The Entrepreneur’s Advantage in Recruiting

5 Changes You Can Make to Your Hiring Process Today To Give You A Competitive Edge

Hiring the right person in the right role at the right time for the right price… seems to be the million-dollar mystery.  

Blog posts and articles on the importance of hiring for culture fit flood our news feeds, but few offer cost-effective, practical advice. A question I get asked at least once a week is, “How can I, a small business owner who doesn’t have Toyota’s deep pockets or Southwest Airline’s recruiting team, complete for talent?”

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing you’ve always done the way you’ve always done it and expecting different results. It’s time to stop the insanity.

I firmly believe that the small business, the entrepreneurial organization that is founder-led, the nimble, risk-taking, willing to change business, has a significant advantage over large corporations when it comes to hiring the right people.

Yes. You read that correctly.

Fixing your recruiting process doesn’t mean you need to spend large amounts of cash.

Here are five changes you can make today to help ensure you’re not losing people to an ill-conceived recruiting process. And there are no costs involved!

Stop posting job descriptions.

No, not in a Zappos Insider way, although I think that’s super cool! You don’t have to stop advertising your job openings. But try posting culture statements instead of just job requirements. Promote what makes your business unique. Start by asking your current employees how they would describe what it’s like to work for you. Listen to the words they use to label your organization and express how they feel about their workplace environment. Incorporate that into your ads.

Give up the sales pitch.

You need a well-crafted and targeted message, but not a one-size-fits-all pick-up-line that sounds like it came straight out off the Internet. Compose a value proposition that explains the emotional benefits and psychic compensation your employees perceive from working with you. Don’t be afraid to vary the value prop team by team or department by department.

PRO TIP: While you’re giving up the sales pitch, it’s still necessary to market your company. Include your value proposition(s) on your career page, in your job ads, on Facebook, and LinkedIn, (and anywhere else your business has a presence.) Talk about it in your initial phone calls with potential candidates and demonstrate it during your interviews.

Lose the application.

Or, at least move it. With resumes and LinkedIn profiles, you don’t need to capture work history and contact information again. There are absolutely legal needs for a legitimate application, but it does not need to be completed before you even meet the person. Disclaimer: If you need to meet OFCCP or similar guidelines, please consult an attorney!

Pro Tip: Apply to your own job postings at least once a year. Feel the experience of what it’s like to be on the other side so that you can find opportunities to improve the process.

Respect your prospects.

Candidates are people, too. They may already be working, or have other commitments that prevent them from spending 5 hours applying to your open job. While I understand the desire to make candidates jump through hoops to prove themselves to you, their very first interaction with your company is NOT the time for that. Follow the golden rule – treat your applicants the way that you would want to be treated.

Include your employees in the interview process.

A-players love to work with other A-players. They’re inspired by greatness and want to surround themselves with it. So, ask your A-players to participate in your selection process.  Allow your candidates an opportunity to ask real questions of the people they will be working with every day. Give your employees the freedom and security to answer those questions truthfully. It’s much better to find out someone will hate their job BEFORE you hire them.

Provide feedback.

Timely feedback. At every step in the process. Candidates’ number one complaint about the job search process is that they never hear back from prospective employers. Even if someone is not a fit, you don’t know who they know or how active they are on social media. Negative news travels fast. Every single applicant should have such a great experience with your company that they tell everyone they know to apply, even if they didn’t get the job.

What other recruiting tips do you have for the entrepreneurial marketplace? Are there things that have worked for you that I didn’t mention? Sharing is caring! Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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