is unique," says Hughes.
Also consider the employee benefits that appeal to Milllennial candidates. For instance, do you promote from within? Is your workplace convenient to public transit? Those factors can also set you apart, adds Segovia.
Build a talent pipeline. When you do close the deal with that ideal candidate, keep in mind that this hire most likely won't be your last. So start and maintain a system -- however simple -- for tracking very promising workers who simply weren't the best for the particular position you just filled. “Smaller businesses can just set up a spreadsheet or just set up a folder with resumes for future openings," says Jacoby.
“Monster allows you to store applications in your account, enabling you to build a candidate pipeline for future hiring needs,” adds Leslie Cope, Vice President, Product Management at Monster.
Keep in touch with talent. Stay connected with those talented folks who might play a crucial part in your business's future. "I spend significant time on networking in our industry," says Teresa Parrot, principal at TVP Communications. "When my business has grown, I've been able to approach specific superstars within our industry and offer them employment. We’re hiring for the long term, but our hiring timeline is short -- so we always have a list of potential hires."
Always be selling top prospects. "I knew an applicant who would be a dream hire, but we didn’t have the opportunity at the time," says Parrot. "So I kept in close touch, let her know about our media placements and others wins, and hired her promptly when the right job came open."
Use all the right media to target local talent. Target your job publicity -- paid or unpaid -- locally. Don't pay extra for media that reach well beyond the job's likely draw, and don't sell your company’s future short by searching too narrowly just to save a few dollars. "Use sponsorships, social and mobile recruiting to gain visibility and reach the right audience," says Hughes.