The recruitment process is no easy feat for a small business owner. In fact, it can be lengthy and tedious. Without a dedicated HR team in-house, having to filter through resumes can seem like an eternal task, and communicating with candidates only adds to the workload.
This is why it’s so important for small business owners to establish a formal hiring process. The cost of not having one in place greatly exceeds the time and effort it takes to put one together, and looking long term, a solid recruiting process can save time and resources, while setting the stage for a smooth selection process.
The 5 steps below will help even the smallest, leanest team establish a recruitment process that makes hiring easier.
1. Know who and what you’re looking for.
Before you even begin searching for a new addition to the team, you have to know what you want. Sounds basic, but many leaders who haven’t done a lot of hiring will want to rely on their instincts, which isn’t always the most efficient plan. Sit down with the people who are going to be working closely with your next hire and ask the following questions:
- – What are the required skills for the new role?
- – What character traits are you looking for in an ideal new hire?
- – How much applicable experience are you expecting to find in your potential candidates – and which areas are you prepared to train them in?
Establishing what you’ll be looking for in advance will help fine-tune your job description, increasing the likelihood of more qualified applicants, which will be useful during the screening process. You can also use your answers to the above questions as guidelines later on in your interview process.
2. Narrow down the field.
Screening can be difficult as the resumes come pouring in, but if you narrow down your applicant pool in two phases, you’ll get closer to finding the right match without prolonging the process.
To start, pick a number between 1 and 10. This number serves as a guiding light when it comes to how many resumes you would like to put through the first phase of your screening process. This list will include applicants with great cover letters, experience, and educational backgrounds that you’re drawn to but need to learn more about. (You won’t call all of these applicants.)
Phase 1: Review these applicants with the person or people they’ll be working with to help narrow down your selection even further. This part of your recruitment process is an efficient way of ensuring that initial candidates align closely with what you’re looking for. It will also make sure that the person you do hire is the best fit with the team and the organization as a whole.
Phase 2: The applicants that make it to this phase are the ones you’ll be looking to reach out to for a telephone interview. You’ll call these candidates to get a better understanding of their background and experience, referring back to the relevant criteria you established when creating your job posting.
3. Make the calls.
You’ll be able to gather great insight from your telephone interviews, which you should aim to keep to a thirty minute time limit. The primary purpose behind the initial telephone interview is to confirm whether a candidate’s resume really does match up with their knowledge. You’ll be able to gauge competency, confidence, and their ability to comprehend and express themselves clearly. You’ll then have the option of inviting the most promising candidates in for a meeting with yourself, and other team members. (Group interviews are a great way of shortening the interview portion of your recruitment process.)
4. Meet the finalists.
At this stage, the candidates that impressed you the most will be able to give you their first, and maybe last, in-person impression. You can find out more about how to interview candidates here, but here are some important things to look for:
- – Are they on time? (Really late? Super early? Ideally, you’re looking for a candidate that values your time.)
- – What kind of personality do they have? Are they extremely reserved or socially apt?
- – Do they exhibit knowledge of your industry and company and are they able to talk about why they would be the right fit for the position and your organization?
5. Get feedback before deciding.
If you included colleagues in your recruitment process, their feedback is crucial to your hiring decision. A candidate may seem like the perfect fit, but the people they’ll be working with the most will offer valuable insight that will (and should) ultimately inform your hiring decision. Sometimes, hesitation may be a sign that a candidate simply needs to be invited back for a second interview for further investigation. These are the time investments that are worth making if you’re fairly certain that someone could be a great new hire, and you’re simply looking for a bit of reassurance.
Since the hiring process is essential to the success of your business, it’s important to give it the time and attention it needs. By following the steps above, you’ll create a framework that can be adjusted depending on the complexity of a role and the time frame in which you’re looking to hire. With a solid system in place to keep you on track from the start, you’ll find that hiring is far easier and smoother than you ever thought.
Want to avoid the common hiring pitfalls? Check out our SlideShare on the topic: