We had a sample board this week for 14 business owners at the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. The most common challenge across all businesses identified was recruiting and retaining talent. What was really interesting was the variety of strategies being employed by the group to recruit and retain. Many were also making common mistakes.
At the same time, companies often make key recruiting mistakes that not only cost them a great candidate but leave them farther behind the competition. In today’s red-hot job market, such mistakes must be avoided at all costs. A few of the business owners had become resigned to the fact that they were small and thus felt they were unable to attract the talent required. However, it became apparent that being small has many advantages.
Avoiding common recruiting mistakes
- Inadequate or misleading job descriptions when you are advertising. If your job postings are poorly worded or inaccurate, you’ll attract the wrong type of candidate. Every job posting should clearly delineate the tasks and responsibilities involved, the types of skills and experience required, and some description of the ideal personality for the job. This will help reduce the quantum and improve the quality of your responses and get you closer to the “perfect” candidate.
- Failing to “sell” your company. Some businesses still don’t understand that the best candidates can pick and choose among many options. They fail to promote their own company’s culture, opportunities for growth, upbeat work environment, and so on. Look at the situation from the job seeker’s perspective and develop compelling answers to these questions:
- Why should I want to work for your company?
- What does your company offer that I can’t find at one of your competitors?
- How do you foresee the company growing in the near future in ways that benefit me and other potential employees?
You’ll see greater interest among job applicants if you answer these questions in an authentic and inspiring manner. The strongest asset you have as a small business is that you have much greater control over the culture of the business. Candidates leave jobs because they don’t like their bosses. However, it is the bosses behaviour that they dislike. Behaviour is a function of the culture in your business. So if you have a great culture, you must articulate what is it like to work at your company. How does it make your staff feel? We have seen 10 fold increases in the number of applicants for certain roles where the posting leads with the culture of the business, not just the skill set the business is seeking to recruit.
- Not making recruitment a systematic process. While every job candidate is different, the recruiting process itself shouldn’t be. A systematic process that encompasses sending CV’s, taking personality tests, conducting background checks, undergoing interviews, etc., is far more likely to yield great results than a haphazard approach. Have a look at our video with the SFA on psychometrics
- Neglecting to leverage social media. If you’re not already using social media to promote your business and attract new talent, now’s the time to get on board. It’s a powerful recruitment tool if you go about it the right way. Here are tips:
- Everything you post on your company’s website and social media platforms—from blog posts to company news, images and videos—should be filtered through the lens of brand awareness and company culture. Always gauge the potential impact of your content through the eyes of prospective employees. Is what you’re posting likely to attract them or turn them off? Are you portraying your business as a place where people would like to work or are you discouraging further interest?
- Boost your recruitment efforts by building ties with social media influencers. Seek out industry influencers with sizable networks, share their content and offer high-quality content of your own. As the relationships grow, you can begin touting job opportunities in your company—reaching a far greater audience than might otherwise be possible.
- Get active on millennial-focused platforms. Explore Snapchat, Instagram and other sites where millennials “hang out.” Building your presence on these sites can result in greater brand awareness among the job-seekers you most wish to attract.
- Rejecting candidates the wrong way. Inevitably, not every candidate will be right for your business. But avoid ending the relationship on a sour note. No one wants a disgruntled job applicant tweeting and posting unfavourable comments about your company based on a bad interview or recruiting experience. You never know when a candidate who wasn’t the right fit might (because he or she remembers how pleasant and approachable your recruiters were) refer a friend or colleague who turns out to be precisely the star employee you are looking for.
All of these recruiting mistakes can be avoided. Sometimes being better is just to stop making errors. That put you on the inside track for recruiting the right candidate for the job.
Want more great tips on recruitment? Download our free whitepaper on how to effectively recruit and hire new talent for your company.