Managing Your Business
Start the year with a hiring initiative: 4 essential strategies
The start of a new year marks an exciting time for small businesses to refresh with success—and keep the momentum going. In the New Starts for a New Year series, Chase helps you begin the year on a high note by taking advantage of opportunities for growth and efficiency.
The beginning of a new calendar year is when many small businesses begin to search for new talent and fill open roles. But if you're running a small-to-medium enterprise, you might be running a lean team. And if you wait until you're ready to fill a position to prepare for the hiring process, you could run out of time or resources to find the right person for the role.
The wrong hire can also be an expensive mistake.
A study showed that smaller companies spend an average of $5,380 per new hire—which is more than larger companies. If you are hiring this year—even if it's a few months down the line—you'll want to get ahead now, be ready to accept applications and onboard hires quickly.
If you don't already have a hub for hiring, start by pooling your existing documentation from past hiring efforts in a centralized folder. Collect all relevant information: account information for job listing websites, current and past job descriptions, standardized or automated communications and any other documentation that you return to each time you hire and onboard a new employee. From here, you can determine if your process is working and which areas are undocumented, or aren't completed consistently.
Ready for the next step?
Here's what you can do next to create an efficient hiring process:
1. Define hiring steps
Communicate clearly with your team about their roles in the process as well as prospective applicants about what to expect. Even if your hiring procedures aren't seamless, it's crucial that every person involved in hiring understands the process.
Make an up-to-date overview of the basic hiring process available to all team members, detailing responsibilities. If multiple team members are involved in hiring, try to create a system that details roles, ensures accountability and keeps the process moving.
2. Attract the right applicants
Some job-seekers may be looking for startup-style perks, but the size of your business may preclude you from offering things like expensive gym memberships or catered lunches. It's a mistake to see this as a bad thing—one major benefit of working for a small business is the tight-knit community, and you want to bring employees into your organization who value what you can offer.
Write job descriptions with the goal of capturing your company and its culture effectively—not impressing applicants with benefits you don't have. (Be upfront about benefits packages, and try not to imply flexibility in starting salaries if there isn't any.)
Create an enthusiastic, informative description of your company, incorporating input and feedback from your team to include in each job description—even if the job listing is on your company website. Eliminate ill-suited candidates by making sure all prospects actually understand the core business, not just the role they're applying for—this should render more qualified, interested applicants, who are more likely to accept an offer.
3. Keep the pipeline open and organized
No matter how many talented individuals apply, you want to continue attracting prospects to your company—you never know who might see a job listing. As a business owner, though, you can't do all of that work yourself. The easiest way to keep applicants flowing in is to create a systematized process for your hiring pipeline. Good HR software can help with this to show you who's applied, who's been screened (and done the screening) and when onsite interviews are scheduled. This will make sure you and your team are not overwhelmed with applications, interviews or onboarding, but ready for the right candidates should they apply.
Make certain you tell applicants when they can expect to hear from you, and what the hiring process entails. Either upon receiving an application, or after an applicant passes an initial screening, create a quick-reply thanking them for applying, and giving a broad timeline for a response. This will save your team time, and give applicants peace of mind while they wait to hear back.
4. Prepare for the onboarding (and paperwork) process
Now that you are getting a handle on documentation and process, any job listings, applicants' paperwork and official communications should all be filed moving forward. Not only is this HR best practice, but it will also save you time writing descriptions and external communication to applicants if you ever need to fill this role again.
Once an applicant is approved for an interview, go ahead and give them a general idea of the steps from application to first day on the job—i.e. you will schedule a phone interview, and if moved forward to the next round, an in-office interview, followed by a case-study or code test, background check and then job offer. If possible, estimate the timeframe for each step. Plus, a streamlined onboarding process doesn't just help you: a survey from the Society for Human Research Management indicated that 69% of hires who went through an efficient onboarding process were more likely to stay with a company for three years.
Hiring is a company-wide initiative—each aspect of the process should be clear to everyone involved. Kick off your 2019 hiring initiative by focusing now on what you can do to improve before the New Year, and prepare your team for new hires to come.
Margaret Spencer is a Chase News contributor. Her work has appeared in the Fundera Ledger.