By Caleb Martin, Founder and CEO of Alliant HR Outsourcing
Great business owners are always looking at what the best companies are doing and trying to figure out how to imitate them. Even if you’ve never been so deliberate as to do that, you are likely imitating several things that you’ve seen succeed at other businesses. As they say, “why re-invent the wheel?”
With that in mind, it may not be a great idea for you to allow your employees to bring their pets to work like Google does, and it may not have the same impact for you to give big employee discounts on your products like at Apple, but there are certainly a number of high impact practices that small business owners like you can adapt in order to make a great impact at your organization. Perhaps the most valuable practice we can imitate is in their hiring practices.
There are two things that are the key for finding and keeping the right people, and those are; knowing who you are trying to attract to your company, and pursuing those people regardless of when you are actually ready to hire them.
Hiring begins with attracting the right kind of people to your company. It is one thing to attract people to join your company, and a completely different thing to attract the right people to your company. In order to do this, start by answering these questions;
- Who is the right kind of person for this particular position?
- Who is the best employee I’ve had in this position and what made them the best?
- Where do our future employees work now? Why would they leave that company?
- What would they be looking to improve upon from their current situation?
- How would working here make their life better?
- What do they value in an employer? A Career
Once you can answer these questions, you will have a fighting chance to avoid wasting your time convincing yourself that the first person who walks through the door is the right person.
BONUS TIP: It probably isn’t someone just like you.
BONUS TIP 2: Start by asking these questions to your current employees.
In a small business, timing is everything. We may not necessarily know when we are going to be ready to hire, until we are ready to hire. Then, all too often we become prisoners of the calendar and hire the first warm body that walks through the door.
The counter to this type of potentially costly decision making is having a pool of people with whom you’ve already communicated with, and who already know something about you and your company. If you already know the answers to these questions for a group of folks, you can get away from being reactionary every time you have an opening and actually have a good starting point for your hiring process.
I would encourage you to have what I call a “Dream Team” list that has the names of people you know well enough to know that if money were no object (never assume you can’t afford someone), you would invite them to join your team. If you are committed to developing this list over time, this can be the first place you turn to WHEN you see an opening on the horizon, or if you have one come up unexpectedly.
So, start your dream team list and change your mindset from “Now Hiring” to “Always Hiring”. If you can embrace this mindset and always be interviewing for potential team members, you’ll find yourself with a funnel of people who you will be able to turn to first, rather than having a knee-jerk reaction to job openings at your company. This will pay dividends in the short and long term for your company. It isn’t fool proof by any means, but it is a great first step to raising the level of your team and positioning your company for growth.