We are in the middle of a hiring Catch-22. A dip in unemployment is a scary prospect, but it also means more qualified employees are now available than before. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic forced more opportunities for remote work, which opens your employee pool to almost anyone.
Yet, hiring is anything but easy these days.
More applicants means more time sifting through resumes, interviewing employees, and evaluating their qualifications down to the most minute details. That’s a lot of time, energy, and money put into filling one position. Since it’s not an exact science, there’s no guarantee you will get it right, either.
While this is a normal quandary for entrepreneurs, it’s magnified right now. Your marketing campaigns are designed to push more work through your doors, and when times get busy, you may wonder if it’s time to start hiring. Newsletter Pro’s CEO and founder, Shaun Buck, likes to say that if you have to ask that question, you probably need to hire someone.
It’s not always easy, but in our experience, we’ve learned 4 simple rules for finding the right people when we need them.
#1: Establish A Clear Cut-Off For Hiring
It’s cumbersome, but the easiest part of hiring is sifting through resumes. This is where you cut most of your applicants. Create a list of vital qualifications and weed out those who just don’t have “it.” Consider these potential must-haves:
- Maximum Salary: Don’t fudge this number. Be honest and remember that you’re not paying someone their full salary in one lump sum. A salary of $40,000 may sound high until you consider that it’s just $153 per day. If you are still interested in a candidate who is asking over your cap, consider reaching out. Some applicants aim high but agree to much less.
- Necessary Professional Qualifications: Does your field require an advanced degree, or would a high school diploma or equivalent suffice? Do applicants need certifications or experience with technology, like Excel? Cut those who don’t meet what you need.
- Obvious Mistakes: Look, we all make mistakes. And no one is perfect at grammar or spelling, but if you see obvious errors in the application process, consider what that could translate to in your business. Don’t dismiss hiring someone for human error; be mindful of when to ignore it.
- Current Or Latest Job: A potential hire’s latest or current place of employment and their responsibilities will tell you a lot. This is where they utilized their most recent skills, so they will bring that energy into the position. Don’t forget to look at time spent at a position, too. Pandemic layoffs have skewed these numbers, but timing can provide you with hiring hints.
#2: Hire For Mindset, Not Skill
Speaking of Excel, you can train anyone to do virtually anything. Skills are a valuable asset to a candidate, and you should establish your own parameters when hiring. However, many skills — outside of degrees and licensure — still require some form of in-house training. This makes a candidate’s current skill set much less advantageous than a candidate’s attitude or mindset.
Throughout the hiring process, look for red flags. Are they late to respond or forgetful? Are they rude and impersonal or thoughtful and deliberate? Are they cautious or do they approach with a “can-do” spirit? Determine what you need and favor candidates who have it — even if their skills might be lacking.
#3: Test It Out
Every business has a unique style, and you have to hire people who will fit into that mold. Don’t force your culture to fit around one person. (Of course, if you need to change your company culture, that’s a different story. It could potentially require you to hire outside of your company culture.)
A company’s culture can influence the work your employees do, too. Understanding how your applicants would respond and interact in real scenarios is vital to ensuring you hire the right person. Once you move into the interview stages of the hiring process, you have to test out potential employees in two ways.
- Test Their Knowledge: Provide sample tests of the work you would expect them to do. Include 1–2-page instructions on how to complete the assignment and give a firm deadline. Typically, 48 hours is reasonable.
- Test Their Connection: One of the best parts of the hiring process is when your employees meet your candidates. Leave it to your current employees to help you decide which of the 2 or 3 candidates best fit your team. (You should have the ultimate say, of course.)Set up meet-and-greets with your team and each candidate. Ask the applicant to talk a little bit about themselves, then open it up to the team for questions. Keep these fun! Ask about their hobbies, families, favorite TV shows, and personality traits. These questions should reflect your company culture, and those that fit best will converse naturally!
#4: Train And Treat Them Right
The biggest part of the hiring process is often the one missed the most. Anyone can strike gold and find the ideal candidate. But unless you train and treat them right, they will leave, and you will lose out.
Employee churn is expensive, and not just in what it costs to onboard a new employee or fire a bad one. If your employee pool is running like a turnstile in a stadium, then your customers are feeling the brunt of working with new people on a regular basis and possibly even having to train your employees!
Offer market rates, if not more, to make your business a lucrative spot where employees actually want to stay. Supplement that by properly training your employees. Some departments at Newsletter Pro train for 3 months after hiring, but it should also be continuous for everyone!
Regular training on market trends, crisis communication, socioeconomic issues, technical skills, and more are necessary to business and employee growth. Nothing says, “I want you to stick around” better than more money and greater education.
Hiring Doesn’t Have To Be Complex
There’s a lot of uncertainty in hiring right now, but the opportunity is exciting! Don’t waste it. Your applicant pool is bigger than ever, and with a few simple rules in place, you can create a hiring process that actually fulfills your needs.
Once you do that, your company growth won’t seem so intimidating. You will have the right team of people supporting your goals.