One of the hardest--and most essential--parts of building a business is staffing up the right team. Founder and CEO of global marketing agency, Robert Glazer argues, “Your team is more important than your business strategy. If you've got the best people in the right positions, they will tell you what is needed and how to get there. If you don't, chances are you are going nowhere.”
Most employees switch jobs anywhere between 2-6 times throughout their careers, and with the evolution of the gig economy, that trend is likely to expand. Whether hiring for the first time, replacing a current position, or adding new team members to an established company, businesses of all sizes and at varying stages need to consistently assess their staffing process and ensure it is efficient, relational, and effective. Here are some key areas to consider.
First Impressions: The Job Description
The job description is the first point of contact for a prospective hire, and it’s the place a company should lay the groundwork for expressing their values and expectations. Descriptions should succinctly outline the role and how it fits into the broader vision of the company, but it should also express what sets the company and position apart from others in the industry.
Consider the job description from the role of job seekers, not just from the position of the company. In this way, businesses will be able to better understand what kinds of specialization titles, responsibilities, and opportunities will be attractive to high caliber candidates.
Including a salary in the job description is always a best practice: it can be a way to demonstrate transparency, avoid discrimination, attract prospects, and even follow employment laws in some cases. Posting salaries sets expectations upfront so neither employer nor prospect goes through a hiring process only to start over at the end if the salary is not the right fit.
Laws of Attraction: The Recruitment and Application Process
The first and most important decision in the recruitment process is for a company to determine whether they will handle this piece in-house or through a staffing agency. A staffing agency can help speed up the process and vet candidates in various ways if the hiring process is likely to be high-volume or for a C-level position. However, many companies may also want to be more involved in decision-making processes, so each business needs to make this choice about handling recruitment. Researching the industry and hiring segments can help a company determine more about what they need to be successful at this phase.
The application process should include posting in the appropriate digital and/or physical locations to attract candidates, but it’s also important to remember to consider internal promotions. Companies overlook their own employees to their disadvantage. Internal hires can actually save a business time and money since current team members know the brand, policies, and will not take as long to be onboarded for a new role.
Screen In vs Screen Out: Pre-Checks and Interviews
At the interview phase, it is important to carefully consider what kind of process will be most beneficial to the business and adhere to brand values. Of course, this includes refining questions to really find the best fit, but it also includes considerations like which team members will be present to hear interviews and what kind of weight their feedback will have in decision making, how notes will be recorded for referring between candidates, and metrics for how candidates will be selected.
A lot of this part of the process requires work early on. Confidentiality and anti-discrimination policies, vetting procedures, and hiring timelines should all be outlined by the company ahead of time; it’s even better if candidates also receive this information as early as possible. This is the strongest point in the process to build rapport and relationships with recruits, so being intentional, ethical, and open will serve a company well in the long term. Remember: candidates are vetting the company as much as a company is vetting them.
Background checks play an important role in this part of the process, as well. Companies should decide what kind of background check the role will require and why. All processes for foreground, background, and reference checks should be uniform across hires, and screening in--rather than trying to screen out candidates--is an invitational way to welcome personal strengths, background history, stronger references, and a relationship with the team. A process that looks for flaws might miss successes. Making decisions about the application, interviewing, and background check processes in this phase of hiring will help businesses hone in on the right candidates for their company.
Talent Acquisition: Onboarding a Teammate
After recruitment, interviews, and vetting, final hire selection marks the exciting point of acquiring new talent on a team. Companies need strong onboarding plans that include logistics, training, and tools so new hires are set up for success.
Peter Vanden Bos, senior editor of a global education platform, outlines the benefits of new hire onboarding versus orientation, “Onboarding plans are intended to make new employees familiar with the overall goals of a company and support them as they embark on early projects...The ultimate payoff is to reduce turnover and encourage workers to stay with an organization for a longer tenure.” Really skillful onboarding plans can create relational confidence with the company.
Onboarding plans should be established prior to hiring but evolve with team feedback over time. Companies should consider their commitments to employee needs like religious, cultural, or accessibility needs within the company. They should consider the kinds of technological or logistical training each role will require, as well as share HR practices and other internal policies.
Employee handbooks serve as a reference point for many of these parts of onboarding, but nothing replaces the important part of creating space to integrate new team members into company culture and enable quality working relationships. Collaboratively learning with other businesses can help companies learn more practices and further streamline this process. Companies who take time to prepare for each phase of the staffing process early on will be in position to adapt and update as they evolve.