When you notice that you need someone new on your team, it’s likely that you should have gotten them onboard yesterday. In small businesses, hiring tends to happen fast and furiously, as growth surprises and confounds leaders who have become accustomed to a certain size and strategy. In their haste, they often pull onboard the first candidate with a pulse and a GPA above 2.0, which often results in weeks (if not months or years) of squandered time and money.
To avoid hiring the wrong people — and wasting thousands of dollars in the process — you need a recruitment plan to fall back on when you are rushed for talent. Here are the nine steps you can’t skip in a hiring mission, regardless of how quickly you need new blood.
Before you take any other steps in the recruiting process, you need to be certain what you need in your new hire. If your accounting process needs help, it doesn’t benefit you to hire someone with marketing skills. To identify your needs, you should pay close attention to business processes and survey your existing staff, using their input to guide the next steps.
Define the Role
Once you know what you need, you should start writing a job description to attract applicants. Because you will post this description on hiring sites and within other recruitment materials, you should be clear and specific with regards to what you need from candidates. Obviously, you should list all qualifications and skills essential to the role, but you might also explain the company culture, or detail the useful soft skills that are necessary to candidate success.
There is no reason to read resumes closely or in full; you can probably glean all appropriate information from a quick, six-second scan. Even better, you can use recruitment software to sift through resumes for certain keywords, including academic credentials, licensure or mandatory skills. However, you should be sure to lay eyes on the top matches to gain a better grasp on candidate personalities.
Before you invite anyone in for an interview, you should test them — to be sure that what they claim on their resumes is true. This is especially important if your employees utilize hard or technical skills in their daily work. For example, if you are hiring a copy editor, you should email candidates a quiz on editing or style; if you are hiring an accountant, you might test them on their use of Excel, QuickBooks or basic math. Candidates who score the best should probably win an interview.
Unfortunately, you need to prepare for the interview process at least as much as your candidates do. To ensure you get accurate and revealing information from your candidates, you should study their application documents, their social media and any other details you can dig up on their work and life history. Then, you should draft a list of questions that dig into their experiences, so you can better determine whether they will be a good fit for your company.
The best interviews don’t feel like interviews, so candidates can let down their guards and behave more like they will as employees. You should start with light conversation, but you shouldn’t be afraid to ask hard-hitting questions later on. You should always ask your candidates for examples, and you should look forward to questions from candidates about the business and employment opportunity.
Perform Background Checks
After conducting interviews, you should have a top choice — but before you extend an invitation to the team, you should perform a pre-employment background check. This step usually includes digging into your candidate’s credit history and legal past, potentially exposing significant personal debt or brushes with crime. Information brought forth during this step shouldn’t immediately disqualify your candidate from employment, but it might warrant a second interview to ask the whats and whys.
Make an Offer
Once you know for certain that a candidate is perfect for your team, you should make them an offer. This can be a delicate stage of recruitment; you don’t want to be stingy in your offer, but you also don’t want to overpay for basic skills and credentials. When done incorrectly, the offer phase can see valuable candidates storming off in frustration or disappointment. You should try to be flexible, working with the candidate to reach a happy medium. Then, you should draw up appropriate paperwork to solidify the deal.
Recruitment isn’t over when the paperwork is signed. Finally, you need to train your new employee in their role, so they can function well and fill the needs you noticed within your business processes. Training can last anywhere from three months to a few years, so you should be patient — and avoid jumping straight back into the hiring seat.