Poor recruiting decisions impact everything from morale to productivity, so finding and keeping the right people for the job is the first keystone on the journey to a Great Place to Work, especially if you’re a small team.
Like most things, the road to finding and keeping the best employees is not as simple some will tell you but here’s how we think you can take the first steps to becoming a business where people want to work.
- Work out who you are
Let’s go back to first base. Why are you in business and why great people would want to join you. After all, they could go to McKinsey, the BBC, Apple or Shell, so why should they choose you? What sets you apart. Think about your purpose and your values (what you really believe in). Base your advert on them and tell the world about why you are great and what working for you will bring. Then choose candidates who share the same values as you and who are keen to work in the same cultural environment. Remember, not everyone wants the corporate pressure and deadlines.
When you write your advert, you want a black and white response from candidates – ‘I love how that sounds and want to work for that company’ or ‘I don’t understand what they are talking about. They’re not for me’. You’re looking for candidates who want to work with you and be part of your team. You’ll get fewer applications but don’t worry. Think quality, not quantity.
If your chosen candidates don’t bring your company culture up during the interview, ask them what kind of culture they love and the type of environment that doesn’t work for them. This will give you an insight into how well they’ll fit into your business. Be honest with them and with yourself – if they’re not a fit, they’re not a fit. Don’t force it. You may lose a future captain of industry, but it’s better to find out now rather than in six months’ time.
Several companies we work with also involve current employees in the recruitment process. They are great at talking first-hand about the culture and at the same time looking for the fit. Great candidates love this as they want to see the stall set out from the start.
- Look beyond the CV
To find out how right a candidate really is for your business, dig a little deeper and get to know them. Your job as an interviewer is to help the practised and the nervous to shine equally, so get your candidates comfortable from the start. A great way to do this is to get them talking about themselves. You’ll know it already, but some people are better interviewees than others. Give everyone the same chance to bring their whole selves. Hint: Old-fashioned interrogation is not the solution.
Find out what makes your candidate tick and why and how they have got to where they are today. Look for things that don’t come across in their CV, for example, determination, flair for organisation or the great teamwork skills that come from playing their favourite sport or being involved in a local charity.
It’s also worth talking about any of your company’s current shortfalls and looking for talent that can help to plug that gap. Focus here less on past job titles and responsibilities and concentrate on outcomes – what they delivered and enjoyed in past roles.
- Take the fight to the candidate
You can’t afford today to wait for the right candidates to fall into your lap. LinkedIn, for example, is a great place to find talent and expand your hiring pool.
To discover potential employees who might not be actively looking for a new job, check out internet forums where you can start a conversation – or attend an event – based on the interests of the type of person you want to hire.
Offline, think about your networks and anybody (current employees, employees in other companies, friends and family and professional networking groups) who might know the type of person you’re looking for.
Get connected with a recruitment consultancy that understands you and wants to help you to find the people who share your purpose and values. Yes, you will have to pay them for the service, but if they are doing their job, they will be constantly looking out for the right people for you.
And don’t forget about recruitment once you’ve hired. With their permission, keep in touch with candidates who have potential, but weren’t right for the role; you never know when an opportunity might come up that they, or their friends, would be perfect for.
Finally, a video on your website, showing what it’s like to work for your company in an imaginative and engaging way, can tell your future candidates far more than an advert can ever do.
- Continually Improve your recruitment
Finally, honestly review the experience applicants have had when applying for roles in your business and use the feedback to upgrade your process for next time. Did you keep the candidates informed throughout? Were you slow to get back to them? What did the successful candidate think? Don’t be afraid to ask the unsuccessful candidates what they thought too. They may not have appreciated the outcome, but people love having their opinions heard.
And remember. There are more good jobs than there are good people and the best candidates are probably only on the market for about 10 days. If something is holding you up, keep in touch with your favourites and let them know what is happening. If you don’t, you’ll lose them.