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Hiring The Right Person For The Job

As a local business that doesn’t rely on support from an outside sales staff, outsourced support representatives or consultants, it can be hard to find the right person for the jobs we’ve had in the past. The classic interview and hiring process only gives us so much information about candidates and it usually isn’t until months after someone is hired that we’re able to find out whether they’re a good fit. We’re far from the only company that struggles with finding the right people for the job, it’s something companies all over the world have been trying to perfect as we gain more tools like technology, websites like Monster or Indeed and social media to assist in the hiring process.

Many business owners tend to settle for mediocre employees because of how comprehensive and expensive the hiring and training process can be. Sometimes it can take months for an employer to realize that the person they hired isn’t pulling their weight, doesn’t fit in the company’s culture or may have exaggerated on their resume. At this point they’ve paid their HR representative to interview them, hired them and spent thousands of dollars training them so they almost feel obligated to keep them employed after such a significant investment.

The question now is, how can we avoid this? What can we do to prevent a similar situation in the future? Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that any future hires will be everything you expect, it’s just one of the risks of owning and operating a business. On the other hand, the chance of hiring someone that exceeds all expectations and turns into a perfect fit for you is just as high. What we can tell you is that there are ways to improve your hiring process that we will go through in this post.

It all starts with how you’re going about finding candidates. In the last decade, we have been given many options when it comes to searching for potential employees, from Craigslist to Indeed and even social media, it’s not hard to let your community know you have a position open. Find the right method for your search and stick with it. Posting the same job on all the different job sites may result in hundreds of applicants but that’s an HR nightmare, sure it might be easy to sift through them to narrow down the results but it is time consuming and can be expensive if you’re paying for your listing on more than one of the sites.

Next, you’ll want to examine the content of your job listing. Keeping it short and simple may save time but it will also bring in unqualified leads that end up costing companies thousands of dollars. Be specific, don’t just list the job title but the responsibilities, qualifications and, most importantly, what the company can do for the candidate. A study by the Wall Street Journal found that job postings that spend more time highlighting what the employee will get out of working for a company than what is expected of them yielded higher rated applicants. People want to know that they’re going to work for a company that values its employees.

Before you call or reply to any of the applicants, use social media to find them. Most profiles have heavy privacy settings but it can be a useful tool. You also want to be using social media to spread the word about and creating a digital footprint for your business. Most people want to work for companies that keep up with the latest tech trends. Think of everything we hear about the culture of companies like Google, Facebook and other tech giants and then think about your presence online and on social media. Are you keeping up with the trends of the internet? Most millennials, which make up the largest percentage of the workforce, value online presence more than most other factors of a company, they want to work for someone that shares those values and that they’re excited to tell their friends and family about.

Now we move on to the interview process which is the most important step. It is just as important to have a conversation with your applicants as it is to ask them questions about why they think they’ll be a good fit. Throw in some unexpected questions like; What qualities of your parents do you like the most? What is the biggest misperception people have about you? Everyone is expecting the typical job interview questions, where do you want to be in five years, what makes you a good fit for the company, what are your strengths and weaknesses, but what people don’t expect is conversation. Questions that throw an applicant off are the best way to identify what they’re really like, how they respond to situations that are unexpected and what their values are.

Most companies have a culture and part of why some employees fail is because they don’t fit into that culture. Finding like minded people for your organization is critical for success. Take them on a tour of your office / facilities or take them to lunch once you’ve narrowed down your search and think they might be a good fit. This gives you the opportunity to see how they interact with people they’re not trying to impress. Do they thank the waiter when their food arrives? Do they ask questions about your business while they’re touring it? This might seem trivial but it’s not, it is a glimpse into what kind of person they are and if they want to work for you because they value your company or if they’re just looking for a paycheck.

Do not hire the first person you interview. This is something that a surprising amount of business owners do, they interview one person that blows them away so they hire them without considering anyone else. Interview at least three people and have at least three people from your company interview them at different times. This may sound like overkill but remember, you’re about to invest a lot of time and money into this person. Spending a little extra time to make sure you’re not making an avoidable mistake is worth it. You may desperately need help at that time but will your business fail if you don’t hire someone that day? Most of the time, the answer is no but as a business owner you’re used to making decisions quickly and sticking with them.

The last thing we’ll mention is communication. If a recent hire isn’t doing quite as well as you thought they would, talk to them. Ask them if they feel like they’re doing a good job and regardless of their answer, let them know how you feel without a lecture. Most people do not like giving or receiving negative feedback but there are ways to do it encouragingly, it shows that you want them to succeed just as much as they do. When an employer neglects employees that aren’t doing well, it just makes the situation worse. The employee is left wondering what they’re doing wrong and how they could be doing it better, rather that knowing what they’re doing wrong and having a plan in place for improvement.

This is a lot of information to process. Most business owners have been doing things a certain way since they founded their business and it can be tough to break away from what, at one point, worked well for them. Even when things aren’t going well, clinging to what worked in the past is much easier than trying something new for many people, both inside and outside of business. Breaking the cycle can be uncomfortable and nerve wracking but we will never know what we’re capable of until we try.

If you’re having a hard time finding the right people for your business, we encourage you to try something new. We want to see other businesses succeed just as much as we desire to succeed. This is why we are committed to our clients and our community, because your success as a business owner adds immeasurable value to the community you’re in. Thanks for taking the time to read our posts, stay tuned for more!

Drew ColwellBusiness Owner, Hiring