As the leader, the first question in hiring employees should be: how do you formulate and implement a results-oriented approach to recruiting and hiring the BEST employees for your company? To be more successful, you will need to reach, attract, sort out the best candidate from the list, and ultimately capture top-tier candidates for your positions. As the leader, you must own your hiring process to help accomplish this goal. (Please Note: the “concepts” presented in this article relate to any size company. Not every example will be directly related to every company, but the basic concepts will apply universally across the full spectrum.)
The single most important concept in the hiring process is discussed in Part Two, on how to sort out the best candidate from the applicant pool.
Employees, top to bottom, in many companies are the single most important resource they have. Therefore, as the leader, ask yourself:
- Did you leave start-up planning and execution for your company to your co-founders to sort through and figure out on their own?
- Did you leave securing of critical start-up funding to your accountant?
- Did you leave direction for your company to be determined by your mid-level managers and supervisors once you were up and running?
If employees are a key resource your company depends upon, why as the leader would you leave hiring of employees to the discretion of your HR/Admin person? Delegating your recruiting and hiring decisions down and allowing HR to use their “top-10-steps” for hiring, found on the web, will result in a serious missed opportunity to increase the capabilities of your workforce and thus, bolster the success of your business venture.
If finding and recruiting the “best” available employees is essential to your company’s future, as the leader you must invest time into making the process meet your goals. Here are some criteria you need to consider:
- What are the goals, objectives, and mission of your company?
- What positions (or categories of positions) do you need to fill to meet those goals, objectives, and mission?
- What knowledge, skills, and experience should candidates in each position possess? (Note: in some cases, consider pre-employment skill-based testing, if appropriate, such as for highly-specialized technicians or IT specialists.)
- How do you REACH, ATTRACT, and CAPTURE the top-tier of candidates available to select from?
With your list of positions to fill in-hand, you, as the leader, must strategize on how to best reach, attract, and capture candidates to fill those positions. Here are concepts, questions, and ideas to help you in being successful in all three areas.
REACHING adequate numbers of TOP-TIER candidates:
- Do you need to search: locally, regionally, or nationally to fill your positions?
- Do you need to invest in a “marketing type campaign” to meet your recruiting targets?
- How can you utilize your networking, social media, “Linkedin”, on-line ads, professional organizations, or industry publications in this “recruiting” campaign?
- How do you build a reputation for being an “employer of choice”?
- How do you tap into the knowledge of your employees (their families and friends) about potential candidates? (Offer bonuses, if candidates are hired.)
- Will some of your positions require the use of professional headhunters?
- Will some of your positions require the use of a professional staffing company which specializes in finding upper level candidates in areas such as: Attorneys, Upper Management, Finance, Accounting, and Information Technology?
- Will major well-known staffing websites provide you with adequate exposure to be able to find the top-tier candidates you are seeking?
- Do you need to develop long term agreements with colleges, trade schools, and/or universities to participate in their job fairs and work directly with their placement offices to identify top-tier students for internships and positions?
- Do you have a long term need to create “in-house” training and skill development programs to meet your needs in some areas?
- Do you need to participate in hiring fairs, locally or regional?
- Do you need to participate in regional and national level trade shows and dedicate a portion of your booth space to interviewing people with a big sign stating: “We are Always Looking for the BEST People, come INTERVIEW with us TODAY!”?
ATTRACTING the attention of TOP-TIER candidates:
In your job announcements, job descriptions, job advertisements, outreach notices in professional publications, and on your entire website – including on your “Employment Opportunities” page, the “story” you tell about your company MUST:
- Give top-tier candidates MORE than run-of-the-mill rationale to seek additional information about your company.
- Outline solid reasons they should want to work for your company versus someone else, or worse, your competition.
- Entice them to explore their options with your company.
- Inspire them to dream about the possibilities of working for your company which motivates them to apply with high hopes.
- Sell your branding concepts to them as something they can totally relate to.
- Connect with what “intrinsically motivates them every day”, so they will take the extra steps to make their application stand out, be noticed, and present themselves in a light which will catch your attention.
- Provide them with details on your commitment to innovation, expanding opportunities to be creative, and rewarding accomplishments.
- Dazzle them with your company’s mandates for: pushing envelopes, staying on the cutting edge of new technologies, or the exploration of new frontiers.
- Tell them about the importance of your mission and vision and the horizons it opens for personal growth and development in their careers.
- Inform them about your company’s core values which will help convince them of the endless possibilities in front of them.
- Make them wish they were working for your company because it aligns with their personal goals, objectives, and career expectations.
- Make them want to call you “Right Now” and “beg you” to hire them because they have been dreaming about the kind of job you have open, since forever.
- Explain to them why your company culture will allow them to reach their full potential.
- Excite them with the prospect of finding the “perfect” career.
- Encourage them with great expectations and anticipation about the future of your company.
- Share your company’s culture of supporting all employees, (and how it highlights new employees specifically) including such items as: open and frank communications, meaningful feedback processes, shared vision and mission across all divisions, job training and advancement opportunities, and teamwork at all levels.
CAPTURING your selection process identified “BEST” candidate(s):
Involves somewhere in the process, the need to:
- Consider pre-employment personality-based testing, as appropriate.
- Making calls to references and other sources of information and asking tough questions!
- Reviewing the candidate’s social media sites.
- Conducting background checks!
Then, if you want to successfully capture the best top-tier employees, you have to offer them more than salary and benefits, once they are identified as THE “BEST” candidate.
- Be ready to fulfill promises you made in attracting their attention.
- Once interviews have been completed, make offers in a timely fashion to reduce the potential for others to steal an exceptional candidate away from you.
- Make the offer yourself (or, if this is not possible, you must delegate someone with full responsibility to discuss options) in a fashion which will make the candidate want to select your offer, over other options they may have.
- In some cases, be ready to discuss salary level, extra benefits, and profit sharing, if needed and appropriate.
- Convince them they are making the correct, and best possible, decision for their future.
- Tell them how critical their role will be in your organization.
- Ensure them they will be welcomed by your organization and employees.
- Make them feel like they are part of the family, even before they have accepted the offer.
- Be prepared to offer recruitment or retention bonuses in some cases.
- Be prepared company-wide in the face of industry-specific competition, to pay above industry standards to acquire and retain critical top-tier personnel.
- Be prepared to tell them about, or better yet introduce them to, their supervisor: who will be helping them become a part of your company; who will be responsible for their mentoring; and who will assist them in seeking career development opportunities in the future within your company.
- And finally, genuinely express how pleased you are with their decision to join your company.
As the leader, your ownership of the hiring process will result in reaching, attracting, and capturing the BEST top-tier employees available. Using these three concepts, combined with the selection process outlined in Part Two, will position you with the top-level employees required to make your company MORE successful, well into the future!