What to do when hiring for your small business

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In today’s competitive environment, businesses vie for talent in almost the same way they do for customers. It’s a fast-paced world, where you will be competing against other businesses to get the best of the best. You know your customers intrinsically, so if you want to hire top talent, you should treat potential candidates the same way and get to know them just as well. Let’s take a look at key points which will help you secure a great hire.

Add shine to your job ad
Candidates want to be enticed and excited by your job ads, not bored to tears. Long lists of bullet points of skills and criteria and dull design don’t make the cut anymore. They’ll scroll past it. Candidates want shine and sparkles. They want to feel an immediate connection to the job that makes them think ‘That’s me!’ and push the Apply button. Put your creative hat on, because in a cluttered world with over 4,000 advertising messages crossing your path a day, your advert needs to stand out.

Update your online footprint
Once you’ve convinced candidates to apply for you, before they send you their CVs, they will Google the name of your business. What will happen then? How are your online assets looking? If they need a bit of touching up, it’s time to do that refresh you’ve always meant to do. Applicants will expect you to have an up-to-date website that clearly states what you do, and a page explaining what it’s like working for you. That way, candidates will get a feel for the culture, the team and directors.

Candidates will also want to apply to your job ad on the go via a mobile device. Make it easy for them to do so by optimising your website and application form for mobiles.

Open the lines of communication
It’s time to ditch the long application forms and the attitude of ‘if they’re interested enough, they will apply’. It may have been OK two years ago, but it’s not the way anymore. At any point in time, only 20% of the market are active job seekers. So this means 80% of the talent pool are happily employed and leading busy lives. BUT they would be open to a discussion for the right opportunity. Make it easy for them to contact you. Forcing them to prepare a CV, cover letter and answer 30 questions about their experience will turn them right off.  Consider enabling candidates to apply with their LinkedIn profile to open the lines of communication with you and see where things can lead. You can always run through those 30 questions during an interview.

Run two-way interviews
For interviews, candidates will usually get ready by preparing some possible answers to your questions, and might do some research on your company. They will expect your conversation to be just as much about them as about you. Will they like working for you? Will they get rewarded for their hard work? Keep the conversation open and give them an opportunity to ask questions. The candidate will have to convince you they’re the best person for the job; and you’ll have to convince them this is the best job for them.

convince the right candidate this is the best job for them

Give feedback
It may seem obvious, but transparency is really important. Keeping candidates across the status of their application gives them the comfort they’re being considered and the sense the time they took to apply for the position hasn’t been taken for granted. Even if a candidate is unsuccessful, receiving that phone call, or personalised email, shows that you care enough to make time to inform people of their final decision.

If you can also share feedback about why they were not successful, it will help them do better next time. There are online tools available which allow you to keep track of all your communication with candidates as easily as clicking a button. It’s worth taking that time, because you never know when you may cross their path again.

Candidates, like customers, should be convinced your business is where they need to be. They will expect you to give them enough attention and be ready to answer their questions. Be available to them, and you’re already half of the way there.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Hi Sharon,
    Could not agree more on some great points you make regarding open communication. Many larger organizations, multi nationals etc, seem to have processes that drag on and on and also appear to repeat many processes or questions already addressed previously with a different interviewer.
    Feedback is also very important, these days I see a lot of standard email reply’s being used and many candidates tell me they go through 3 to 4 interviews and receive no more contact at all and end up chasing after the HR contact or the agency to get some constructive feedback, it is difficult enough for any modern day job seeker today already having to deal with additional factors beyond their control.
    But the interviewer and the company or business they represent by making these mistakes are really not doing themselves any favors in today’s interconnected business community where reputations really count.
    Cheers,
    Mick.

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