This article is based on research for our recent eGuide, A small business guide to making your first hires.
At many small businesses, the HR department is fairly easy to find: just look in the owner’s chair. For the most part, all things related to recruitment and hiring land on their to-do list – and, can take up a lot of valuable time. Luckily, there are a few expert tips and tricks that can simplify the recruitment and hiring process.
Here are 11 time-saving recruiting tricks that will let you get back to making your company thrive.
Let the job posting do the heavy lifting
First thing’s first: never underestimate the power of a quality job posting. Being clear and specific about duties and must-have qualifications will ensure that you get more qualified applicants.
“The best way to save time is to have candidates self-select in or out,” says Marsha Forde, director of human resources at Workopolis. “A clearly written job description will attract the candidates you want while deterring those who won’t fit the bill. Are there long hours required? Make sure it’s in your posting (there are always creative ways to do so).”
You can also get more applicants by posting on the right day – though the most common day for employers to post jobs is Thursday, recent Workopolis research found that employers will get 15 per cent more job views and 20 per cent more applications by posting on Monday instead.
Leverage a talent network
We recently talked about talent networks as a great way for job seekers to interact with your small business when you don’t currently have an opening for them. Starting a talent network could be as simple as connecting on social media or letting seekers submit their resume to a general mailbox – but fostering that community means that you have access to lots of engaged talent when you do have an opening available.
Encourage employee referrals
This is yet another way to access engaged talent when you have an opening: offer your employees a referral bonus (a gift card, for example) if you end up hiring a candidate they recommend. After all, more vetted candidates mean you’re spending less time screening. Added bonus: an iCIMS study found that employees hired from referrals stay with a company longer, have more job satisfaction, and fit in better with the company culture.
Fill specialized roles by posting on industry sites
Industry-targeted job postings can get your job opening in front of the right audience quickly and easily. Workopolis, for example, partners with the Niche Network, Canada’s largest network of industry associations; when you’re hiring for hard-to-fill jobs, an Industry Targeted Posting lets you post to specialized associations (like the Canadian Marketing Association, or the Canadian Military Engineers Association) with one simple click.
Talk salary early on
Most small businesses are on a tight budget – which means that compensation for a new role will likely be somewhat fixed. If this is the case, you can use this information to pare back your longlist and avoid wasted time with candidates who aren’t actually interested.
“If there is a clear budget for what this role can pay, ensure these discussions happen early,” says Forde. “It is of no help to anyone if both you and the candidate fall in love with one another, only to realize two interviews later that you are misaligned on compensation. Find an opportunity to either post salary upfront, or ask the question prior to booking them in for an interview.”
Pre-screen with one-way video interviews
A phone or Skype chat can be just as time-consuming (and difficult to schedule) as an in-person interview. A one-way video interview, on the other hand, is a far more efficient approach to pre-interviews. It gives you the chance to send the same pre-recorded questions to all of your shortlisted candidates, and receive their video responses via email. You can watch them when you have time, and even forward them to colleagues as needed.
Do structured interviews
When it’s time for the in-person interview, there are many techniques to choose from. But to keep the process as organized as possible, stick to the structured interview: go in having written down exactly what to ask, how to ask it, and what kind of response you’re looking for. Compared to an unstructured interview, which has no set questions, a structured interview provides a more comprehensive evaluation of a candidate, and makes it easier to compare your top picks side-by-side.
“Keep the process moving,” says Forde. “A strong candidate is not just a strong candidate for you, but one who is getting favourable response in the market – likely from your competition.”
To ensure your top pick doesn’t get snapped up by another employer, Forde suggests booking all of your interviews within a five to seven business day period, and then promptly following up with everyone (even if they didn’t get the job). “This will give you a great reputation in the market, and ensure that your prospective employee has an awesome hiring experience”
Outsource individual tasks
There are some tasks related to hiring that you simply won’t have time for. Luckily, there are plenty of new service providers ready to help you out. Automated reference checkers, for example, can do background, reference, or education checks, while employment testing companies can perform skills assessments.
Consolidating all your recruiting material and resumes into one place keeps your hiring process organized and efficient at all times – and also ensures that no star candidates fall through the cracks. The Recruitment Centre by Workopolis is a great way to stay on track: the all-in-one dashboard lets you manage job postings, shortlist and rank applicants, search through thousands of resumes, and more – and it’s free to all Workopolis customers.
Avoid unnecessary turnover
Keeping your existing team happy and engaged will go a long way in avoiding any unexpected openings that you’ll then need to fill. We’ve talked about free employee engagement tactics in the past: encouraging friendships, offering praise, and celebrating progress are just a few ways to encourage your team (especially your star performers) to stay put.
Looking for some more tips? Get our free eGuide, A small business guide to making your first hires, for a step-by-step guide to recruiting, screening, hiring, and onboarding your next superstar employee.