When an employee leaves or a sudden surge in the volume of business necessitates a quick hire, hiring someone as quickly as possible becomes a priority. The caveat, however, is that the new hire must be qualified, fit within the organizational culture, and meet the budgetary restraints. This is no easy task and one of the biggest and most frustrating challenges for most small businesses and organizations.
This challenge is further exacerbated in times of near full employment when HR departments and recruiters are experiencing difficulties getting a sufficient number of candidates through the door, not to mention finding one that ticks all of the boxes for the position. It is also important to keep in mind that hiring is both a business decision and a people decision, and these two considerations must be balanced appropriately. Fortunately, there are several things that businesses can do to make this process smooth and as quick as possible.
- Keep those job descriptions up-to-date! Unfortunately, due to bandwidth constraints or simply “out of sight, out of mind,” keeping job descriptions current often falls by the wayside. Hiring Managers should make sure that job descriptions for their employees and positions are current at all times so that when the need suddenly strikes, they don’t lose 1-2 days re-writing or updating old job descriptions. Job descriptions should also be clear and thorough so as to best manage expectations between you (the employer) and the prospective candidate.
- Ask for referrals from your current employees. This is one of the most often overlooked means of recruiting good candidates. Your current employees will have a better idea of whether or not their contacts would be a good fit for a position as well as the corporate culture and office environment. It also allows for a more known quantity with the added assurance that a current employee is unlikely to refer someone who they are not reasonably convinced is going to do a good job.
- Constant recruiting! Even if you don’t currently have a job opening, it is helpful to constantly be on the lookout for potential future candidates, particularly for high-turnover positions. This can either be done actively by posting frequently needed positions on job boards or more passively by including a resume submission form on your website, following up with candidates who submit their resumes and adding them to your candidate database.
- Organize your interview process. Come up with a standard interview process, including asking candidates the same questions so they can be compared and calibrated equally against each other. You should also assign specific roles and focus areas to your interviewers ahead of time, so you can ensure a smoother, more efficient, and effective interview process.
- Be ready to move fast! This one is especially important in today’s current job market, with unemployment at historic lows. Of course, this doesn’t mean cutting corners on things like reference checks, but you need to be prepared to strike with an offer letter while the iron is still hot. If your organization is typically slow to deliberate major decisions, you should discuss with the stakeholders in advance so that everyone is on the same page in terms of the urgency of moving quickly to secure a hire.
For many small businesses and organizations, particularly those without a robust internal HR department, there may not be enough bandwidth to implement the above recommendations. Therefore, another viable option to ensure that you can hire the most qualified candidates as quickly as possible is to outsource at least part of the hiring process to a staffing agency.
There are many advantages to working with staffing agencies as they can help you to refine your processes, enhance your job descriptions, as well as provide access to their proprietary candidate databases with large numbers of pre-qualified candidates. While there are additional costs involved in working with a staffing agency, you will often save money in the end by saving on both time and administrative costs, particularly when it comes to those urgent hires.