By Fletcher Wimbush, an EO Accelerator participant
Starting a new business is an enormous undertaking. Finding the right staff is an immediate priority for some burgeoning companies, while other, smaller ventures may be able to gain some traction before settling into a serious search. Regardless of your particular case, your first talent search is a particularly important one.
The following tips will help your new business start its talent search right:
1. Do research first
Learning about the latest hiring research and proven techniques for finding top talent will put your new business ahead of the competition. Even established companies don’t always have talent managers who know what really works.
Researching pre-employment assessment tests, the best interview questions, resume-scanning tips, and other effective candidate-evaluation tools will help you create a hiring plan and select candidates who will be willing to dedicate themselves to your business’s success.
2. Create a plan
With all the plans and endless to-do lists you already have, creating another isn’t an exciting prospect. However, you don’t want to make a careless mistake at the outset of your first talent search.
Consider how you will advertise the job: do you have the funds for an outside recruiter? A good recruiting service will be willing to learn about your business and share advice with you. If you search on your own, think about how you will pitch positions to your contacts or write a job posting.
Create a list of the most important tasks for each role, as far as it is possible to define it. Create a general timeline for hiring and be sure that you are ready to conduct interviews, whether by phone or in-person. You do not want to postpone meetings and risk alienating more talented candidates.
3. Be honest but emphasize opportunity
Be honest about the state of your business. This is not for the sake of honesty itself, but for your own benefit. You may be starting out with a great deal of experience, backing, and resources, or you may be taking a huge risk. Either way, you want employees who have the right spirit and who are willing to put the efforts into helping a new business grow.
Ambitious, hardworking employees will appreciate the opportunities available. Hires who suddenly realize the business isn’t what they thought are more likely to jump ship or feel deceived and take it out on the work. Give enough objective detail of the condition of the business, but be clear that the business is new, that you are devoted to it, and that there are real opportunities for success. Support all your claims with data like growth rates or market projections. High caliber talent will see through smoke and mirror claims.
4. Highlight other new business benefits
There are many benefits of working for a new company. Make sure that candidates know it. What you emphasize depends on your particular business and goals, but it is always essential to consciously highlight these benefits if you want to attract skilled, talented people who will stick with you.
Areas you may want to emphasize include:
- More contact between supervisors and other employees
- More opportunities to contribute ideas and suggest new strategies
- More flexibility: you may need an employee to do some tasks outside of their direct role and thus offer chances for skill development
- Better chances for advancement as company grows
- Employee strengths are observed more easily in a smaller environment
- Possible profit sharing as business grows
5. Set clear expectation but accept trial and error
Sometimes in new businesses expectations are hard to quantify because there is no history to rely on. Set educated sets of expectations make sure they are clear and measurable. Be prepared to adjust these expectations regularly as the role adjusts to the realities of your business. A good rule of thumb to compare new hire performance to projected expectations at the 30 day, 90 day, 6 month and 1 year marks. This will provide a frame work of flexibility to adjust measurable expectations quickly and help retain good talent.
Finding the right people will help your new business succeed and grow. Your task will be far easier if you stay informed about the best hiring techniques and seek out candidates who have both the skills and energy you need.