12 Tips for Hiring in an Aggressive Market


Having a tough time hiring the right candidates?  It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find, and hire, the right people for skilled jobs.  Unemployment is way down, and many industries are experiencing a significant skills shortage.  Here are our quick wins to help you in your search for your next team member.achievement-3387293 1920

Why Are You Hiring – Consider what the problem is first.  Are good people leaving?  Hiring new employees won’t solve your problems if there’s a bigger issue.

Define Your Target – Start with a list of problems or challenges that you face and let that guide you to what type of employee to hire.  Ensure you have consensus if there are multiple decision makers.

Make a GOOD Job Description – Don’t just focus on requirements that YOU need to see.  Spend some time to make the role sound exciting and highlight all the reasons why your target candidate would want to work there.  You’re selling this opportunity, and your company, to potential employees so give them reasons to apply!

Don't Rely on Job Applicants – Yes, you might be fortunate to have a few great candidates apply, but many of your target candidates aren't necessarily looking for new jobs.  You'll need to use other avenues to engage them.  Join online groups for that skillset; attend or host in-person meetups/networking events; speak to professors that teach these skills.

Create an Awesome Culture – That doesn’t mean you should buy a gaming table for the office, but people are spending most of their waking hours at work; they want to enjoy that time.  Ensure there is great communication happening between all levels of the organization, listen to glassdoor.com (with a grain of salt).  Create and inspire an environment where individuals can be proud of their achievements, teams can rally and motivate each other, and where respect is a given, not earned.

Referrals – good people know good people, and referrals tend to fit the company culture that much better.  Set up a referral program and reward your employees for making an introduction.

Show Them the Money – When there is a skills shortage, salaries quickly inflate.  Supply and demand.  Be prepared to roll-out the big bucks if that skill is really necessary.  Could they be trained instead?  Is there a similar tool that could be transferable?  If you have a lot of hiring to do, consider hiring one expert to train the others.

Get Help – reach out to your network and let them know you need help hiring.  Consider a recruitment agency that specializes in that particular skill or industry and be sure to ask them how they screen candidates.

Interview Process – Clearly define how you’ll evaluate your candidates.  Think of ways to expedite the process without sacrificing your confidence levels.  Do you need them back 5 separate times with a test and a take-home assignment and finally, a use-case presentation?  Work with your team to consolidate meetings into one.  Spend the time to ensure the test is effective and enjoyable by everyone, if it’s required at all.  Try to stick to 1 or 2 separate interview sessions, no more than 3 in total, and be able to complete them all in about a week.  PROVIDE FEEDBACK!

MOVE QUICKLY – Oh good, you’ve finally found your needle in the haystack!  Get your offer in front of them immediately.  Ensure you’ve already acquired any approvals ahead of time and the offer letter is ready to go.  Ideally, have them review the offer in-person so any concerns can be addressed immediately. 

Plan the Start Date – Two weeks is normal.  Definitely pry if they are asking for longer.  Ensure your own on-boarding process is seamless; reference checks, credit and criminal checks, acquiring hardware, security access, scheduling training or 1st day HR processes – if these take longer than 2 weeks, you have some changes to make.

Once They’ve Signed – Just because they’ve signed the offer, doesn’t mean they’re not getting calls from aggressive recruiters.  Take opportunities to check in with your winning candidate.  How did the resignation go?  Do they prefer PC or Mac?  Email 1st day instructions, dress code, and what to bring.  Have them come in to meet the rest of the team.  Or, just call them and tell them how excited you are for them to start. 

Most of these tips are very easy to implement, but surprisingly not many companies do them.  Are you facing challenges with your own hiring?  Take a good look at the processes your company implements to see if any adjustments can be made. 

There are plenty more ways to improve the process.  What works for your team? 

 - Dave Keir is the Director of the Innovative Technology division at The Mirillion Group

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