Hiring is important — that much every business owner can agree on. It’s especially important for a growing business because it’s not like you can do all the heavy lifting on your own. You require the right people in the right roles to keep building and moving forward.
Get it wrong, and it can cost you an average of $14,900 per bad hire. That’s 15 grand most small businesses can’t afford to waste. And it’s not just a drain on your coffers. Each person likely plays a critical role at your organization, and you could be putting yourself in a position where you’re scrambling to find the right hire while operations go begging for attention.
The only problem: Today’s workforce looks different than it ever has. People leave jobs more often (10 to 15 times in a career) and with less notice than in decades past. They also stick around for shorter periods of time — 4.2 years, to be exact. So it’s become more vital than ever to hire slow and fire fast. Otherwise, you could end up with someone who’s a drain on team morale.
Companies sometimes see recruitment as an entirely separate function of their business, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. If you’re hiring staff to provide a business function, wouldn’t recruitment — and onboarding, for that matter — also be a business function? Here are five things you should do to ensure you’re not hiring anyone but the right person for the job.
Recruit in the right places.
Develop an outreach program with local colleges and universities to connect with recent and soon-to-be graduates. And don’t forget good old-fashioned networking. Put your feelers out to see whether anyone in your network has a connection that could fit within your organization. Chances are you already know someone who knows just the right someone. After all, it’s estimated that as many as 85 percent of new hires are the result of networking.
If your company’s growth is exploding, consider bringing on an in-house recruiter — someone who can get to know your culture and glean firsthand knowledge about your organization. Have this person network, develop those outreach programs, and stay active on LinkedIn. Give this individual some say in your employer branding and allow him or her to take ownership of recruiting efforts.
Maintain a social presence.
An overwhelming 94 percent of people say they visit a company’s social media page while on a job search, so make sure your company has a branded presence on all social platforms. If that presence is an engaging one for prospective employees, you can bet people will want to come along for the journey.
Take our company, for example. We try to maintain a vibrant social media presence. Each day, we highlight our team or accomplishments in a variety of ways. Our goal is for people to feel — at least virtually — the same excited energy online as in our office. It’s no small effort, but the community knows we’re a great place to work. Because we’re often hiring, the social media push pays off in spades.
Encourage candidates to lower their guard.
Getting candidates to open up during interviews is never easy. One thing I do is to start off by familiarizing them with the company and our values. I then let them know that I’m very direct and to the point, and that’s what I expect from potential hires. For the most part, they let their guard down and feel comfortable being upfront.
Pay attention to the little things.
The candidate’s answers to your questions are not nearly the most important part of the interview. You can learn a lot more about potential hires by the way they hold themselves when they answer questions. After all, it’s said that as much as 55 percent of communication is nonverbal. So I don’t pay attention to their answer so much as how they answer. Did the person hesitate? Did the direction of his or her eyes change?
Hire for attitude.
Hiring for skill is important; you need people who can actually do the job. Sometimes, however, skill isn’t enough, and you need to check with your gut to decide whether that candidate is right for your company, not just the role. Besides, someone’s attitude can make a candidate who might be mediocre on paper become your company’s most valuable hire.
There’s a simple test I use to determine whether someone has a resourceful, passionate, curious attitude. I’ll prod potential hires to continue asking questions — often to the point where they can’t possibly ask another. Here’s the thing: When people don’t come prepared with questions, it’s a good indication of the level of preparation they’ll put into their work. And for a growing business, you need employees who care enough to do the research and think things through. The questions candidates ask are often the best glimpse I have into their on-the-job attitudes.
There can be more pressure to make the best hiring decisions in young or growing companies because there’s a much smaller margin of error. That means leaders need to develop an instinct about which candidates will be right not just for the role, but also for the company itself. If you build out your recruiting practices, energize your employer brand, and look deeper at candidates during interviews, you’ll have a better chance of putting the right team together sooner. With the right attitudes in the room, there’s no telling what you can achieve.
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