As an entrepreneur it can be easy to think this way about recruitment. You’ve grafted to create a company that generates enough income that you can now employ others, but it’s been blood, sweat and tears all the way. Now you’re in a position to offer someone secure employment, your taking all the risk, they get an income, surely the best candidates should be flocking to you and should be grateful?
Unfortunately, that doesn’t tend to be the case. Anyone who’s been involved in recruiting people knows that pulling together the right team to deliver for you as you expand is something you have to graft for as well.
A recent global study of 20,000 new hires found that 46 percent of them had failed within 18 months— they either were terminated, left under pressure, or received disciplinary action or negative performance reviews according to the society for Human Resource Management.
And what is the cost of a wrong hire? Its estimated at between 50% and 150% of annual salary. So it’s not something to get wrong lightly. A wrong hire can leave you in a far worse mess than when they started.
So why is it that so many hires seem to go wrong?
Well there are numerous potential reasons:
- The employer may have been desperate to fill the position so they didn’t put the time into making sure they’d secured the right person, who had the skills and capability to carry out the role and were a cultural fit for the company
- It could be that the the employee had been led to believe the role was something other than it was and were therefore frustrated and disappointed.
- It could be an inherent clash of values that wasn’t unearthed during recruitment
- It could be a lack of clarity, leadership and direction in the role
- It could be the employee did a great job of hoodwinking everyone during the interview processes and turned out to be far less qualified than the way they sold themselves.
…to name but a few possibilities.
The fact of the matter is recruitment isn’t simple. But there are a few principals that can help as you start to approach the process.
- Start with the end in mind. We always advise all of our clients to engage in proper planning for any goal they want to achieve and getting the right people on board is no different. It is important as a starting point to be clear on what the job role is that you want filled, and what the responsibilities entailed are. So many small business owners are so desperate to get help that they will often hire before they know exactly what it is the new hire will be doing. This ultimately leads to a lack of clarity on both sides, with no definite roles and responsibilities in the employment contract. We would advocate taking the time to clearly map out the processes in your business that you are looking for the new hire to be involved with, identify exactly which parts of that process they will be responsible for, and include these on the job spec. That way there is no ambiguity about expectations going forward.
- Be prepared to market yourself. As business owners, we put so much effort into identifying our best types of clients, understanding their needs, wants, who they are and where to find them so that we can put messages across that have the highest chance of attracting them to us. When it comes to recruitment, many business owners will see it is a chore and just jot something simple down to be posted online or sent to recruiters. It’s a competitive business environment out there and the best businesses are doing everything they can to attract the best talent to apply for their positions so it is important you do something to stand out and attract.
- Do your research on applicants. You don’t have to interview everybody. Remember your time is your most valuable resource. Plan a selection process that will result in only the best possible candidates getting in front of you. Take up references, carry out telephone interviews, do some research on social media.
- Don’t oversell. When it comes to interviewing be realistic about the role. Taking someone on under false expectations is ultimately likely to end in failure. They will be disappointed or let down and will be at best demotivated and at worst be looking to leave as soon as possible. You want people to come into your company with their eyes open. Don’t interview them in a swanky hired board room and then welcome them on their first day to the cold industrial unit round the corner.
- Don’t intimidate. Do your best to make all candidates you choose to interview feel completely at ease. Ultimately you want to get to know who they are as a person as much as anything else. Check they will be a cultural fit for the company. Check they share similar values (so much conflict within business results from a clash of values). They should be asking you as many questions as you’re asking them. Trying to get a feel for you, the business and whether they really want to work with you. Expect that and be open and honest in your responses as far as possible.
- Beware the salary only seeker. Anyone who is focusing on salary and benefits first and foremost may not be the ideal candidate for you. An employee who is going to be a positive contributor to your environment and your culture will be interested in things other than simply material reward and will ask you about those other aspects of your business when they come to interview. Someone who focuses purely on the material reward and negotiating package is much more likely to leave as soon as someone else offers them more.
At the end of the day recruiting the right team has the potential to underpin a businesses success or failure. With a strong, engaged motivated team on board a business can take rapid leaps forward in growth and development. There are plenty of business out there who recognise this so it’s therefore not surprising that with a finite pool of talent available, it is a highly competitive environment to engage in. So if you want to succeed in this area as a small business, it’s definitely worth giving some thought to.
This is just one of the topics we cover as part of our masterclasses as we work with business owners to drive their businesses to the next LEVEL in our Engineering Business Growth Club. Interested in finding out more? Click HERE