Attracting the best candidates is essentially a marketing game and here are some rules that have been tried and tested:
1 Become a continuous talent spotter
Great business owners – often unconsciously – are continuously on the lookout for talent. If you only start looking when there is a gap – it is too late.
Invest time in setting up a manageable, systematised recruitment process designed to attract a large pool of applicants on the basis of who they are, as well as what skills and abilities they have. These steps will ensure that candidates deselect themselves in the early stages, which will save you time.
3 Filter on best “fit”, then abilities
Many employers make the mistake of limiting numbers to make the process “manageable” by focusing solely on skills and past experience. While these are important, fit is critical – you can always teach skills but not disposition.
4 Have clear job descriptions and how-to manuals
Set staff up for success – especially newcomers – by providing manuals that spell out what has to be done, how, how frequently and to what standard. Broad-brush strokes go into the job description and the details go in the procedures or how-to manual.
5 Attract talent with a great advert
This ad is as much a “marketing effort” as a product or service ad. After all, you want to convince talent to work for you rather than your competition. Make sure the advert includes not only what they need to do, but also who they need to be and why working for you would be a great decision; speak their “dispositional” language.
6 Use an application form
Draw up a detailed application form and ask questions like why the candidate thinks they are right for the hob, and why they want to work for you. This will help you to compare apples with apples. Interestingly many potential applicants will deselect themselves at this stage because they can’t be bothered to fill out a form and will just send a CV.
7 Always talk face-to-face
Set appointments to interview all prospects on your shortlist. Ask all of them the same questions so you stay objective. Use questions designed to elicit examples of behaviour and not opinions and follow a format suited for the role. For example a group interview works well for sales where abilities to persuade can be demonstrated.
8 Get references but not the ones they list
Before the final interview get permission to talk to all previous employers. Start by verifying CV experience like job title, reason for leaving and salary and then ask if they’d re-employ the person. How this question gets answered will tell you a lot.
9 Use a personality profile
Think of the cost of not getting an optimal fit; this outweighs the cost of testing applicants.
10 Make an offer and then discuss the package
Any questions about salary before this point are premature as you need time to assess the prospect’s ability to fit the position and their level of interest in the position.
11 Use a great contract
A good contract is worth its weight in gold. A cheap download off the web is not a sensible investment.
12 Induct new employees
Don’t dump the new hire in the deep end, rather set them up for success by taking the time to show them the ropes, introduce them to the team and customers, give them the manuals, and check in with them.
*Kathi Clarke is an Industrial Psychologist, international award winning and certified ActionCOACH Business & Executive Coach and a growth expert. With over 25 years’ experience in growing corporate businesses in five different African countries, she returned to Cape Town in 2010 and has successfully helped more than 50 entrepreneurs to significantly grow their profits, develop entrepreneurial muscle and enjoy the lifestyle which prompted them to start their own business in the first place.