How to Find the Perfect New Hire?
Excerpted from Teambuilding that Gets Results by Linda Eve Diamond and Harriet Diamond © 2006
Creating Networks of People
Wouldn't hiring be a breeze if you already had prequalified, fully competent candidates lined up before a position opened? You can, and many business owners, managers, and team builders do. Build your database of viable candidates before you have the need to hire. Those you identify may not be looking and you may not have a position open when you encounter or learn about someone you would like to have on your team. Keep names and contact information (with notes) in a special database of talented people. You might send email updates to stay in touch. If one of those prospective candidates decides to leave his or her present position, you want to be foremost on the job search list.
If you have a small job to offer that does not require a potential hire leaving his or her present employment, this gives both you and the hire the advantage of "trying on" the relationship. By building relationships, you create interest and a path for new talent to eventually join your team. Just as headhunters advise employees to always be looking for the next opportunity, so must employers always be on the lookout as well.
"Good help is hard to find" has always been the employer's lament, but "good help"-from experienced professionals to bright, motivated novices-is out there. Where do you find that perfect match for the position? Think outside the classified ad box and consider using a number of resources. Some have fees associated; others do not. Some of the more costly options may be well worth the price, depending on the value of the position you need filled. Consider all options; use more than one. A capable team is the foundation of your business's growth.
Internet Job Search Sites
Job sites allow you to post ads, search resumes, and even organize potential candidates. Search by keyword or such distinctions as most recent employer, most recent job description, schools attended, desired salary, location. You can choose level of experience, full time, part time, or per diem, and further limit your results to those seeking employment, internship, temporary contract work, and seasonal work. Your search will bring up full resumes and contact information. Employers pay a fee on most sites, but consider the benefits.
Newspaper Want Ads
Newspaper want ads never go out of style and most now have the added dimension of being displayed online. Newspapers also reach people online sources may not.
Consider hiring from within. If your company is large enough to have multiple departments, internal postings can offer welcomed opportunities for change. Even for a small business with a handful of employees, reorganizing responsibilities can energize your team. See chapter 10: "Expanding Your Internal Team" for more about internal talent.
Working with a search firm that understands your needs can speed up the process and save you or your employees a lot of legwork, right down to the nitty-gritty of checking references (and, yes, references should be checked).
Again, the process costs money but saves legwork and a good firm will access talent. Success depends upon your clearly stating your needs and feeling confident that the agency understands them. If it seems as though an agency is taking shots in the dark, move on.You don't have time to waste with unqualified candidates. If you have concerns about the right fit, find one that specializes in your field and has a solid track record.
Hiring temporary help is a good opportunity to evaluate the fit and skills of a potential full-time hire. Hire a support person to help out or fill in for a week or two, or hire a professional to work on a specific project before offering full time.
Networking extends to everyone you know. The more people who know that you are looking for employees, the more people are on the lookout for you. You have an ad hoc search team. Don't, however, promise your neighbor that you have a job for his cousin. Add her to your candidate pool.
You can get a table or just walk around. By having a table, you attract job seekers interested in your type of business and have chance to share print and verbal information, collect names and addresses, even have a short preapplication available.Without a table, you can still network and exchange cards or information. See who is showing an interest in your field and approach them.
The Retiree Pool
Those who retire or are sent off with fanfare and golden parachutes to make way for a new generation after decades-long careers have impressive backgrounds and skills and are often eager to contribute to a growing company of any size. They may fit into your part-time, subcontractor, or full-time pool. One source for locating these workers is the "Resources for Employers" section at www.aarp.org.
College Placement Offices
Reaching out to schools is a way to find qualified people who are just starting out, which often creates a win/win situation with small business owners. The recent college graduate may not bring a wealth of experience but does bring skills, knowledge, enthusiasm, and an eagerness to learn from you and about your business. The college student that you hire can also serve as a great resource for additional or future help. College placement offices won't easily find you if you're a small business. Through partnering with a local college or university, you can tap into a department that will work with you and provide students studying your field and eager for on-the-job experience. The college intern brings a fresh perspective and spirited motivation.
If you're looking for part-time, no-experience-necessary employees, consider reaching out to the local high school. Often, high school students bring technical skills and a willingness to do what needs to be done. They do need clear direction and an understanding of your organization's work ethic.
Local Job Training Programs
Before (or during) searching through cyberspace, consider checking local job training programs for qualified candidates. For a variety of reasons, good workers with strong skills end up in these funded programs. Additionally, people who have little or no employment experience complete job training programs eager to become productive. These programs also assist people who have been out of the work force in returning to it. They may have previous, relevant experience.
We all know that often when we reach customer phone support staff, we are speaking long distance; many products are manufactured overseas. A good share of U.S. company computer graphics, web designs, and online program developments are also produced overseas.