A growing business is a healthy business. As your business grows, you will naturally require more human resources to support increasing demand. However, your business may be growing so fast that you can’t seem to recruit and hire people fast enough.
According to research done by Glassdoor, the average length of a hiring process in the U.S. is 23 days. Unfortunately, when your business is growing rapidly, you can’t always afford to take your time bringing on staff. However, you also can’t afford the high costs and potential disasters that come with making bad hires.
So, how can you support rapid growth without falling into the hasty hiring trap? Here are a few ways to speed up hiring without sacrificing quality.
Tighten your interview process
If it is taking too long to hire the right candidate, take a look at your interview process. Many companies hit this hurdle because they have too many interview stages that qualified candidates have to complete. Do you require multiple phone interviews followed by two or three in-person interviews with nearly every member of your team? Try sticking to a maximum of two to three interviews total (phone and in-person) and use some of the other methods discussed in this article, including background checks, reference calls and skills tests to assess your candidates’ abilities.
Create focused job descriptions
Your job description should make it very clear what the expectations are for the position. Map out the responsibilities for the role, and the skills and qualifications the ideal candidate will need to have to be successful. Having this information written down and in-hand will make it much easier to sort through resumes and discard ones that aren’t the right fit. You will only spend your time speaking with the very top candidates.
Attract a wide applicant pool
If you are getting frustrated with the amount of time it is taking to find the right candidate, the problem could be that you’re not attracting a wide enough applicant pool. A great way to recruit is to ask existing employees to recommend people they know for open positions. Perhaps offer a monetary incentive that is paid after the applicant is hired and successfully works for the company through a certain initial probationary period (usually 90 days). Hiring a staffing agency or a recruiter can also help.
Budget-conscious ways to advertise the job include taking advantage of free online resources, such as Monster.com or Glassdoor, utilizing ad space on relevant trade websites and industry job boards, and posting on your company’s social networks.
Run background checks
No matter whom you hire, you need to know that you can trust them. When you decide on your top candidate and extend an offer of employment, it is a good idea to make the offer conditional, pending successful completion of a background check. Background checks can tell you a lot about a person, shining a light on any criminal history they might have, verifying their education and past employment and more.
If you discover something on a background check that makes you reconsider an employee, be sure to familiarize yourself with all state and federal laws, and restrictions before taking any adverse action (such as rescinding the original offer of employment). In certain cases, an applicant might have a criminal infraction that precludes them from performing a job. For instance, a registered sex offender cannot legally hold any job that involves working with children. However, the existence of a criminal record is not grounds to disqualify a person from employment consideration. You must assess the relevance of any criminal convictions to the position at hand. Other factors—such as the amount of time that has passed since the conviction—are also important to consider.
In addition, before taking adverse action against a job candidate because of background check findings, you must comply with all rules laid forth in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The FCRA requires that you notify the candidate of your decision, provide the candidate with a copy of the background check, give the candidate contact information for the company that prepared the background check report, and inform the candidate that he or she can dispute the accuracy of the report—among other steps. Click here to learn more about FCRA compliance.
Ask for references upfront
Checking references is another great way to find out if candidates are being truthful about their professional experiences. This can help you quickly find confidence in the person or people you are hiring. To save time, don’t wait until you’ve whittled down your applicant pool to two or three finalists to ask for references. Checking the references of top candidates early on (perhaps between the phone and in-person interviews) can cut a surprisingly large chunk of time off your hiring process.
Require a skills test
A great tactic for determining if someone has the hard skills to do the job is asking them to complete a skills test. This will allow you to assess if their abilities are aligned with your needs. For instance, if the job is one of project management, you can describe a common scenario and ask them to draft how they would organize the project, and implement tasks to meet budgets and deadlines. A potential content manager could be given a timed writing assignment on a topic of your choice. You can ask someone applying for your graphic design position to put together a quick layout with images and content you provide.
The goal here is to keep the test simple enough to require a minimal amount of time for both their work and your review but challenging enough that only someone with a solid skill set in the area you are hiring for could complete to the standards you have set. This can be given after the initial phone interview as a method to further weed out candidates who won’t make it to the final, in-person interview stage.
Differentiate yourself from the competition
If you find that you are struggling to recruit favorable candidates because you are losing them to the competition, consider sweetening your offer. While few small businesses have a limitless budget for salary and benefits, it sometimes may be cheaper in the long haul to offer competitive packages and desirable employee perks that help you attract and retain the right people.
Working with a professional employer organization (PEO) can help you provide your employees with a competitive and comprehensive benefits package. This gives your small business the ability to compete with an offering that rivals larger companies. This can go a long way to attracting and retaining key team members.
In conclusion, there are many benefits to speeding up the hiring process but only if it is done strategically, without rushing. You will be able to find the right people to support your growing business, avoid the productivity costs of a long and meandering hiring process, and snatch up the best candidates before someone else hires them.
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