Write a Killer Job Description
Start your employee search on the right foot by writing a job description that will catch them off guard. Just as you’re looking through dozens of resumes, employees will be researching dozens (if not hundreds) of open positions. Most people want to waste as little time as possible to find their next job. If your job description doesn’t seem promising, they’re on to the next.
Here’s what you should include in your job description:
- Clearly state that you have an open position and what that position is.
- Describe your company in simple terms. What are you passionate about? How does this position interact with the company and its team?
- Make sure also to include how to apply and what the position entails.
- Most importantly, talk about what you’ll do for your new hire! How do you advance the careers of your team members?
Get Your Listing Out There!
What sounds better, 10 applicants for a job or 100? While you’ll have to sift through a few more resumes, having more applicants will almost always end up in finding someone who’s a better fit than the person you find from a smaller group. Get your job posting in front of your dream employee’s eyes by posting it as much as possible! The full listing should be available on your website, but all of your social media accounts should display it, too.
Make applying even easier by using features like LinkedIn’s Easy Apply. Don’t forget to post on job boards and job sites. If you’re looking to fill entry-level positions, contact universities that you think will deliver promising applicants. Believe it or not, Craigslist is also a good place to find qualified professionals for your successful small business. Seriously.
Consider the Company Culture of a Successful Small Business
It’s important to think about what a “good fit” means in the context of your company’s daily operations. The perfect candidate will fit in while bringing something new to the table. They’ll contribute to your team by challenging existing ways of doing things without alienating themselves. Finding this person is not easy. But once you think more deeply about your existing company culture, it becomes easier.
When considering your current and desired company culture, take a few minutes to see what’s missing. You may have a team that’s very skilled at solving problems systematically but that lacks enough creativity to reach the level of innovation you’re looking for. A smart hire in this case would be someone who can add value to the team with their fresh approach and work with team members to step out of their comfort zones.
Ask for Referrals
The perfect employee may be closer than you think. Asking for referrals can be one of the best ways to find your dream candidate because you will get a more in-depth understanding of the person. An employee referring a friend can explain what that person is like as a whole, not just what kind of worker they are. Someone in a local business community can refer someone with whom they have had numerous interactions and trust.
Another plus of hiring someone based on a referral is that the connection will serve as a form of motivation. Someone who was referred to a job by their friend or someone in their community will want not want to disappoint. When there’s more than an employee-employer relationship at stake, people will often work hard to show their boss that hiring from a referral was worth it.
Let the Candidates Do the Talking
You learn a lot about someone when you sit back and let them do the talking. Letting candidates speak freely during the interview will first and foremost demonstrate their ability to hold a conversation. Do they know how to get to the point or do they ramble on to answer a simple question? Can they tell a story well and describe their experience in an engaging way?
When you don’t dominate the conversation, you will also see how long it takes for a candidate to become more comfortable with you. Are they open about questions and their ideas for the position? If the position requires strong public speaking skills, you may even want candidates to present in front of management or interview with multiple people in the room.
See Problem-Solving Skills in Action
Interviewing is a skill. Some even consider it an art. But all either of these descriptions really means is that interviewing may not directly reflect a candidate’s capabilities. Some people may be so introverted that an interview is their worst nightmare. Others will know how to say all the right things without any skills to match. Filter out the talkers from the doers by asking a question that requires problem-solving.
Ask your candidates to explain the steps that they would take to solve the given problem. You’ll see who gets flustered but answers the question well, who is just talking their way through it without a real understanding, and the people who stay confident and answer competently.
Take Your Time
You may have chosen candidates in the past who seemed like a great fit at first, but revealed themselves as a less-than-perfect match a month or two into their positions. It takes time to see what a person is truly like, and it can be wise to take some of this time to get to know a candidate before you move forward with hiring someone.
Taking candidates out to lunch or dinner is a great way to spend more time with them before you make your final decision. Behavior in a restaurant can reveal a lot about a person’s character, from how they carry on a conversation to how they treat servers. Those few hours of invested time in the beginning can save you from making a decision that may take up to a few months to reveal itself as the wrong one.
Trust Your Gut
Don’t ignore your initial reactions to candidates. You may feel great about someone from the start, and you’re likely right! The people you have initial negative reactions about often may not be great fits for the job. Be aware of your biases before you start the hiring process and intentionally go into interviews with an open mind. This will help you form gut decisions that are the most accurate.
Focus on Soft Skills
When in doubt, focus on soft skills. If you’re torn between two candidates with similar work experiences and proficiency in their field, always go for the one with a strong set of soft skills, even if their hard skills aren’t up to scratch yet. You can always learn new software or process, but it’s much more difficult to master strong communication and collaboration skills.
The person who knows how to voice their opinion constructively will be the same person who will pick up on changes quickly and speak up when they need help. That’s the kind of person you deserve on your team and the one who will contribute the most to a successful small business.
Selecting the right people for your team is an investment that will benefit you for years to come, and the hiring process is the starting point. Everything from your job description to your interview methods should be on point. Learn more about building a thriving small business and check out episodes of the David and Goliath podcast.