Updated: Oct 23, 2018
What's going on these days?
Everyone knows someone who is looking for work.
Meanwhile, if you own a small business, I bet you have been recently looking for someone to fill a job and still having a tough time.
The gap between those looking for work and those offering work is affected by many drivers but one thing is clear: the process that happens in the middle of these two groups of people and their needs is broken, big time.
I know it would be great, but there is not one silver bullet that will save you from hiring, no matter how great our technology is getting. That new website for job postings may sound great, but throwing more money and energy at a process that already is not optimized may not be the best decision.
Don't worry, there are some simple, no-cost ways you can improve hiring and reach and evaluate better candidates for your business.
1. Be clear on the performance objectives of the jobs you're hiring for. I cannot stress this enough, this is step one to improve your hiring no matter the size of your company.
Go beyond the basic requirements (must have 3 years of experience…) and a boring list of duties. Think about what success is in this position. It can be as simple as showing up consistently on-time with a good work ethic, to specifying that a national sales manager produce a minimum of $1.5M in sales in their first year. Think of 1 to 5 indicators of success in this position and include a section on your job description. "To be a success in this position, you will:"
Why is this important?
When you ONLY talk about knowledge and skills for a job, you are not relating the work back to the bigger picture of your strategy, your purpose, or an overall feeling of being a success in a job.
People who feel that they can or will be a success in a job will be motivated from the beginning. Setting out goals will ensure that they keep their eyes on the prize over time as well.
Furthermore, if a person you hire is then consistently failing to reach performance objectives, then making the case to let them go and move on will be much easier.
Also, when you clearly communicate what you need from someone in the early stages of hiring (talking about YOU, job postings on the internet!!) you will attract more of the right kinds of people for the jobs and for your company in general.
If your job description and ad is written in such a way to give clues as to what's required in the job--in other words, if it's clear you will have expectations of your employees--you will automatically turn away the people who have no intention of setting or meeting. Instead of wading through hundreds of applications from "warm bodies", you will start to naturally attract higher performing individuals.
2. Prepare for interviewing.
You should be preparing as much as the interviewee--possibly more!
Organize your thoughts ahead of time. In general for any candidate, what type of information will you need to gather about their skills and experience?
Decide exactly how you will ask about availability, employment eligibility, salary expectations, scheduling, and other "housekeeping" issues. Write out your questions and stick to your script with each and every candidate for the same job.
Why is this important?
The main reason to do this is to save yourself time. Job interviews will take far less time in general because you know exactly what you are asking and how much you have to cover before it is over. You will only need to prepare once, then print up your questions for each interview.
Another benefit: you will feel more confident and relaxed when interviewing someone. It's not just interviewees who get nervous for a job interview!
3. Create a consistent hiring process and follow it every time.
Know how many interview steps you will have and who the candidates will meet, decide if you will conduct pre-employment tests to evaluate skills, choose vendors for your drug testing and background checks.
Be consistent in your process with each candidate, whether they are a stranger, or your cousin!
Why is this important?
Consistency is an important key to hiring better. The main reason is that people are so unique--each person is different.
So you can't control how each person will act in an interview, or what they will say. However, you CAN control how the process works and you can use it the same way time after time.
This way, you can "compare apples to apples" and have more confidence when making your hiring decision.
I hope these tips are something you can start to implement right away. Drop me an email and let me know how it's going at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want even more help with hiring? Sign up to get my Guide to Interviewing Like a Boss, a free eBook with tons of ideas and interview questions to use now. Click here to sign up. I'll pop in your email inbox from time to time with other new ideas and updates on the blog.