Recruiting employees for your business is one of the biggest challenges you can face as a first-time entrepreneur or when your company puts on a growth spurt. No matter how big or small you are, your company is only as good as the people it employs. This is especially true in skilled disciplines and creative roles, where you rely on your employees’ ideas and expertise.
I share recruitment tips throughout my Diary of an Entrepreneur video series, and especially in Series 3, Episode 14, which is all about the process behind recruiting the right team for your business.
Let’s take a look at some recruiter tips for beginners, and some of the reasons why it is so important to find the best talent for your organisation, from new startups and fledgling SMEs right up to the biggest multinational brands with new roles and departments to fill.
Why is recruiting employees so important?
A good recruiting strategy is crucial to building the human capital of your business, to give yourself the capacity you need both in terms of raw productivity, and also in terms of expertise and specialisms.
You don’t need to know how to recruit employees single-handedly – there are recruitment consultants who can help – but following some simple recruiting tips can help you to get more out of the final interview stage, which is likely to be left in your hands.
Good recruitment methods can also have a lasting impact on the relationship with your new employees. It’s not just about knowing how to recruit staff, it’s also about how to retain employees so that you spend less on re-recruitment, initial training and workforce churn.
The challenges of finding the best talent
Any recruitment campaign faces challenges along the way. You’re trying to find talent for your business that you don’t already have – and there’s no guarantee that the perfect person will walk through your door. However, with these simple recruiter tips you stand a better chance of finding the best of the bunch.
Lots of interviews
You can’t expect the first candidate to be the best. Time-to-hire is one of the key variables in the recruitment process. It’s something recruitment consultants aim to reduce for you, but sometimes you MUST do the leg work and interview as many frogs as it takes to find your prince or princess.
It’s a challenging recruitment market but the best candidates will put time and effort into every application in its own right. Unfortunately, if you receive a poorly written, copied and pasted email, with other hiring managers CC’d in, it probably belongs in your spam folder.
A lot of people who are not the right fit
Every applicant, CV and interview is a learning opportunity. Adjust your expectations of the current recruitment market, or expand your search and your recruitment methods. Can you afford to keep looking for longer, or would it be better to compromise and then offer internal training to get the new hire up to speed?
Retaining the talent
Once you’ve found someone who fits into their role, don’t let them go. Talent retention is much cheaper than hiring and training a new recruit. This is especially true in times of expansion, as you’ll need to retain your existing talent while recruiting to fuel your growth.
Investing a lot and people not being a fit
Sometimes – even after the whole recruitment process and choosing the best candidate – you’ll come to realise that they’re just not right for the role. This is why you should always be polite to those near-miss candidates who nearly got the job, as you might later decide to contact them and see if they’re still interested.
Recruitment tips for your business
Let’s move past the challenges and look at some of the more positive recruitment techniques you can use. Many of these are discussed in detail in my Diary of an Entrepreneur podcast, available on Spotify.
Consider the job description carefully
Try to get out of the mindset that as the employer, you are doing applicants a favour by offering them a job. In many cases the candidate is helping you too by applying, so write a job description that includes enough detail, and really ‘sells’ the opportunity to potential applicants – and include some SEO keywords if you’re advertising the job online.
Have a solid screening process
A good screening process can go through several stages. Skim out the weakest CVs and applications with basic errors, consider screening tests and aptitude tests for skilled roles, and be sure to contact the references of any candidates you’re seriously considering.
Ensure good communication
Keep the lines of communication open, civil and positive, even when rejecting a candidate. Try to give constructive feedback, especially to those who only narrowly missed out. Keep them on file and contact them again if a future opportunity arises – you can even ask upfront if they’re OK with you doing this.
Don’t rush the process
Take your time. Recruitment for beginners can be quite daunting, as it’s one part of running a business that you just don’t encounter as a sole trader. Keep an eye on the market and if you use a recruitment consultant, let them guide you too, if you feel you can trust them to do so.
How to retain employees
I mentioned employee retention earlier, and it’s worth picking it up again here. Knowing how to retain employees is something that comes with time, and it can vary for different people and industries.
Employee retention is not always about money, and especially not basic salary. Benefits can be a big boost, but remember retention is connected with general happiness and contentment.
Consider fun activities like taking your team for lunch or a quarterly/annual day trip, or things you can do in the office such as free snacks and refreshments, to make a potentially stressful working day that bit easier to bear over the long term.
As I’ve said, knowing how to recruit staff can take time to learn – and some business leaders never do, instead trusting the process to recruitment consultants and/or middle managers with good empathy and people skills.
But I hope my recruiter tips for beginners have helped give you a starting point. There’s more in my Diary of an Entrepreneur video series and podcast, and I invite you to get in touch with me if you have any questions.