Jock Purtle, Founder, Digital Exits
Any good business leader understands employees are the key to success. You may have a great product, and you may have a solid business model, but if you don’t have the right people in the trenches, then your success will be short-lived at best, if it ever comes at all.
Because of this, recruiting needs to be one of your top priorities. But you can’t just recruit when you have positions to fill. Three-quarters of people currently working consider themselves passive job seekers, meaning they already have a job but would consider changing positions if the right opportunity came along.
This is an important aspect of the labor market. It’s no longer enough to simply post jobs and let job seekers find you. To find the right people, you need to be a proactive recruiter. You must be constantly searching for new talent, and you must make yourself known even to those who might not be traditionally considered as job seekers, i.e. those who are already employed. This means that hiring the right people depends on your ability to draw people towards your company and away from your competitors.
According to a study by Talent Now, 72.8 percent of businesses are struggling to find the right candidates for their open positions, and 45 percent report being unable to find this person. This means that successful recruiting and hiring comes with a significant competitive edge.
But what needs to be done for your recruiting efforts to be successful? Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to focus on to make it easier to hire the right people.
Establish Your Ideal Candidate
The first step to hiring the right people is to determine what “right people” means to you. Too many recruiting teams rely on the intangibles, stating that they’ll know the right person when the see them. This is similar to the way baseball scouts used to evaluate players. They thought they could tell just by looking at someone if they would be good or not, refusing to acknowledge the power of raw data in helping to determine and predict talent.
And while it’s true this kind of data doesn’t exist on employees; the same principle applies. Before beginning your search, it’s important to determine what you want from this new person. What skills do you want them to have? And what experiences do you want them to have had so that they will be most helpful? Brainstorm some specifics so that as resumes start to come in you can make quick decisions about who might be good or who might not be.
Often hiring the wrong people comes when companies are unclear about what they want. You may think you want someone with lots of experience, but what you really want is someone who is going to push you in new directions. But if you aren’t clear about this in the beginning, then you may end up hiring for the wrong reasons, which all but guarantees you’ll hire the wrong person.
Always Remember Cultural Fit
There are other things to consider besides someone’s experience and qualifications. Ask yourself what type of person you would like to add to the team. Do you want someone who’s quiet and diligent and who will adapt easily to the way you do things? Or do you want someone who will come in and shake things up?
Companies who struggle to find the right people often over emphasize either cultural fit or experience/qualifications. Somebody may have all the skills you need, but they would be a terrible cultural fit, and vice versa. And when this type of arrangement occurs, the collaboration rarely lasts long, meaning more stress and headaches for both.
Make sure to pursue a good balance between who people are and what people can do, as this will make it far easier for you to hire the right people.
Treat Job Seekers Like Customers
Competition for talent is high because for many people, especially those with in-demand talents, jobs are a dime a dozen. So just like a potato chip company needs to work hard to convince people to choose their product in the face of countless options, to hire the right people, you need to demonstrate to people that your open position is more than just a job.
To do this, you need to pay attention to two critically important aspects of recruiting: your employer brand and your candidate experience.
Your Employer Brand
We tend to associate brands with products. They are what humanizes what causes people to connect with one company over another. An employer brand is essentially the same thing, except this time the target audience is job seekers and not customers.
To build an employer brand, you need to start by asking yourself one important question: What is unique about working for your company? Do you make exciting, innovative products that make people’s lives easier? Do you offer a relaxed, growth-oriented work environment? Or are you and your employees committed to social action and to making a difference in the community?
Once you figure this out, it’s important to broadcast it to both active and passive job seekers. Job postings, social media and your website should all speak to this unique characteristic of employment at your company. This way, when someone stumbles across one of your open positions, they won’t cast it off as “just another job.” Instead, they’ll be intrigued to learn more, and this may lead them to submit an application.
The Candidate Experience
Drawing people to your company, though, is really half the battle. Once you get them to respond to your recruiting efforts, the next step is convincing them to accept your offer, and a good candidate experience can often be what gets people to go from passively considering a new job to actually taking a new one.
Your candidate experience is exactly what it sounds like: it’s the experience people have when they apply to one of your jobs. Put yourself in the position of a job seeker, and ask yourself the following questions:
- How easy is it for people to find out about jobs at your company?
- How easy is it for them to apply?
- Do you have an easy to use application form, or is it cumbersome and out of date?
- When people come in for an interview, how are they treated? **This is key, as some 83 percent of job seekers say a negative interview experience changes their perception of a company
- And what does the first day look like when somebody does start a job?
You need to make it both easy and convenient for top talent to apply for your job. When yo u do this, you’ll begin to develop a reputation as a great place to work, which will help draw top talent towards your open positions.
Offer Comprehensive Benefits
Nowadays, job seekers are concerned about more than just salary. Benefits are proving to be just as important, with perks such as flexible hours, retirement savings assistance, casual work environments and help with professional development now in high demand.
As a result, hiring the right people might come down to offering a better benefits package. And the first step to doing this is to identify the needs of your target market is looking for. Then look at what your competitors are offering, and make sure you’re matching or exceeding them.
Exciting benefits packages can be expensive and hard to manage. To help get past this and to offer benefits that will give you a competitive edge, consider working with a professional employer organization (PEO) to help you find solutions that are both attractive and affordable. If you can do this, then you’ll soon see people start flocking towards you, increasing your pool of talented candidates and making it easier for you to hire the right people.
Find the Right People for Your Company
Overall, finding the right people has as much to do with you as the labor market. By making sure you know what you’re looking for, and by working to present your company as an attractive and exciting place to work, you’ll find it easier to both find potential candidates and then make decisions about which ones are right. Good recruiting leads to good hiring which leads to good work and a successful business.
About the Author
Jock Purtle is the founder of DigitalExits.com, an online brokerage service specializing in the buying/selling and approval of online businesses. He’s been running internet companies since he was a teenager and has slowly become an industry expert on business value and transaction. To help other business leaders tackle their toughest problems, he writes frequently about his experiences and has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur and CNBC.