Better Strategies For Hiring – And Keeping – The Best Candidates

in General, Your Business

When you operate a small business, everyday pressures can be distracting, even to the point of causing you to give less attention to vitally important decisions. And that can be especially troublesome when it comes to recruiting talent. You want the best fit for the position, but with all the other demands on your day, sometimes it seems as though simply finding “someone” is an appealing option. It’s critical, though, that you don’t let expediency drive your hiring decisions. Your goal should always be to recruit and retain the highest-value candidates, even though that’s not always easy in this competitive environment. Here are some things to consider as you begin your search:

Know your target

To hire the right person, you first have to determine what “right” means. That requires you to not only envision what a position can be now, but also its future possibilities. And, of course, it’s just as important to determine how that potential employee should fit the company culture. Knowing the kind of person – and personality – you want in advance is crucial to effectively targeting the best candidates. It also allows you to more quickly narrow the field of applicants and vastly increase your chances of making the hire a long-term one.

Don’t let short-term issues drive your decision

Although you may have a clear picture of your hiring target, it’s fair to assume that your search for the right person will still likely consume a reasonable amount of time. Just make sure you don’t let your daily issues become an obstacle. Remember, you are competing not only against other small businesses, but also huge corporations that dedicate a lot of people and resources to the hiring process.

Even if the growth or stability of your organization dictates having someone on board as soon as possible, waiting for the right candidate is well worth the added time and effort. After all, while you might solve a short-term problem by hiring the first reasonably qualified applicant, if that person proves to be a poor fit, you’ll find yourself repeating the search process much sooner than you’d want.

Here’s another tip: If you’re not initially getting the caliber of candidate you expected, it might be worth it to step back and evaluate the salary range you’re offering.  With the marketplace so competitive, salaries have increased; to get the best people, you have to make the position as attractive as possible. That includes being totally upfront about your compensation package. Sure, you may have to offer more than you want to, but look at it this way: if that expenditure buys you greater efficiency and spurs growth, it’s a more than worthwhile investment.

Make your workplace appealing

Keep in mind, though, that salary isn’t the only attraction for prospective workers…especially younger ones. A great corporate culture and creative work environment is highly important to an ever-increasing number of job seekers.

There is no one ideal workplace culture or environment – it depends on your employees and what is important to them. These days, it could be the ability to work remotely or on a flex schedule. It might also be something as simple as having more fun activities that bring co-workers together or even installing an outdoor basketball court. Whatever your particular business may be, the point is to make your firm a place where people will want to work. Achieve that, and the quantity – as well as quality – of applicants will vastly increase.

Satisfy job “wants” as well as “needs”

How do needs and wants differ for prospective hires? For most employees, needs are generally pretty obvious: a salary that’s commensurate to the position, a reasonable sense of security and a clear set of expectations. Wants? Well, that can differ, but for most people those could include feeling that there is an opportunity to grow – both within the company and in personal experience. Additionally, many workers want to believe and actually see that their efforts have an impact, whether it’s on the company’s bottom line, or more broadly in their communities. If everyone has a shared sense of contribution to something important, the culture – and each individual – will benefit.  Finally, workers want to be appreciated for their efforts; yes, with pay, but with recognition (and advancement) as well. That’s just human nature!

Find folks who can flex

We’re not talking about muscles here – this is all about utility.  When you open your doors, you may have a sense of where you want to go…but, as experienced owners will tell you, businesses can grow and evolve in unexpected ways. Team members who are able – and willing – to take on a variety of different tasks will provide flexibility to expand the operation while enhancing their own professional development. The hidden advantage is that cross-training will provide added depth, so that the most critical functions can be covered effectively, regardless of day-to-day changes in personnel.

Positioned properly, this is truly a win-win: you develop a nimble workforce that can adapt to rapid changes in the marketplace, while your employees gain a wider range of skills and are able to avoid falling into a routine that can sap enthusiasm.

Whether you believe that hiring the ideal person is an art or a science, what really matters is that your company benefits from the new addition. While these tips are by no means exhaustive, they potentially can help you consider ways that you can stay ahead of the competition to hire and retain top-flight associates. Good luck in your search!