How to build a kickass team part 4: The recruitment process
Step #1: Create a solid job ad & job description
First of all you need to know the difference between a job ad and a job description. So here are the definitions:
Job ad: the posting that you make on job boards, job aggregators, your website, the newspaper or on any other type of posting platform. Includes the job description, information about the compensation and how to apply for the position. It’s used to really sell the business.
Job description: the document that you create to outline the job requirements, job tasks and what the person should expect from this position. Job descriptions are generally a condensed version of the job ad and can be placed in the addendum of your offer letter.
We did an interview with Rob Boersma from Neuvoo who talked on the topic of job aggregators and tips for writing an awesome job description, make sure to check out the video for all the tips and tricks!
ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System, they are an awesome tool that you can put into place for hiring that eliminates the need to have folders or excel spreadsheets filled with information about the candidates you have had apply for your job. The ATS creates a pipeline for you and the rest of your hiring team to see exactly what is going on and who you need to review, check up with or call for that day. They also generally allow you to post on job boards directly from the ATS and create a careers page that can be integrated with your current website. ATS’s are essential to the recruitment process as it automates and organizes your workflow and allows for team collaboration. When we do hiring for our clients we are able to collaborate and the potential candidates, send notes to each other and view everything in the same convenient place. Having everyone on the same page as to what is going on is crucial to an efficient hiring process.
A concept which we have taken from the marketing world! They use to test out different landing pages, email campaigns, title names etc to see which one brings the most traffic to your various marketing efforts. We use this in marketing for the same purpose. When you are creating your job ad its good to think up 2 or 3 different job titles that might also be fitting for the job you are trying to hire for such as: administrative assistant, office assistant, front desk manager might all be fitting for the role you are trying to hire. You would then post all three of those job titles out there with the same job description under it and see which one gains the most traction in a 1–1.5 week period. Traction is just one of things that can decide on a successful job title, you may also want to consider which job ad had the highest conversion to a potential good candidate. Front desk manager may bring in the highest number of people but the lowest amount of candidates with the skills required to fulfill that position. You wouldn’t want to continue using that job title, even though it is bringing in lots of applicants, they are not relevant to what you are searching for. Other things you can test out with AB testing is; providing the compensation versus not, changing around the order of the requirements, showing the work hours etc. By the end of week 2 you should have a solid idea of what combination of variables work for attracting the people you want.
Once you have your candidates pouring into your pipeline and you have reviewed their resumes and started to see which ones you think have potential it’s time to do phone screening. This step is important to ensure that those who you are going to meet in person really do fit with what you are looking for. Phone screening should be no longer than 15 minutes, this is time to do the following three things; verify their experience, ask them what their goals are for the next 5 years and find out why they are interested to work with you. It is important in this stage to ask the same questions to all the candidates so that you have a point of comparison. Don’t be turned away by an employees whose goal isn’t to stay with you 5 years from now or is to be in a position that you don’t have open. It is normal that after 2 years candidate could become anxious to move onto to another job or move up within the organization, but this should not deter you. In 2 years you may have that position available or the candidate may change their mind. It is good to have those goals in mind though for when openings within the organization do come up. You don’t really want someone who is going to stick around for 10+ years because efficiencies, excitement about the job and innovation really drop after that long in one place. Asking the candidate about why they want to work with you is important in gauging just how much they want the position, if the candidate as done their research even something as simple as looking at the website, they will be able to speak to what interests them about your organization. You want someone who is excited to work with you and will be motivated to help your organization grow, this is one way to guarantee fit.
Once you have completed your phone screening and eliminated those who may not be the best fit for you organization it’s time to invite the top candidates in for an in person interview. This is the first time that you as the business owner may be meeting this candidate depending on who does the phone screening. This is the time to really wow the candidate. This could be done by showing them around your organization, introducing them to team members they may be working with and really showing them what your organization and culture is all about. This time should also be used to bring up any further questions that you have about their experience. It is good to have a set list of questions to guide the interview but don’t be afraid to stray from the questions a little bit if the candidate says something that you want to drill in a little bit more on. If you are uncomfortable with doing interviews on your own don’t be afraid to pull in someone to help. This could be another employee at your organization or a professional. Sometimes having a second or third opinion can help really narrow down the options when you have more than one top candidate in the works.
This may seem like a weird thing to do for someone you haven’t even hired yet but psychometric testing is so very important in getting the right fit for your organization. Before you have even sent out any requests for testing make sure you have had your top employees in each department do the testing so that you can have a really clear benchmark to compare new talent up against. What you will gain from the candidate you are putting through testing is that you are going to see a layout of their strengths and weaknesses in comparison to your current team. Now this isn’t a reason not to hire someone, if their results don’t match up with the rest of the team that might even be a good thing. To make a well rounded kickass team you are going to want to have employees who have a whole range of strengths and weaknesses so that the employee complement each other well. The psychometric testing will also highlight anything that might be helpful for managing that candidate in the future. If you are running a team and you require your team to work together in order to achieve greatness than a candidate who is highly competitive might need a little more guidance and assistance in that teamwork aspect. If psychometric testing doesn’t seem applicable to the positions that you hiring for you can also do industry specific testing. For example, when we hire on our accountants we have them perform various accounting software tasks to ensure that they really are knowledgeable with the software that we use. You should be doing testing on those applicants that you would be willing to hire after the testing is completed or use it to compare two or three candidates against each other, not every candidate should be completing these types of tests.
While the candidate is performing their testing its a good time to do reference checks. Sometimes it can take a couple days before the candidate has time to sit down and do their testing so use that time wisely to get information from their previous employers. Reference checks are very important to gather the following three points of information; Validate the candidate worked there for the time and position listed, ask about interactions with the previous teams, managers, clients etc and talk the referee through the job description over the phone and ask if they think that the candidate would excel in that position or where they might need support. The last point is extremely important to gather because of the fact that more often than not candidates are going to provide you with a reference that was happy with the work that they did. By providing the referee with the job description and asking for advice to manage the employee it gives the new managers something to work off of, this is the time that you are going to get constructive criticism about the employee and what you really need to prepare yourself and your team for. We recommend that you ensure that your candidate warns the referees that they are going to be contacted. You’d be surprised the amount of times that referee’s are not sure why the candidate listed their name as they were not happy with their work.
At this point a secondary in person interview seems a little redundant, but this hour could save you thousands. This interview is really your last sanity check ensuring that you are about to hire the right candidate. You will have had time to reflect and discuss with your team about the phone screen and first in person interview and you will have received the responses back from the testing and reference checks. This is the time to really ask any outstanding questions you may have for the candidate, review their assessment and make sure that you are all on the same page about the expectations for this position. If you don’t do this in person interview it could cost you up to 3x the candidates annual salary. The costs for turnover are absolutely astronomical, so take the time to make sure that you really are wanting to hire this person onto your team.
Once you have you decided and are excited about this candidate for the role it is time to offer them the job. You are going to want to draft up an offer letter/employment contract outlining everything that the candidate needs to know. Once this is drafted call the candidate and verbally tell them what you are going to offer them in regards to pay, vacation time, start date, working hours and anything else you might think to be relevant. You are then going to let them know that you are going to email over the contract for them to sign and send back before their start date. By sending the contact over email this allows the candidate to reflect on the offer and come back with anything that might need to be negotiated further. We can’t stress enough how important this is to do before the start date. If you don’t do it before the start date you are taking away the employees chance to do any negotiating, which some owners may think is a good thing, but in reality you may end up losing that employee over the fact that they didn’t get as many vacation days as they had wanted or the pay wasn’t what they thought it would be. Also, some candidates might be too intimidated to try and negotiate in person, therefore by allowing them to reflect and call you back with any changes that might need to be made you are guaranteeing that the first day is going to kick off without a hitch and it’s going to be a great first day experience for that employee.
Seems like a weird concept, Hire slow, fire quick. But in the recruitment realm it makes sense. Hire slow doesn’t mean take 3 months to put someone through the pipeline, it means to make sure that you are taking every step necessary to make the best hire and to make sure that everyone is excited about the position. You do still want to keep the candidate engaged but don’t be afraid if the process is a little slower than you think it should be. Firing quick is just as important because if you have someone who is not working out it could be detrimental to your culture as well as show your employees that there are no consequences for their actions. If someone is not working out you need to jump on firing them quickly so that you avoid those issues.
The second piece of advice is to stay connected. Candidates are understanding that you may not be able to get back to them right away as you are trying to run a business, but be sure that you are in contact with them about when you are going to get back to them and that you are still interested in meeting with them or chatting with them. Also if you have a candidate who unfortunately has not made it past a certain stage it is important to call them and have a chat with them about why they haven’t made it at this time. This is important for two reasons; first, the candidate has spent a significant amount of time and effort in your business so you don’t want to create a bad taste in their mouth about your company by ending things without a reason. You may want to bring that candidate in at a later time and this needs to be communicated to the candidate and the relationship needs to be kept on good terms for that to even be an option.
Well that is all we have on recruitment. Check out this two page cheat sheet we have created for your use and feel free to call us about any questions you have on recruitment, as you may be able to tell we really are nerds for recruitment and would love to help in any way that we can!