4 useful tips for a small business hiring strategy

The modern business environment is vastly different than it was even just a few years ago, and these changes have affected every aspect of starting and managing a company. Some of these evolutions are readily apparent – it is impossible to miss the myriad ways that the internet has affected the keys to marketing your business, for example – but other less noticeable alterations are no less consequential.

The hiring process, for example, has changed drastically in the last decade or so, and firms that hope to continue expanding and improving need to understand the current landscape. Changes to technology, business philosophies  and growth strategies have all upended age-old hiring techniques, and companies that don’t adapt to the new thoughts will find themselves with an unprepared staff.

Here are some tips for bringing your hiring strategy into the 21st century.

Clearly define the job
The expanded reach of the internet has meant that there is a larger market for each opening than ever before. Subsequently, job seekers have begun searching for ever-narrower positions. Instead of looking for copywriter jobs, for example, many job hunters are searching for more specific titles such as content writer, infographic designer or social media manager. As a small business owner, you must recognize this and define your open positions as precisely as possible.

Not only will this help you attract the right people, it will also save you time in identifying strong candidates, responding to applicants and weeding out unqualified individuals. Before you post an open position, sit down with the people in your company who will have direct contact with the new worker and hash out the correct title and specific responsibilities. Doing this correctly will require you to envision exactly what this person will be responsible for and what skills he or she will need to possess to fulfill the obligations.

Advertise
In years past, filling a position was a fairly straightforward process: enlist the help of a recruiting firm, advertise in one or two newspapers and solicit recommendations. Today, though, the task of hiring a new worker is much more complex. In addition to taking the aforementioned steps, you will need to have a comprehensive social media strategy and an intimate understanding of your industry. For example, most sectors now have their own tools for connecting job seekers with openings. Journalismjobs.com and Nurse.com are two examples of industry-specific online resources. Understanding the constantly evolving landscape of online hiring will help you find the best candidates and ultimately improve your company.

Make time
The increasingly complicated hiring process means that you can no longer relegate the task to a few hours at the end of the week. Instead, you must treat the process as the valuable and time-worthy obligation that it is. Devote as much time as you need to trawling the internet for candidates, researching trends and interviewing potential employees. Once you find the right fit, you will realize that the extra effort was well worth your time.

Trial periods
One new trend that has had an outsized impact of the job-filling process is the emergence of the trial period. This is especially pertinent for small business owners, who often don’t have the resources to commit fully to an employee they are unsure about. As the regulations surrounding healthcare and other benefits have become more codified, it has become more important for companies to feel confident about the people they bring onto their payrolls. When you hire a new person, you may want to consider putting them on a temporary trial period at first so that you can more easily replace them if the need arises.

Another related strategy is to use employees from staffing firms or contract workers to gain preliminary insight into the ideal candidate before you even start your search. This strategy is useful because it can allow you to create a more precise job description before you start looking for candidates. Furthermore, it allows you to see what type of personality traits and professional experiences are important for the position.

Understand the market
Knowing what today’s job hunters want from a career can help you tailor your offer to be as attractive as possible. These days, inducements besides salary – such as benefits, stability and room for growth – are increasingly important. Taking these factors into account and creating a compensation package that is better suited for the modern climate can help you attract more talented workers, and potentially lead to a better fit.

“It’s not about the money,” Mark Dyson, CEO of Competitive Resumes, told NuWire Investor. “Many new hires would be interested in long-term employment and commitment if the job fits into their lifestyle.”

 

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Martin Jones

Martin Jones is a Senior Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he assists in leading strategy, campaign ideation and marketing execution for Cox Business social media & content marketing. Today, over 1 million fans engage with Cox Communications content, campaigns and Customer Care on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube. LinkedIn and Google+.