Hire Right the First Time: Tips for Proactive Recruitment

Everyone knows that the wrong hire can be very costly to a business. Not only will a business incur real expenses with a bad hire (estimates show the cost of one bad hire to be in the range of $250,000USD, i.e. their salary, your team’s/trainer’s salaries, and opportunity costs of lost productivity), but you also risk big impacts to the rest of the company if your bad hire is toxic to your company culture.

With the risks being as high as they are, hiring managers need to act cautiously with every hire they make.

Compounding this is the fact that the applicant pool is the biggest it has ever been, with an average of nearly 120 applicants for every job posted in North America. So, what can you do to reduce the risk and complexity of hiring and increase the likelihood of finding the best candidates for your position?

Know the Market You Operate Within

Before posting a job opening, you should look at other local players in your space to figure out what types of vacancies they have and how competitive it will be for the best applicants. You can also use data from various websites such as Glassdoor or Payscale to get an idea of what people are being paid for similar jobs. This data will help you understand what the landscape looks like and give you an idea of how competitive it will be for the top candidates.

Interview Your Team

Meet with people already on your team who thrive in the role – what makes them successful? How have they developed in their role? How accurate is the job description to their day-to-day tasks? By looking at your existing talent you can have a much better idea of what types of applicants you want to get and the skill sets you should be looking for. As a side bonus, by reviewing the role with your existing team you’ll gain valuable insight into how well the team is functioning and how a new hire may disrupt or enhance productivity.

Re-Write the Job Description

For many clients, job descriptions are written as part of obtaining authorization for the hire from senior management, and most of them include a task list outlining what the applicant will be doing. Now, while it’s vital to accurately describe the job to potential applicants, you want to communicate a lot more information about your business and the role. Job seekers are usually presented with pages and pages of job openings when they search, and you want your role to stand out.

When you re-write the job description, think about what someone on the outside of your company should know about what it’s like working there. How do you describe your working life to your friends and family? What are some of the perks of being employed there? What does the team look like? What are some of the unique things that the company does for its employees? Thinking about these types of questions will help you get into the job seeker mindset and better position the company for that audience.

Some other key tips include:

  1. Make sure the job title is accurate – especially if you have internal titles that don’t carry the same meaning outside of the company. Use other, more common titles in the job description to help describe what the role is like.
  2. Give insight into company culture. Do you do weekly lunches or events with the team? Does the company provide a professional development budget?
  3. Outline what a successful candidate looks like. What’s their experience and education, what types of technical and soft skills should they possess, and how can they demonstrate these?

Post the Job, but Don’t Stop There

Most companies are taking advantage of many online job boards to post their jobs and then wait for applications to come in.  Try to be a bit more proactive – go beyond the standard posting spots; look at your local post-secondary institutions and build up relationships with contacts in the career centres as they may be able to point you towards good candidates, and don’t forget to pass the posting around your trusted network. Surprisingly, only about 30% of vacancies are advertised, with most job openings filled by active networking. Reach out to people you trust to get access to strong candidates in their network.

Close the Deal

By this point you should be able to get to an interview stage with a small pool of viable candidates. You’ll want to vet them out to narrow it down to the right candidate, but getting to the job offer still takes a bit of creative effort. Re-think your interview process – have multiple people interview a candidate for additional perspectives, ask for a portfolio of work, check references, etc. One of the most effective tools I’ve used in the past to vet a candidate is to have them meet with someone already on that team or in that role for coffee. In this causal setting, the candidate gets an opportunity to ask more candid and open questions about the role and the company, and you get perspective from would-be coworkers on their prospective new colleague.

When you’re ready to present the job offer, remember that job seekers have access to a lot of data and can use it to negotiate the deal. Keep your offer reasonable and within the market range. If your salaries are on the lower end, make sure you balance your offer with other benefits.

Ready to Hire? Offset the Risk with a Wage Subsidy

Hiring is a difficult and time-consuming process, and it can be risky if the hiring managers don’t get it right. When there’s a good fit, you should pursue a hiring grant to offset the new hire’s wage and reduce the cost risk. Hiring grants are a great way to reduce the cost burden of a new hire as they can provide a contribution of anywhere from $5,000 – $15,000 towards the new hire’s wages. To learn more about hiring grants, contact our Government Funding Specialists today.

If your business is currently seeking new employees, it’s worth looking into whether you are eligible to receive hiring grants. Let Mentor Works help streamline the process and help you discover hiring grants and wage subsidies for your new employees by filling out the Wage Subsidy Identifier.

Find Hiring Grants for Small Business

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Mentor Works provides business support services related to Canadian government funding for business. By assessing our clients’ strategic objectives and innovation challenges, we are able to match optimal government grants for small businesses in Ontario, Canada, as well as loans and tax credits.

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