Hiring 101: How to Get Over the Hiring Learning Curve

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This is the fifth and last post in Indeed’s SMB series. See what SMB owners have to say about gut feelings in part four.

In today’s job market, candidates have more opportunities than ever, which makes the hiring process a highly competitive one for employers. This challenge is amplified for small to medium-sized business owners who are also competing against large enterprises with vast resources and programs dedicated to recruitment. Indeed data shows that 59% of SMB owners find it somewhat or very difficult to find the right employee for their business.

Moreover, smaller business owners often have to occupy many roles including hiring manager and office manager among others, which makes the hiring process especially time-consuming. In a rush to snatch top talent, many SMB employers can feel overwhelmed and compelled to speed through crucial steps.

“We made pretty much every mistake you can imagine when it comes to hiring” admits Top Hat Founder and CEO Mike Silagadze. Taking risks and being open to making mistakes is what every successful business leader has to be ready for. But with the right resources, you can significantly reduce the margin of error. 

Ultimately, the candidate you choose determines the future productivity and success of the company. In fact, bad hires can hurt your bottom line. A recent study found that 39% of canadian CFOs believed that a bad hire resulted in low staff morale, 34% saw it cause a decrease in productivity and 25% found financial loss to be the biggest impact. This means employers can’t afford to take shortcuts in the hiring process. However, they can optimize their recruitment strategy by knowing what to pay attention to and automating some crucial parts of the process. 

Increase awareness of your open roles

According to Indeed data, more than half of small businesses depend on word of mouth to find new employees. While this can be an affordable and simple strategy to reach candidates, SMBs need to create more awareness to their company in order to compete with large businesses. Fortunately, this process can be automated to save employers time and money. 

SMBs can increase efficiency by showcasing their jobs on online platforms with the highest traffic in job seekers, as well as modifying and optimizing postings for different devices. A good way to go about this is to think like a marketer. This means identifying your audience and targeting it accordingly. 

Reflect on the skills, experiences and interests your ideal candidate will have.  Then, utilize targeted ads to reach these candidates. Tools such as ITA | Apply allow you to reach people that would not search for your posting off the bat but who are exploring jobs and topics that coincide with key features in your posting.  Let’s say you’re looking for a software developer. When relevant job seekers apply for software developer roles at another company, an ad with your open position will be displayed to them .  

Similarly, creating a Sponsored Job posting will give more visibility to both the role you are looking to fill and your company.

Solidify your employer brand

In addition to increasing awareness about your open roles, it’s important to showcase your company’s core values, culture and unique assets in a dynamic way. 

Your employer brand tells job seekers your company’s story.To narrate it effectively, employers need to take advantage of multiple digital media – photos, videos, reviews, blogs – to give a view of the company from different angles: mission, day-in-the-life, community outreach, etc. Company Pages is a platform that allows job seekers to get an inside look at your company. This is critical to attracting applicants, as Indeed research shows that 82% of job seekers read company reviews before applying for a job.

Create quality content

Creating compelling job descriptions that are tailored to the candidates you’re seeking is a critical step. A captivating job description needs to fulfill a few criteria: it needs to be creative and precise as well as highlight the mission and values while showcasing career development opportunities. 

One of the most important components of this is your job title and in this case less is definitely more. As the first thing a candidate sees about your posting, your job title needs to be specific and targeted. Avoid titles that are not straightforward or don’t contain easily searchable terms like ‘java ninja.’ Instead, create a job title that gives a clear understanding of the role, in this case, substituting for “Java Developer.”

Next, create an attention-grabbing first sentence. A great example of this is a recent job description from Apple: “Help architect our future. Be a leader of leaders. Get ready for your perfect job, one that encourages you to think strategically yet stay connected with your teams.” Right away, the candidate receives a compelling call-to-action. Additionally, the posting conveys  the significance of their role as part of the company’s larger vision.

Keep candidates in the loop 

The hiring process is a time-straining task on the part of employers, but in the middle of facing this challenge, many forget how arduous the process is for candidates. No matter what stage of your career you’re currently at, we’ve all been there – taking the time to polish our resume, triple-check the cover letter and of course, nagging friends or family to do practice runs before nervously entering the interview. Now remember the feeling you get when all that hard work goes into a dark uncharted void with no information on your application status. 

A recent survey showed 73% want to hear back from a recruiter or hiring manager after more than a day but no more than a week after their interview. Additionally, 41% of job seekers said that a lack of communication resulted in a negative candidate experience. If you leave your candidate hanging for several days they will be more likely to start searching elsewhere and even accept other positions. In today’s competition for talent, this will decrease your chance of securing the right candidate. 

Hire someone who compliments the company culture 

Your workplace culture is the intersection of your company’s mission, values and work-style and will inevitably influence each of your projects and tasks. This means, no matter the vast scope of experience or technical skills a candidate brings to the table, if they have clashing values, it will make working together a daily challenge. 

Additionally, in view of the competition for talent, you may not always be able to find a candidate who checks a long list of requirements. Instead, it’s important to look for candidates who have the right transferable skills and positive attitude to learn quickly. Many technical skills can be trained or developed with the right motivation and support from the employer and team. What’s important is finding someone who you can thrive and learn in your company’s workplace culture through effective communication and team work. This comes down to having the soft skills.

At your next interview, make sure to ask questions that explore the candidate’s outlook and values, not just their past projects. Learning who your candidate is beyond the scope of work is crucial in deciding if they will be the right fit for the team and can contribute to your company’s achievements. 

The hiring learning curve 

Hiring the right candidate comes with a learning curve. With this in mind, the expression ‘slow and steady wins the race’ comes in handy in the recruitment process. Making hurried decisions in a rush to fill the position can do more damage than good to a business and end up costing more time and money in the future. For SMBs in particular, one candidate may be wearing many hats and their influence will likely extend to a wide scope of work. This makes it particularly important to invest in the right tools and allocate enough time to find a candidate who is a good match for your company and team.

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