Recruiting Tips for Small Business Employers

The recruiting of new staff can be a time consuming task for most small businesses. All that work in advertising, interviewing and starting someone can be expensive if it comes undone with a bad hire.

In a small to medium business where every employee is important and carries weight, a bad hire can severely affect a small business employer. Depending on the role it can set back a business months or years or even spell the end of it.

A few statistics to consider around recruiting:

Over 50% of the people recruited in to an organisation will leave within two years.

  • One in four people recruited will leave within six months.
  • Nearly 70% of organisations report that staff turnover has a negative impact.
  • Nearly 70% of organisations report having difficulties in replacing staff.
  • Approximately 50% of organisations experience regular problems with employee retention.
  • Cost of staff turnover is anywhere between half and three times the cost of salary.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers Private Business Barometer found that for the second barometer in a row, sourcing talent was the top issue for employers.

But what can you do to improve your ability to attract and hire the right person? Here are some recruiting tips and advice to improve your recruiting process:

1: Company VisionWhy would they come to work for you?

Having a clear concise vision for your business that is easily understood can drive candidates to your business. Candidates are looking for like minded businesses and can more easily picture themselves working for you if you have a vision that fits with their ideal workplace. A great company vision focuses current and prospective employees on where you want your business to go.

2: Core Values – what attitude do you want your employees to have?

The core values of a company are those values you hold which form the foundation on which your staff perform work and conduct themselves. Setting a list of core values for your business is very important in getting employees to have the right attitude to drive your business forward. A positive workplace culture is very important these days in attracting and retaining employees.

3: Profile – Who do you want working for you?

Businesses are always profiling their perfect customers or suppliers, but how many profile their ideal new employees? Who is your ideal worker for the role at hand? Take the time to write down all the attributes of your ideal employee – you may not actually get that exact person but you’ll be closer than if you didn’t undertake this task. Remember the task is to look for positive aspects, not weeding candidates out through negative aspects (discrimination).

4: Job Description – What are they going to do for you?

If you don’t have a job description, how can you explain the role to the candidates or even know who you are looking for? If you are recruiting to replace an employee – try reviewing the role and reviewing the job description. Having a position description at the ready also makes your business look good to candidates.

5: Now write the Job AdSell the business to potential candidates

Use all the elements of the first four steps to write your job ad. Use it to sell your business to the jobseekers reading it. Remember your job ad is competing against all the other job ads so it needs to stand out. Make sure your vision and values are stated and you use the profile and job description to frame who you want to apply and what they will be doing.

6: Now for the InterviewsThis is a two way process for you and the candidate to ask questions

The applications are in, and you’ve shortlisted some candidates based on your criteria over the first few steps…so now for the interviews. This is an opportunity for both you and the candidate to discover if they are right for the role and the role is right for them.

Interviewing candidates is time consuming so put some thought into it and prepare some questions.

Phone interviews…

  1. Develop a set list of interview questions.
  2. Look to gauge interest: phone manners, technical ability and communication skills.
  3. Filter out the ones not suitable and save time and money on the face to face interviews.

Face to face interviews…

  1. Have an application form.
  2. Develop a set list of interview questions.
  3. Include a technical test for candidates.
  4. Include a written section of the questions.
  5. Include questions around your Core Values.
  6. Have them sign off on the interview questions.
  7. Conduct a second round of one on one interviews to follow up any concerns or questions from the first round.

By having a prepared set list of questions for each candidate you can more easily compare them and you can also reduce a discrimination accusation. If you have a role that requires technical know-how – make sure you test people on it – it’s not something you want to regret later. Make sure you get a sense of someone’s ability to read and write by including a section where they have to write answers to questions – ie/ hypothetical situations. This is particularly important in roles requiring communication with customers and/or suppliers.

By including questions on your core values you can more easily identify people aligned with your business culture.

7: Reference ChecksGet the fullest picture possible of who you are considering to hire

Have a set list of questions to ask their referees so you can compare. Make sure you follow up on claims of achievements and get an idea of what they like to work with. Consider doing a Google search on their name as well. It can be well worth researching the background of candidates and there are plenty of cases where businesses have been made to regret not doing due diligence. Better to be safe than sorry.

8: Use an Employment AgreementSet expectations of their performance and behaviour in writing

So you’ve finally decided on a candidate. They’ve ticked off all your boxes and they are ready to start with your business. So many small businesses still don’t use an employment agreement of any type when employing people. If it isn’t written down – it didn’t happen. You can bring great financial risk to your business by failing to use an agreement. If you do not document your expectations of their employ with you and their performance and behaviour – what usually happens? It is much harder to argue your case in court if you have nothing written down, signed and agreed to.

9: Orientations and InductionsGuide your new recruit into the business

Make an impression with your new hires and leave nothing to chance by having a structured orientation and induction program. The sooner you make new employees comfortable and productive in their new role the sooner your new hire will bond with your business. Include any necessary OHS information as well so that you don’t get an accident in the first week. Also have new staff sign off on their inductions and orientations.

So in summary…

  1.  Profile the ideal employee for that role – skills, personality, etc
  2. Write out the position description – know what they are going to do.
  3. Write the job ad using the above – and sell your business in the ad.
  4. Prepare Q’s in advance for the phone and face to face interviews.
  5. Make sure the candidate knows what is expected of them.
  6. Do reference checks – and ask around, Google them.
  7. Use an employment agreement.
  8. Induct them into the business.

Other things you can consider are:

  •  psychometric testing to get a fuller the picture of the candidate
  • alternative recruiting sources – online, social media, your website or word of mouth

Many small to medium businesses often only use steps 5 and 6 of the list above and hire the candidate on a handshake. For whatever reason (time, money…etc) you might not use all the steps listed here, but the more you use the better the bottom line result for your business in the long run.

Whether you employ one, a few or dozens of people you are introducing risk to your business. So creating a refining your own recruitment process is just as important as your marketing and sales strategy.

Give your business the best chance of success and attract and recruit the best people available.

Feel free to contact us for any assistance in developing your recruiting process or documentation.

recruiting tips

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