The perfect hire is every recruiter’s dream—a dream that stays with them every time there’s an open position. Hiring the perfect employee enriches your work environment and culture. It’s also highly profitable because a perfect hire is a high-performing contributor who meets their goals and, ultimately, makes money for the organization.
Getting the perfect hire, however, is challenging. No matter how detailed your hiring process is, there’s still a chance you might not get the perfect person for the role you’re trying to fill. And when you hire someone who isn’t the right fit, you lose both time and money—in the form of both hard and opportunity costs—getting them in and out the door. You also spend more resources trying to backfill the role and, once again, betting that the next hire is the “the one.”
Small and local businesses are struggling to find the right talent. In fact, 66% say that hiring and recruiting are their top challenges this year. So, here are a few tactical tips to help you overcome this hurdle.
1. Brand it Out
People often underestimate the power of building a brand. But in the era of the internet and social media, customers (or in this case, candidates) like to know what they’re getting into. So, be sure to make your brand stand out over other companies and show candidates why they'll want to work for you.
When building your employer brand, focus on highlighting your corporate culture—through your mission and core values. Think of your company as if it were a clothing brand you’ve never seen before. If someone were to tell you to buy their stuff, would you immediately visit the store? Or would you search the company online first to see if what they have is your style? You might even scroll through their Instagram or website before visiting the store, right? Well, that is exactly what candidates are doing! They don’t just apply for a job because the description and benefits are appealing. Instead, they will search your company online to decide whether or not to apply.
To start building your employer brand, ask questions like, “Why would someone feel drawn to work for this company?” or “How many employees would say this is a great place to work?” The content you post online about your company should, in some way or another, answer these questions.
2. Ditch the Boring Job Posts
There is an unspoken, yet respected, rule about posting job openings: they have to be boring. Don’t buy into it. First impressions are important and most candidates form their first impressions of a company through its job listing.
Our advice? Keep it professional, but also incorporate your company’s culture. If your company enjoys casual Fridays and has an open communication policy, use a friendly tone for your job posting and highlight the cool benefits you offer. If your business is more formal, then your post should look polished and authoritative. This will help you attract applicants that better align with your culture.
3. Simplify Applications
Filling a job application can be frustrating, daunting and time-consuming. And if most of your applicants find this to be so when applying for a job in your company, you may lose a lot of good candidates. In fact, 60% of job seekers abandon their online applications due to their length or complexity.
Make your applications easy to fill and only ask questions that’ll make a difference when choosing your top candidates. Online applications should take five minutes tops, be simple to complete and mobile-friendly.
4. Focus on Referrals
Did you know that the main source of new hires for companies with fewer than 100 workers is referrals? Your employees know exactly what your organization is all about, which is why they serve well as advocates for you and a trusted source for their network. If you think about it, every employee could play the role of a recruiter if they know someone who fits the job description. Consider offering your employees an incentive for referrals; an incentive that’s worth their time is worth yours too. (Do not expect your employees to make recommendations out of the pure kindness of their hearts.)
5. Find Passive Candidates
A passive candidate is someone who is currently employed and not looking for a job. Passive candidates are often the most qualified, especially since they are active in performing the duties their position requires. If you take time to personally reach out to them, you’ll show honest interest in their qualifications and talent, which will get their attention. Use social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook to look for potential passive candidates.
6. Go Back to College
We don't mean for you to actually go back to school. But if you’re not finding what you need in the open market, forge relationships with colleges and universities. Building a relationship that’s mutually beneficial is a win-win strategy that could provide you with well-equipped new hires and, at the same time, provide new graduates a good chance to land an amazing job opportunity.
Recruiting can get tough. With these tips, however, you’ll be better equipped to strategically focus on areas that pay immediate returns—and land you the perfect hires.
Brett is a long-time thought leader in the Strategy Execution space for high-tech organizations, beginning in the late 80’s while teaching at Harvard and being involved in the initial Balanced Scorecard research and books. His client work has been published in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fortune and countless businesses, including Hirebook.com where he currently is CEO.