When hiring employees, what’s your plan?

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It’s no secret that in the business community, companies often experience difficulties finding qualified people to fill open positions. Will the candidate go the extra mile? Will the potential employee stick around or jump ship? Will they be able to perform the specific job needed for my unique brand?

Those are many questions managers ask as they enter the hiring process. Your Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado wants to help you make that hiring decision easier and more efficient.

If you don’t know where to start or how to compare options, consider these five easy tips:

1. Know the scope of work you need help with.

Before you post a job on your website, social media or on local job boards, be sure to write down a list of all the projects or tasks your business needs help with. This way an applicant will know if they are the right person for the job.

Try to be specific with the duties as it pertains to the job at hand. Also be sure to post your job in a variety of outlets to help ensure you are covering as many bases as possible.

Here are a few sites that may be helpful as you get started with both postings: Colorado Springs – Craigslist; Colorado owned and operated, Andrew Hudson’s Job List; social enterprise and nonprofit jobs, Indeed.com.

2. Find out where the talent spends time.

It is wise to investigate where candidates spend their time. For example, if your business is looking for a sales representative to tackle new business, perhaps doing some covert investigating by attending a regional trade show would be a good arena to see candidates in their element and get a sense of how they manage their pitch with new customers.

If you seek an up-and-coming talent, it might be wise to network your business and its needs at a Colorado Springs rising professionals event. This allows you to chat with potential candidates in a less formal atmosphere.

If you find someone you like, all you have to do is exchange contact information and escalate the conversation in a more formal setting.

3. Test the candidates’ abilities.

Most business owners know it can be expensive to hire someone, and even more expensive to replace a new hire after a short period of employment. So before you commit, it might be worthwhile for both parties to test the waters with a sample exercise to ensure the resume matches the skills (such as a simulated sales exercise). Another approach could be to engage the candidate under a short-term contract. These approaches may help the hiring business see how the candidate operates and generates results before a full commitment is made.

When it comes time to check references, ask to speak to two to three people within the candidate’s recent work history.

4. References and how to approach them.

OK. You found a candidate who makes sense to you and your business’ needs. It’s almost time to negotiate salary and benefits.

When it comes time to check references, ask to speak to two to three people within the candidate’s recent work history. Try and limit references to the previous three to four years. Prepare to talk with references about many items including: how long they have worked with the candidate, how they communicate success and failure along with how they worked with others. Also it is very important to get to the core of the candidate’s work history; ask about the specific results generated.

A good reference should be able to speak directly to this question. 

5. Don’t settle or rush the process!

Last, it’s important to understand that in many cases, finding the best person for the job does not happen overnight.

Don’t rush. Allow plenty of time to get the ball rolling and build trust with a candidate. Your goal is to hire a person who will serve your business well, drive positive results and build positive relationships with both fellow co-workers and, most importantly, the customer.

The last thing you want to do when hiring is settle.

There’s no reason you can’t find the perfect candidate with the exciting talent pool in Southern Colorado.

Being patient in finding the right co-worker. It may feel like “waiting” — but in the long run you and your customers will be better served when you employ someone who truly is a right fit.

Matt Barrett is CEO and executive director of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado, which serves 25 counties. For more information, visit southerncolorado.bbb.org/mission-and-values.