One of the first things any business owner quickly learns is the importance of building and retaining a good team. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, states it perfectly when he says, “Get the right people in the right seats on the bus (and get the wrong people off the bus).” A wrong hire can seriously derail a company and at a minimum causes a lot of headaches.
For nearly a decade, I was a member of a few different business peer groups. The number one topic that repeatedly came up in our meetings were issues involving employees. One bad hire can consume an owner and managers time and energy. It’s nearly impossible to always hire A+ employees, but there are critically important actions you should take before offering a position in your organization. Here are five steps to recruiting and building a great team.
Step 1: Ensure your company has an excellent reputation. Whether you want to admit it or not, your company’s reputation and culture will either attract or repel good people. Do your current employees love working for your company? Are they your best recruiters? Word spreads quickly about the type of organization and culture you have. Prospective employees use websites like Glass Door and Comparably to quickly make determinations about what kind of reputation your company has. A well-run company with a great culture is like a magnet, attracting like-minded people.
Step 2: A well written and accurate job description is essential. The majority of job descriptions posted online are not inspiring, lack detail and are poorly written. You want your company’s job descriptions to be unique, attractive, and to spark an interest with the right applicants. You want to paint a clear picture of what the position, compensation and benefits are like, what qualities the applicant must have, detailing your company’s core values and what future growth opportunities there may be. Consider having a professional writer help with your job descriptions and postings.
Step 3: Don’t rely solely on job boards. While job boards should certainly be used, they are only one way of finding the right applicants. Referrals from current employees, clients and vendors may be more successful. Consider offering a referral fee to encourage a wider net be cast. Building relationships with local colleges, trade schools and offering internships also can be successful recruiting grounds. Sometimes the best fit for an open position may be to promote a current employee.
Step 4: Slow down your hiring process. Yes, you read this correctly. Slow down your interviewing process! The biggest hiring mistakes typically occur when you’re rushing to fill a position. One of the best ways to ensure a higher probability of finding a great employee is to have prospective applicants go through at least three separate interviews with various people within your organization. By the third interview, you start to see what that applicant may really be like, including qualities like persistence, professionalism, and consistency. Your process should also include background screening, reference checks and reviewing social media.
Step 5: Infuse core values throughout the process. Before discussing the position, talk about your company’s core values and see if they resonate with the applicant. Does the applicant seem to grow more interested in your company when they learn about these values? Ask the applicant what core value they like the most and why? In every interview with the applicant, and with every interviewer, ensure that discussing core values take a high priority. You want to do your best to find applicants that fit and buy into your company’s core values.
My company, a managed services provider based on the Central California coast, has significantly improved our success rate of finding and hiring outstanding employees by following these five steps above. We have twice received the Best Places to Work award by the Pacific Coast Business Times. Our team is located across four states with about half working from home offices. By focusing on building a strong culture, slowing our hiring process and getting feedback from multiple team members before making an offer, we have built a high performing team with very little turnover.