Recruiting employees is a challenge; it is more than asking the right job interview questions. You can hire more successfully by asking behavioral interview questions to understand how a candidate will perform in specific work-related scenarios. In today's online environment, there is also some very effective free recruiting software for small business owners and/or one-time use.
Most job applicants are fairly well trained and well prepared to answer most job interview questions.
Note:While it's good that applicants care enough about the job interview to prepare for it, this can be like students cramming for a test, passing the test with flying colors, but not really retaining any of the knowledge afterwards!
Just because a job applicant has all the right answers - and is well studied and well prepared - doesn't mean that they are a good fit for your business.
Finding the right person, particularly for a small business (where the impact can be great), is important - spend the time to do it right.
To better assess the job applicant's fit, you need to develop some behavioral interview questions. Ask questions about how an employee would behave and act in a certain set of circumstances that are a reflection of your working environment. Develop these behavioral interview questions (or scenarios) in advance and make sure that the questions cover areas of strength and weakness within your organization.
For example, if you know that your quote turn-around time is too long to satisfy customers, you might ask a question that relates to that:
"What would you do to shorten the time-in to the time-out of the quotation cycle?" Draw on your own experiences to explain (the job applicants won't know your system or environment so they have to use past experience but that can be useful and real information in your assessment of their skills and behaviors).
There are no obvious right answers. There are some very obvious wrong answers (i.e. yelling back at the unhappy customer would be wrong but no reasonable job candidate will answer that he or she yelled back - and if they do, they obviously do not want the job). What these types of situational or behavioral interview questions do, is allow you to see how this potential employee would handle everyday stresses and strains of working in your organization. Is the person a good fit? Would the addition of the individual help make your workplace, services, or organization better? If the answer is yes, hire them.
If you need to hire on a frequent basis (seasonal work, growing business, changing business, etc.), you might want to consider job recruiting software, particularly some of the free recruiting software available. A number of the software programs have free software available at a base or trial level. They are worth checking out online.
Recruiting software is useful in helping you to narrow your search and select from a large pool of talent. You still need to do face-to-face interviews to be successful in recruiting employees who are a best-fit for your organization and who will contribute effectively to your business.
It is important, even more so in a small business with limited staff, to hire employees that are right for the job and for your business. By using focused job interview questions - that are aligned to well-written and developed job descriptions - and behavioral interview questions, along with accessing free recruiting software, you will be more successful in recruiting employees.
Hiring the right people is time consuming work for a small business owner. And, unfortunately, job applicants have become very sophisticated in their applications and their interview techniques. It all can sound very good to you when you are desperate for some help in your business. But many applicants just want a job, not necessarily the right job for themselves or for you.
It becomes your job to develop detailed job descriptions, ensure that the employee compensation package is competitive (and affordable), advertise the position available, screen, interview and assess those who have the ability to be the best-fit applicants - it is a waste of your time and money if firing employees that you've recently hired is the outcome or if they quit because the fit is wrong.
Human resources, specifically in terms of recruiting employees and managing the whole process of hiring new employees, can be contracted out - there are some significant advantages of outsourcing human resources work.
For example, I've provided support on the basis of 8 hours of time per month to small business owners (for a variety of business services). This time commitment can be ramped up or down depending on the needs of the company.
You may want to consider contracting a human resources specialist to recruit new employees, or to do the advertising and pre-screening, or maybe do the reference checking and/or testing. Or you may want the HR specialist to handle all the work right up to the selection of the best candidate.
It is hard to find the right fit - there are lots of good people available but getting the right person for your specific business needs - someone who will do all the things you need them to do, who will learn quickly, who will stay a while, and who will fit quickly into your business and your culture. Do it right - successfully recruiting employees means hiring effectively!
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New employees have a better opportunity for success when you provide a strong orientation for them on day one.
But follow up on that orientation, make sure that they understand what's expected of them and that they have the training and the support to do well.
During the first week, set aside some time each day to check in with them and debrief; listen closely to what they have to say and see if they highlight areas of business or process improvement: sometimes new employees see things that existing staff just don't see anymore.
Be sure to communicate progress and expected results regularly. Provide a written summary performance review after the first month - not at the end of the probationary period - by then it may be too late. Make sure the summary provides both the good results and the areas for improvement - with feedback on how that improvement can be achieved.
Communicate the organization's plan for the future and how the employees contribute to those plans and mission.
Make sure that the culture of your organization is one that attracts the type of people you want working for you. Assess your environment objectively - or hire someone to come in and do an employee survey or assessment for you.
Provide feedback regularly and consistently (and frequently for new employees or those that appear to be struggling).
Recognize good work openly and in front of other.
Consider poor performance as an area for improvement: focus on only one or two improvement areas at a time.
Provide employees with the opportunity for input into their evaluations - this should not be a one-way communication effort, rather it needs to be a two-way effort.
If there are action items that come out of the performance evaluation, and typically there need to be some goals or actions in each evaluation, then follow up - do not wait for a year to go by to check in.