As a business owner, you deal with a lot of different resources. Your money and assets can come and go. However, there is one asset you need to do your best to hold onto. Talent can be hard to replace and hard to find. So you need to grab it whenever you see it. In this article, we’ll look at not only how you identify talent but some unexpected places you can find it as well.
Identifying the skills gaps in your business
Before you race off to start grabbing new employees, you need to think about what it actually is you need. You likely already have an idea of what the role you need to fill is. However, a member of the team does more than just fulfill a role. They bring skills to the overall composition of the team. That means you need to take the time to identify those skills, what you have and what you need. For instance, you might want to hire someone who can help with payroll and HR. But could those skills gaps be better filled by simply training someone already on the team? It’s the role and skills together that make a key employee. You need to identify a need for both.
Craft the best application process
That introspective look at what skills the business is missing (as well as the role) is going to help you in defining the application process. It starts by making sure you’re writing the best job description and advertisement you can. For one, don’t just start talking about what you need. Employment isn’t a one-way relationship. It has to offer something to the potential employee as well. So make sure you’re talking about their opportunities, the skills they can learn and the assets you can offer them. At the same time, you don’t want to exaggerate about what you’ll provide. You also don’t want to turn away perfectly applicable candidates. Makes sure your advertisement explains the differences between ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’.
Get out there and recruit
If you really want to find talent, you have to be aware of the fact that it exists in a lot more places than job search websites. The more active a recruiter you are, the more likely you are to find the people who can really bring a lot to your business. To be more successful at actively recruiting, you have to learn how to sell more than the job to a person. You need to sell the company. Be social in talent pools and communities. Produce content about your company that gives them a look in. Use things like infographics to give proactive looks at the benefits of working for you.
Ask the right questions
With the two above methods, you should hopefully have a steady stream of people coming in for an interview. The application and hiring process is about scouting potential fits. The interview is to hone down that process and find the one who is a sure thing. Poorly planned interviews can end with you saying ‘yes’ to someone who doesn’t really have the talent to belong on your team. So you need to make sure you choose your questions carefully. Ask them open-ended questions that allow them to interpret the values they’re displaying. For example, asking them about their greatest achievement isn’t just an excuse to brag. It helps them show their priorities and values and lets you see if they align with your own.
Pay attention to more than just the answers
The questions in an interview are the easy part for the employee. It’s the bare minimum that you should expect them to have good answers. To really find those that stand out, pay attention to more than the answers. Pay attention to their attitude, their enthusiasm and even their body language. Pay extra close attention to those potential hires that come to the interview with questions of their own. That shows they’re already thinking about what the role will be like. Those who come prepared with knowledge of the company are even rarer and more valuable. These are the ones who have really done their homework. They show an attention to detail and forward thinking that makes a good asset in any position.
Be willing to go for the inexperienced and underqualified
Too often, judgment can be clouded by the hard skills that you think defines a job. There’s no doubt that some measure of hard skills is required for a lot of positions. But there isn’t as much difference in a year or two years’ experience as a lot of job advertisements might suggest. You shouldn’t focus too heavily on whether someone’s inexperienced or under-qualified. Regardless of how much experience someone has, coming into a new company is going to need retraining. Do their soft skills, their attitude and proactivity eclipse the more qualified candidates? Then they are worth serious consideration. After all, a lot of experience can also mean inflexibility. You don’t want to butt heads with ‘they way we used to do it’ from an older position.
Go international with your talent
There are a lot of people who have the skills to be a real asset to a business, but far fewer opportunities. In a lot of cases, we’re talking about people who go for guest worker programs. These programs are stereotypically used for manual labor, but any business can use them to their advantage. There are enough skilled workers in the migrant community to consider opening your business to it. If you find the one that fits, you will want to keep them, too. For those situations, it’s a good idea for a business owner to have contacts like an immigration lawyer. There’s a lot you can do to ensure your international employees are here to stay.
To poach or not to poach?
Poaching, as the heady description might suggest, is a bit of a controversial topic. But it’s also a reality of life. People get dissatisfied with their jobs all the time. With a keen eye, you can be the one to identify that and offer them a better path. You can even do it in a way that isn’t overly aggressive. If you have a colleague with an employee you like, you can ask permission. A close relationship with other employers can even help. It can help you get a better look at whether those employees are worth bringing over in the first place. You need to also make sure your ‘potential poach’ has a non-compete clause that could be an issue.
Do your research on them
Before you come to any conclusion about the people found in the above methods, you want to get to know more about them. Don’t just take their word for it. If they have references, then take the time to actually get in touch with those references. Try to figure out not only if they did well in their last workplace. Angle your questions to see if they have any sort of relationship with their reference that could skew their opinion too much. You want reliable references, not just people who sing the highest praises. Be careful with how you research them on social media and the like, however. That can sometimes lead you into legal hot water.
Offer flexible working conditions
Once you’ve found the person you really want to hire, you need to think about how you ensure they accept the job. For one, you might want to consider offering them restrictive working conditions. Nowadays, there’s one kind of flexible condition that’s become all the rage. We’re talking about remote working. Remote working isn’t just convenient for a lot of employees. It can even make them more productive and motivated to stay in the job. But it’s not perfect, of course. Some people need the office environment and the work-life division it offers. But there are a lot of flexible conditions you can offer to sweeten the deal.
Ensure your benefits are doing the trick
As well as sweetening the deal, you want to make sure that the deal is pretty sweet to begin with. We are talking, of course, about the real benefits you offer. Not just insurance and retirement contributions but their salary. You can’t avoid talking about it and you need to make sure you have a good answer. Yet a lot of new employers aren’t exactly sure how much they should be forking out to prospective workers. You can be competitive, but if you get too competitive, you could be making an insulting offer. It’s a good idea to get an idea of how much to offer through things like salary reports. Base your offers on data, not just what you think you should be paying.
We hope the tips above help you craft the team you need to bring your business to a whole new level. Make sure you’re doing all you can to find, build and retain the talent that makes up your business. Your employees are your most vital asset. Treat them like it.