No matter what the size of your business is, its success depends on the people working behind it.
Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, a seasoned business person, or an HR professional, you will have to make important hiring decisions often.
Hiring is not a mere task. It is a universe, usually with a confluence of systems, processes, and practices which influence the outcomes of the business at large.
In that case, understanding the nuances of hiring is critical to building a team that helps your business sustain and grow further.
Before we move on to discussing the subtleties of hiring, it is important to understand why you should hire an employee in the first place.
Employees are the pillars of a successful business
It’s almost impossible that a business can run as a one-man or one-woman show.
One person can’t have all the skill sets or time to be able to handle each function of a business – development, operations, marketing, sales, customer support, recruitment, accounting, and so much more.
Employees are integral to the proper functioning of the business. They are the pillars upon which businesses are constructed to reach heights.
The indications that you need to strengthen the workforce at your organization are increasing workloads, lacking the capacity to capitalize on new revenue opportunities, and deteriorating the quality of your product or services. Inability to address your customers’ complaints.
Hiring is not only about finding an employee. It is about finding the right one. The one who can effectively execute your business plans and contribute to achieving your business goals and objectives.
Furthermore, an employee who is not aligned with your business goals or your organization’s culture can do more harm than good.
Whether you’re hiring your first employee or you’ve hired in the past, there are some crucial points to consider. Adhering to these will make your hiring process smooth and provide great returns.
Let’s take a look at the points you MUST remember in your quest to hire a new employee fit for your business.
1. Get clarity on why you need to hire and who is your ideal employee
Do you need a helping hand because you have been turning down work?
Are you looking for a person who can handle administrative tasks?
Do you want a person with a specific skill set who can open new avenues for your business?
How many people do you require?
Are you using the current workforce capabilities to the fullest? Where are the gaps?
The very first step toward hiring is to evaluate your organization’s requirements and the need for a new hire.
Once you have determined the area of your business that requires a new hire, next comes job analysis, which gives shape to a job description aimed at your potential employees.
Conduct a job analysis
Job analysis is the minute study of duties to be performed for the job. It helps you gather relevant information about the job, such as:
- Parts of the job that identify it and distinguish it from other jobs
- The duties, tasks, responsibilities, and corresponding outputs expected out of the job
- The educational qualifications, experience, skill, traits, and attitudes required to perform that job.
- The compensation structure, commensurate with the work
- The physical or virtual infrastructure requirements and work environment conducive to the job
If you’re wondering where to collect all this information, here are some ways to do it:
- Search on the internet. Go through the job descriptions of similar job descriptions. Look at survey data from job portals.
- Network with other companies who have similar jobs. Try to understand their requirements for the job and the salaries they are offering.
- Review the job responsibilities of your current employees. Learn from them the tasks they perform daily, where and why they are facing difficulties, and how their problems could be solved.
In short, a thorough job analysis is important to get a clear picture of what the job entails, both for your organization and your potential employee.
The data points you gather help you prepare a clear and effective job description and specifications, eventually helping you screen and select the right candidates.
Prepare the job description
Your job description is crucial to attracting prospective employees. It helps them assess their eligibility and suitability for the role and make an informed decision to apply for the job.
The key information to include in the job description is:
- The job title and summary outlining the job purpose
- A detailed list of duties and day-to-day responsibilities
- The desired qualifications, experience, and skillsets
- Performance expectations
- Work environment, work schedule, and job location
- Compensation and benefits
- Company and culture overview
- The process of selection
- Other instructions such as the inclusion of a cover letter or sample work
2. Build a comprehensive plan of action and pool of resources
You have figured out the position you need to hire for and the outcomes you want to achieve. You have defined the criteria for what your ideal employee looks like.
Now it’s time to build a plan of action to attract potential employees and estimate resource requirements.
Strategize where to publish the job opening
The digital world offers a plethora of options regarding the job market. But, having too many options can be confusing and may even reduce the efficiency of your hiring process.
Therefore, you should strategically decide where to publish your job opening. Some of the factors to base this decision on are your budget, the urgency of hiring, the available workforce, and the medium your potential employees are more likely to use.
The options you can leverage to reach out to prospective employees are:
- Job posting sites such as Indeed, MonsterJobs, AngelList, etc.
- Professional networking sites like LinkedIn
- Posting on social media groups dedicated to an industry or profession. For example, a Graphic Designer’s group on Facebook
- Job boards like those of Craigslist, Glassdoor
- Your Company’s social pages and website
- Referrals from existing employees
- Campus placements
Depending on the budget and needs, you can opt for the free or paid medium to advertise the job opening.
Figure out the tools you will need
Technology can help you to a great extent in your hiring process.
There are many software and tools available to help in various stages of the recruitment process such as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), HR platforms, skills assessment tools, video interviewing tools, etc. However, these invite a lot of expenses.
If your budgets are low or the numbers of hires and applicants are not going to be high, you can always find free or low-cost alternatives. You can keep track of the applicants on a spreadsheet. You can use platforms like Zoom or Skype to conduct video interviews.
Assess expenses and allocate a budget
Apart from job advertisements, tools, and software costs, there are many other areas that can incur expenses.
You should also keep an eye on other possible cost heads such as travel expenses, consulting fees (if you are outsourcing the hiring), refreshment expenses, and so on.
Once you have a clear picture of all the resources you will be using in your hiring process, you can estimate your costs and fix a budget accordingly.
3. Streamline your selection process and communication
Before you start inviting applications for your job post, you must be prepared with an effective selection process for finding the right fit for your organization.
A well-defined system for shortlisting the candidates, tracking the applications, and communicating can maximize your hiring efforts.
Besides facilitating your search, a systematic approach will prevent unnecessary expenses, and wastage of time, energy, and resources.
Define the methods and procedures for selection
Brace up for another essential step in hiring. You need to contemplate the methods most suitable for finding that one person from the sea of applications you are going to receive.
While resumes give a good head start for shortlisting applicants, you must not limit the screening to resumes and leave the rest for interviews.
To foolproof your selection process, you should add more screening steps. For example:
Cover Letters, Portfolio, Sample Work
- Ask applicants to provide a cover letter or attach their portfolio or sample work to their job applications.
- It will help you better assess their personalities and abilities.
Skills Assessment Test
- The results of a skills assessment test can help you screen out many applicants.
- It is a great method if the job requires technical knowledge. It will give an outright picture of whether a candidate has adequate knowledge of the said subject/tool/software.
- Find a vendor (a consultancy or software provider which provides such a service) and the medium (online or offline) to facilitate the test.
A Real-Life Task or Project
- This method can give a real-life glimpse into a potential employee’s problem-solving abilities, approach, execution, and understanding.
- This method can prove to be futile if the problem and instructions are not well-crafted, or the problem given is flawed or not challenging enough.
- Decide on the medium, the time frame of execution, and other details of the task.
- An interview is the most revered method of selection. It helps you evaluate the candidate much more intensely.
- Decide on the number of interview sessions, the medium (in-person, phone, or video), the interviewer, and the interview questions.
Whichever method you finalize for the selection procedure, make sure to prepare the materials and schedules in advance so that your hiring process stays under your control.
Informing the applicants at every step is crucial to avoid delays, miscommunications, and consequently losing out on a great potential employee.
Anticipate all the possible events and scenarios from receiving applications all the way to evaluation outcomes. Prepare templates for communication at all these events, such as:
- Upon receiving an application
- When an applicant is selected (at every screening step)
- On change of a schedule
- When you reject an application
Keep a track of all the events
Whichever sources, tools, and methods you have employed to invite applications, screen, and select candidates, make sure you keep a record of every step and stay on top of it all until you’ve found the right person.
4. Make sure the hiring process is compliant with the employment laws
To protect the rights of employees, governments set rules, regulations, and guidelines encompassing employment or labor laws.
These employment laws concern working conditions, employment terms, wages, working hours, health and safety, discrimination, and harassment at the workplace.
Following these laws is not only mandatory from a legal point of view, but also paves the way for a strong business-employee relationship.
Besides directing the overall systems and policies of your organization, employment laws directly affect the hiring process.
During your hiring process, non-discrimination is a critical compliance factor to look out for. From job descriptions to interview questions, it is important to make sure that there are no instances of discrimination.
All applicants must be given an equal chance and should only be judged on the grounds of experience, skills and qualifications, and ability to do the job.
Less favorable treatments based on other personal factors – race, ethnicity, religion, marital or family status, physical or mental disability, gender, age, sexual orientation – are illegally discriminatory and can invite legal action.
5. Be explicit with the paperwork
Paperwork is essential for solidifying your organization’s relationship with your to-be-employees. Documentation legally binds you two.
Furthermore, the written account of employment terms safeguards both the business and employees’ interests and provides grounds for mutual trust and accountability.
Consequently, the documents that you should keep handy:
Job Offer Letter
Once you have successfully found and selected a potential employee, you must extend an official offer for the job with the details of employment.
The offer letter should include the job title, job description, salary, benefits, start date, work schedule, remote working policy, and other terms and conditions of employment.
Not to mention, the candidate has the right to negotiate, accept, or reject the job offer. And, signing and returning the job offer letter makes the employment formal.
Employment Agreement/Employment Contract
A signed job offer letter serves as legally binding evidence of employment. However, a job offer letter tends to be less detailed and more informal.
If you want to make the employment terms and conditions more concrete, you can opt for a more formal Employment Agreement or Employment Contract.
If your business deals with sensitive information, you must have your employees sign a non-disclosure agreement. This document should explicitly outline the details of the agreement and possible implications in case of a breach.
To help your employees understand and abide by your company’s rules, regulations and ethics, you should document the policies and give them access.
Thus, your company should have well-documented policies for:
- Code of conduct
- Sexual harassment in the workplace
- Leaves including maternity/paternity leave
- Termination of employment
- Work from home
- Probation and employment confirmation
- Gratuity and Employee Provident Fund
6. Run a pre-employment background check
Hiring the wrong person can have severe adverse effects on your business, from hampered growth to even a threatening situation at the workplace.
Therefore, to avoid an employee becoming a liability to the organization, it is best to conduct a background check to verify your potential employee identity and past activities beforehand.
You should verify the person’s identity, employment and educational credentials, criminal record, and other illegal activities.
Some of the ways to run a background check are by contacting the place of last employment, educational institution, references, and social profiles provided by the candidate.
By the way, make sure the background check is done with the individual’s consent and respect their privacy.
7. Build an onboarding process for the new employee
Your hiring quest doesn’t end at your to-be-employee signing an employment agreement. The new hire needs to be onboarded to help them seamlessly integrate with your organization.
Essentially, onboarding begins when you extend the job offer to the prospective employee and continues until the employee starts producing results.
Moreover, if your organization gives a negative impression or fails to live up to the expectations of your new employee, they might regret their decision to accept the job offer and quit.
To avoid such problems and forge a good relationship, making efforts on onboarding is a must.
An effective onboarding process serves to make the new hire feel welcomed and reduce their anxiety related to the new work environment. Moreover, it helps them to settle down and take over job responsibilities efficiently.
Generally, the onboarding process covers:
- Orientation sessions to give an overview of your organization’s culture, values, products, and services
- Assigning the IT assets and office supplies (email access, workstation, furniture, etc.); setting up the salary account
- Providing the necessary training and information to get the work started
- Reviewing the job expectations and discussing the plans of action
- Introducing to the team members and other employees
- Keeping a check on their concerns or issues and receiving frequent feedback from them
Hiring is a vital business decision that has to be planned and executed well for the best outcomes.
To search for and find the right employee and help them integrate into your system, the points to remember are:
- Evaluate your hiring needs, do a proper analysis of the job, and prepare a job description tailored to your prospective employees
- Strategize how to attract the right candidates and get a hang of the resources you will need to optimize the hiring process
- Take a systematic approach for screening and selecting the applicants along with a plan of communication
- Follow the rules and regulations during hiring set under employment laws
- Formalize the business-employee association and terms on paper
- Verify the details of the potential employee to reduce risks
- Onboard the selected employee to help them adapt and take over their responsibilities