Over the past few years, it's increasingly become a job-seeker's market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate has been hovering at around 5 percent for close to a year now, placing the country near full employment. As this rate drops, it means companies will have to compete harder for top talent as truly great candidates have their choice of a wide range of options. As a hiring manager in this current environment, you must develop a strategic plan for attracting the best possible applicants for your small business.
Integrating a high-quality candidate into your company and developing his or her leadership skills begins long before the first day on the job. The top prospects are now looking for their chances to enter into positions with enticing career advancement opportunities and a sense that their ideas will be heard.
To ensure you begin cultivating the right choice from the start, consider utilizing this top 10 checklist – or a modified version specifically tailored for your sector – during the candidate-selection process, the interviewing phase and even the initial onboarding period:
It might be tempting to make the application process a complex and arduous affair in the hopes that it will weed out the weaker candidates. However, this merely dilutes your candidate pool, funneling away potentially top-notch individuals from applying. Keeping the application process relatively easy will ultimately provide the biggest pool of candidates possible, which gives you a greater chance of finding the perfect fit for your organization.
Let the candidate know immediately what the job description entails and what the preferred qualifications include. Use clear and concise language, compiling everything into easily digestible bullet points. A long, flowery introduction discussing the organization's history, mission statement and goals can wait. A link to the organization's relevant pages on the website can provide this information for interested candidates.
Be upfront and open about the company's mission statement as well as its short- and long-term goals. It doesn't bode well to a candidate if the entire process is couched in secrecy. Being transparent right from the start will instill confidence in a candidate about the viability of the role.
Don't wait until the final moments of the hiring process to discuss compensation and the benefit package. Enter into a conversation about salary early – this provides time to negotiate or otherwise come to different terms so everyone is satisfied. Further, if there's a major and unbridgeable gap between both parties, having an early conversation about compensation can save everyone a lot of time.
Smart candidates can sense when organizations aren't being totally forthcoming, either through vague answers or cryptic email replies. Clear and candid communication throughout the candidate process helps keep everyone on the same page and avoids confusion during the selection process.
6. Time management
Everyone's time is valuable. Blue Signal, a nationwide recruiting firm, noted that the most desired individuals do not have large windows of free time. Highly qualified candidates may have a fully packed day of interviewing, or they might be constrained by their current obligations. Having respect for a candidate's time during individual interviews and throughout the entire process demonstrates how they would be treated if they're hired.
During the vetting process, it can be a good idea to invite other members of the organization to swing by and offer their perspective. Providing an opportunity for a candidate to have a conversation with the hiring manager, peers or other potential coworkers can illustrate how receptive the organization is to collaboration and listening to all the team members.
Inform the candidate what will be expected of him or her within the first 90 days. Applicants see this as an indication that they will be given responsibility and the chance to learn immediately.
9. A Road Map
Prove to the candidate that the open position is not a dead end. Let them know the available career growth options open to them as well as the potential challenges that will require unique and innovative applications of their skill set.
10. A Reason
Once you have gone through the structure and nature of the position, leave the candidate filled with a sense of purpose and a reason for wanting to accept a potential offer for employment. Show great candidates what separates your company from the others in the field and how they'd have the chance to make a difference while still performing their job.
Following a focused, predetermined strategy when engaging in the hiring process ensures hiring managers can attract top talent and begin developing their leadership roles from the beginning.
While these top 10 tips can help a small business look more appealing to top candidates, the best incentives are still financial. The potential new hires with the top-notch qualifications and the best skill sets will ultimately demand a higher salary than their peers. In some instances, companies that don't have the extra resources to offer the type of compensation needed to attract top talent to their organizations can take advantage of a small business loan to gain quick and easy access to that crucial capital.