If your business is ready to hire additional staff, you’re in a seriously enviable position. The weak economy has led many companies to trim employees and freeze hiring, so the companies adding people right now are certainly doing something right. But that doesn’t mean you want the hiring process to be a continual thing. You need the right people, and you need them as fast as possible. And you want to find employees who will stick, not move on in six months, putting you right back where you started. The tricky job market means there are a ton of potentially great candidates, but how do you pare the thousands down to the right fits for your team? Here are a few tips to help you hire right the first time.
First off, slow the process down. Sure, you need people right away, but hiring the wrong people won’t get the work done any faster. Run ads consistently over a lengthy period of time, giving you the opportunity to see more people. Understand you won’t have someone new in house next week, but when you do get that person, they will be the right person for you over the long haul. Just remember it’s a process, and not a science. If you’re a small business owner and not used to the interview process, it may take you a number of tries to even understand the questions to ask that tell you what you really need to know about the person. Don’t set a deadline date. Allow it to happen organically, and you’ll be in much better shape.
Also keep in mind that the more candidates you have to choose from, the better situation you’ll be in. It is a careful process of paring down a large number of people to your top choices, and then to the final person standing. One great way to do it is to make specific requests during the application process. Post ads with specific instructions, and ask for a cover letter than answers a couple of questions. You’ll know very quickly if the applicant pays attention to details.
Create a few checkpoints along the way that give you further information about the applicant. One approach is to start the process with a short phone interview. If you call them and leave a message, keep an eye on how long it takes them to get back to you. If they call back that afternoon or wait until a couple days later that will tell you a lot about their dedication and follow-through. During your conversations, ask the applicant to demonstrate the skills you need for the job. A writing or design sample, copies of previous work, or role-playing likely scenarios will all help you understand if they really have the skills to get the job done.
Finally, it’s a good idea to get some feedback from your current employees about the potential new hire. Bring in the applicants for a last round of interviews, and have them sit down with a few of your key players. You don’t only want a skill set, you want someone with the right personality, who will fit into your culture. Check out www.midwesthr.com to see how they approach these situations. But if you think the candidate can do the work, you like them personally, and several of your team also like the person, chances are they will be a good fit.