Q: My business is growing, and I need to hire more employees to help manage the increased workload. I’ve always been able to find employees through word of mouth and referrals when I needed to hire people before. Now we need to get more sophisticated about our hiring process, though, and I don’t know where to get started! Can you help me understand what I can do to attract the right candidates and, ultimately, hire the right people?
First off, congratulations on growing your business! The fact that you’re looking to hire is a sure sign that your business is headed in the right direction. With that said, it’s worth spending the time to make sure you hire the right candidate for the job.
Important things to consider in the hiring process are your outreach strategy, how to tackle interviews with candidates, and most importantly, how to know when to hire someone. All of these things are topics the Intronis MSP Solutions corporate recruiter, Tracy Simek, deals with every day. So we asked him to share his tips for how to add valuable members to your team.
The job posting
Before you begin promoting an open position in your company, you need to understand why you’re looking to hire a new person. Clearly define the problem that your business is facing and determine whether or not you actually need to hire another person. In some cases, the issue can be solved by restructuring current employees’ responsibilities. Or, it might be the case that there’s a lack of resources, and it really is time to bring on another person.
Once you’ve decided to move forward hiring another person, there are a few different things you can do to find worthy candidates. First, the job description is an important part of attracting the right talent. Be sure to include a brief company description, a description of the primary duties of the job, and the specific requirements (degree, years of experience, skills, expertise in specific technologies or tools, etc.).
Stating these things out right will save time for both you and the candidates. For example, if you don’t include a specific type of degree, i.e. computer science or engineering for a technician role, you will have to sort through a larger number of resumes to figure out whether or not a candidate is even worth considering.
Once you have created an appropriate description, post it to job boards. Craigslist is a good place to start because so many people use it. Plus, it’s free in most markets (and affordable where it isn’t free). Indeed is another good forum because it includes a resume search function. Also, it’s easy to use, and it’s almost universally used by job seekers. Sites like LinkedIn begin to get more complicated, so I suggest starting off with these two options.
Don’t forget about the value in your network. Post the job opening to your social media channels, tell your friends and colleagues, and spread the word. Referrals are a great way to find quality candidates.
Next, you need to sift through the resumes and decide who you’re interested in meeting in-person. Before the interview, research interviewing best practices, be prepared, and have an outlined strategy for the conversation. Determine what you want to get out of the interview and what you’re looking to learn.
As a part of your strategy, outline the questions you need answered in order to make a decision. Use the candidate’s resume to plan out more specific questions about their previous employment and past experience. You should also develop questions that are designed to explore the candidate’s interests and figure out if their abilities will work with your business model.
A useful question to ask is, “Why do you want to work for me?” Their answer will tell you whether or not they did any research on your business. Also, it allows you to get a better understanding of what they’d be interested in working on, if you did hire them.
An extremely important part of your interview strategy should be knowing what questions not to ask. Asking certain questions can get you in deep water from a legal standpoint, so be careful and thoughtful, taking the time to make sure you and any other staff involved in the interview process know what’s off limits. This will protect your business from potential lawsuits. In general, avoid asking personal questions, eliminate the chit-chat, and dive into the questions that will reveal what you’re looking to know about a candidate’s skills and experience.
After the interview, it’s time to review what you learned and make a decision. Often recruiters or business owners will have a successful interview with someone but still be unsure if their experience is enough to offer them the position. In these cases, it’s helpful to remember that all new employees will require some degree of training. Whether they need to learn how to access the shared network or understand a workflow process, there will be training involved with each new hire.
So, if the person’s abilities solve the problem your business is facing, they are worth considering. The key is to be honest with yourself about what the problem is and how that person could resolve it. If you decide they can’t solve that problem without significant training, then it’s probably best to keep searching.
Keeping these best practices in mind will help you find eligible talent and hire the best candidate for the job. Think of the recruiting process as an opportunity and a challenge. Don’t expect to fill the position overnight, but know that there are qualified applicants ready to be found! Using Tracy’s advice, we hope you are able to find fresh talent that will contribute to your growing business.
Do you have any other thoughts on what to keep in mind when hiring new employees? Leave us a comment with tips from your own experience.
Ask an MSP Expert is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between.