Employees are the mechanism by which a business is able to run. If you want your business to run at a high caliber, then those employees need to also be of a high caliber. Having a company with good employees doesn’t just magically happen overnight, though. It requires you to meet their needs at the hiring stage and continually evolve to meet their needs throughout their employment.
Getting quality people into your company from the start will set the tone and get things moving in the right direction, which is why the hiring process deserves time, effort and most importantly, careful consideration. In order for you to be able to hire quality people, however, quality people need to apply. The way to attract them is through marketing, which is done in much the same way as you market to customers. If your company has won awards, let people know. Emphasize the aspects of your company that you’re proud of. People want to work for a high-quality company, so let them know just how high of quality you are.
Now comes the actual hiring process. Here is a simple six-step process to hiring good employees.
Create a detailed ad and job description that accurately reflect the position.
List the set of skills you are looking for, the different roles that need to be filled, the necessary education and experience levels of the applicants, and the personality traits that are important to the position and the company. Once you’ve compiled this information, writing a detailed ad shouldn’t take long. Having a structured and highly detailed ad can prevent many unqualified people from applying for the position. Once the ad is assembled, post it on the Internet, in local newspapers or anywhere else where you think the right people might see it. Within a few days you should start to receive resumes.
Sift through the resumes
Once the resumes are in, start sorting them out. This can be a painstaking process, but as long as you know ahead of time exactly what you’re looking for, it doesn’t have to be. Simply separate the resumes into three piles—“definitely qualified,” “definitely not qualified” and “somewhere in the middle.” Continue to narrow the field, eliminating those “definitely not qualified,” until you’ve reached a manageable number. Remember, more does not always mean better. Whether you receive twice as many applications as you expected or half as many, as long as you are receiving quality resumes, you’re on the right track.
Perform preliminary phone interviews
Before you meet face-to-face with your qualified applicants, make sure that they are at least a possibility for the position and don’t have any attributes that would make them unable to perform the necessary tasks. In order to do that you are going to have to conduct preliminary phone interviews. Start by developing a list of questions. The questions should not require long-winded answers. They are meant to be quick and easy questions that weed out applicants that aren’t right for the position. For example, if the position you are trying to fill requires a fair amount of traveling, ask applicants how they feel about that. If some applicants aren’t up for it, then eliminate them. Or you can ask how much money they expect to make. If certain numbers far exceeds what you are capable of paying, then you can eliminate those people as well. Make sure that you are using the same set of questions for each applicant when conducting the interviews. There needs to be a basis for comparison.
Conduct face-to-face interviews
After you’ve narrowed the field down to a handful of qualified possibilities, schedule face-to-face interviews. At this point in the process you already know the education, experience and basic set of skills of each applicant. This is your opportunity to ask more in-depth questions. Find out whether they are introverted or extroverted, open-minded or close-minded. Assess their behaviors and the different personalities of each. The face-to-face interview is a chance for you to see how the applicant might fit in to the company’s dynamic. Again, be consistent with your questioning and maintain a fairly structured environment. You’ll want the interview to flow smoothly and be conversational, but you don’t want to get too far off track.
Run a background check
Running a background check can shed some light on unforeseeable issues. You might find that an applicant has a problematic criminal record or that information on his or her resume is false. You can search the Web for companies that perform background checks. Performing a background check online is easy and convenient, but it’s not free, so be prepared to spend a little money.
Select the candidate who is the best fit
One thing to remember when making your final decision is that the most qualified applicant is not always the right choice. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this person, possibly very stressful time, so make sure you choose someone who isn’t going to drive you crazy. Obviously the person has to be a good fit for the position, but he or she also has to fit well with you and be able to grow with the company. If an applicant is intelligent, eager and open-minded, the training will be easy and the skills will develop on their own.
Bringing good employees into your company is only half the battle; keeping them there is the other half. Now that you’ve got them, you’re going to have to put a little work into keeping them happy.
There are two basic categories that most forms of employee retention fall under—monetary and non-monetary. Monetary retention is pretty self-explanatory. If any of your quality employees are looking to move on to greener pastures, you pay them to stay. Providing monetary benefits certainly has an effect on many employees, but there are also a great deal of employees out there who are looking for something that money can’t buy. On top of that, it’s nice to have something to offer employees when you can’t afford to simply off them more money.
One thing that many employees look for is flexibility. If you feel like any of your employees are starting to stray, pull them aside for a little chat. Talk to them and find out what steps you can take to make their lives better and easier. If there are certain tasks that an employee doesn’t need to be in the office for, then allow him or her to work from home on occasion if that’s what is going to help out the employee. Sometimes it’s just as simple as letting employees work out their own schedules. If the work is not sensitive to any particular day or time, let employees work when it’s most convenient for them, so long as they are still accomplishing the same amount of work. Another retention tool to keep in your arsenal is vacation. Employees have lives outside of work, lives that are very important to them, so don’t underestimate the power of extra time off.
Non-monetary benefits don’t stop at flexibility. Many times employees just want a work environment where they feel comfortable, not tense. Even if everything else is suitable, an unsatisfying workplace atmosphere can be enough to cause any employee to want to quit. Make the physical environment bright and cheery. Give employees free reign to voice their opinion, respectfully of course, and have a little fun. Employees that dread going to work rarely stay long. They are also not nearly as productive as happy employees, so keep lines of communication free and clear so that you can make work an enjoyable place for everyone.