Everyone wants the best people on his or her team, but employee recruitment is difficult. Recruiting — and then retaining — a star employee helps your business succeed. Here are the secrets behind a great hire.
- Revamp That Job Description
Many companies wrote a job description in 2007, and it was good enough then, so it’s probably fine now! That’s totally false. All jobs evolve, and you need to make sure the position you’re advertising is the position you want to be filled. What things have changed? What things would you like to see change? Instead of using fluffy language (e.g., success-driven individual with broad people and technical skills), try using plain language that describes what the person would do. Everyone thinks of him or herself as a success-driven person with people skills, but by breaking it down into specifics, you get exactly what you’re looking for. You get rid of the wrong people by eliminating the fluff.
- Have a Human Review the Resumes
Lots of companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to manage resumes. This is not a bad thing, especially when you get hundreds of applicants for a single opportunity. But for small businesses, you often get only a handful of applicants for a job opening. If you get hundreds, have the ATS narrow it down to the top 20. Otherwise, look at every resume. Why? Keywords are great, but humans are still smarter than computers when it comes to understanding people.
- Look for Success in the Resumes
If you’re hiring for an entry-level position, you want to look for someone who has shown drive and success in other areas of life. That new grad, did she have an internship or part-time jobs? You often find that someone who has three years of fast-food experience is better prepared for hard work at your office than someone who just focused on school.For higher-level jobs, you want to find someone who has moved up over the years. Ten years in the same job usually indicates the person lacks ambition or that her previous manager thought she couldn’t do additional work. It doesn’t need to be a straight-up pattern, either — lateral moves show broad backgrounds and a desire to learn new things.
During the Interview
- Ask the Right Questions
Instead of just asking, “Can you tell me about a time when…” questions, give your candidate a task a week before the interview. Say, “Right now we’re having difficulty with client retention. Can you prepare a 15-minute presentation on how to increase employee retention?” Then provide the candidate with background information about your company and its problems. This will help you determine what the candidate understands about the industry and your company. While you can’t expect perfection, you’ll learn more about this candidate in that presentation than you would in two hours of interviews.In the rest of the interview, have a conversation about the job and expectations. Interview questions should be unique to your company’s needs, but Monster has a helpful list to get you thinking.
- Be Painfully Honest
You want the best person for the job, so you play up the benefits of the job and discount the problems. Makes sense, since you’re marketing the job to the candidate. However, it’s also the best way to get a bad fit for your business. Remember, for an employee to be a true star, she needs to succeed in your real environment, so be honest about the problems your company faces on a regular basis. Are you struggling with hitting revenue targets because a new competitor just started up in your area, for example? Be upfront about that.
After You Hire
- Treat Onboarding as Critical
“Here’s your desk, I must run to a meeting! Can we catch up at lunch?” This is the sum total of the onboarding that many new hires receive. Avoid this. Your new employees need guidance and direction not only in their jobs but in the social aspect of the company. Introduce people, provide an assigned mentor and put time on your calendar to check in with them on a regular basis. Onboarding doesn’t need to be a formal process, but it does need to be planned out.
- Give the Person Room to Soar
You hired the person because you thought she had potential, so listen to her ideas and consider that your company can evolve. Don’t micromanage, but do provide positive and negative feedback. Allow some flexibility too. For instance, don’t dock an exempt person’s vacation time when he takes a two-hour lunch. Instead, look at his performance. If he needs to work at home because of a sick child or a broken furnace, let him. Remember, you care about outcomes, not process.
- Reward, Promote and Praise
Your employees love to feel appreciated. Don’t try to save money by giving a lowball raise or turning down a request for an exception to a rule. As Forbes points out, flexible hours lead to a happier, more dedicated company. Praise and acknowledge results, promote when appropriate and provide support and training when requested or needed.
- Offer a Great Salary and Benefits
You’re likely to see a great increase in the quality of your staff if you do these simple steps when hiring. Happy recruitment!
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