The know how of hiring the best!

Small Business Trends puttogether article on How to Hire the Best (for the least expense)

Great article to follow through to maximize your dollar for the quality employees.


• STEP 1: Clear, Precise, Thorough Job Description.

Make absolutely sure this is your first step. Appropriate levels of detail vary for each job. Include the need that’s solved with this person’s hire. It’s impossible to measure their success, and yours for their hire, without it. Include their incentives. Do not proceed to go before this is completed.

Your goal is clear now. The next step is made easier.

• STEP 2: Clear, Precise, Job Qualifications.

The details make the difference here, too. Your work environment, the setting, their workspace, personality of their colleagues…all must be included along with specific task-related skills necessary to perform the tasks of the job. You’ll hire the person that fits your needs, stated or not. The purpose here is to state them clearly, for everyone’s acceptance.

• STEP 3: TOE the line.

o Transparent. You’ll be rewarded with greater engagement, participation, input and…forgiveness as you make this recruiting process transparent for all. Tell everyone, tell them repeatedly and put it in writing. And demand the same of everyone else. Small companies usually are at an advantage here. But this is a double-edged sword.

o Openness. Keep all parties informed, all to all, on the progress of each step in this recruiting process. It’s time-consuming if your time horizon is very short. Otherwise, it’s obvious this is an investment whose immediate return comes in the form of …

o Engagement. The holy grail of small business success. Recruiting and hiring is a perfect opportunity to create another layer of engagement with the current members, with the future member.

Everyone now knows when and what you want to hire. And why.

And they know they’re engaged in the process.

Who and Where are the next questions. Who has the qualifications? Where do you find them?


• STEP 1: Look Within.

The first place, usually the best place, for all your company’s solutions rests internally. That’s everyone in your company: your employees, your colleagues. It’s their evangelism that’s brought your team together. Their evangelism brings your customers to you. Look to them. They know best how to solve your company’s needs. They’ll know best who will work best.

o Note: Some company circumstances allow customers and partners/vendors to be included at this stage. I’d label that step 1A. Do it only A. if your relationships make it possible; B. after you’ve asked, transparently, your closest confidantes: your employees.

• STEP 2: Evaluate Within.

Vet the potential candidates internally before contacting any directly. This is most important in any small, close-knit community, whether it’s geographical or professional. This step will save time, money and embarrassment for all involved.

• STEP 3: Create a single point of contact.

Identify one person to contact any potential candidates after being vetted internally first. This respects the confidentiality of the candidates, avoids conflicting messages and saves everyone time. Let this person manage the interactions (interview follow-up, additional interviews) with the candidates. It can be the hiring manager. You can also use this process to test the capabilities of a promising member of your company.


You’ve been unable to hire your desired candidate. Maybe, you’ve even interviewed one or two with no success. But any possible candidates for further review have been eliminated.

Now, what? What are your options?

• Ads? Be prepared for an onslaught of unqualified emails, resumes and phone calls.

If you must use an ad, I’d encourage you to keep the name of your company confidential. Competitors don’t need to know. Idle and incorrect gossip is kept to a minimum.

• Recruiters?

Be careful. And I say that having been a recruiter for corporate bankers back in the day. A top-notch, professional, recruiter with high levels of integrity can bring added-value to your company with each search they handle. They can find better candidates, they can do a better job of screening candidates, they can focus your time on meeting only the best of the candidate pool.

Unfortunately, it’s a minority of recruiters who fit this bill. No offense. But the potential for conflicts of interest, the lack of any enforced standards, the lack of loyalty…all increase the risk of an expensive and unproductive experience.

IF…you choose a recruiter, make sure it comes recommended from a trusted source. And, follow these recommendations:

o Verify their universe of candidates? What companies, competitors, do they have an existing relationship? This is the list from which they cannot recruit candidates for your job. The bigger the list, the smaller pool of candidates to draw from.

o Testimonials. Do NOT move forward without 5-10-15 wonderful testimonials.

o Expenses. Don’t pay them…unless it’s a very high-level position that requires a high-level of personal, confidential handling and it’s a limited universe of candidates.

o Maximum fee. Most recruiters are compensated based on a percentage of the salary of the candidate you hire from their recommendation. That incentivizes them to encourage you to pay more. Fix a maximum fee, regardless of the candidate’s eventual salary.

o Timelines and deadlines. Get them in writing. Hold them accountable with penalties for non-performance.

• Two potential resources.

I’ve used neither. But if I’ve told you to NOT use a recruiter…and you’re out of candidates…I should offer a solution.

o New-Hire.

I chose this company in recent weeks as my Small Business Resource of the Week. I’ve met the CEO, Chuck Smith. He came recommended by Steve MacGill, CEO and founder of Peersight Online. The testimonials for New-Hire were plentiful and their responses were near immediate and universally enthusiastic. I had created a partnership with them while CEO at another company.

Their key is that not only will they work with you to craft the text of your and work to place your ads for maximum responses, but they have an online application that lets you create a screening questionnaire and filter the candidates based on their answers. This let spend time only with those candidates you want to meet.

Chuck’s had many years in the recruiting and hiring business. And if you really, really want a recruiter they offer that service also.

o Hire Insight.

If I didn’t know New-Hire, I’d talk with Chad Hayward at Hire Insight. We’ve exchanged emails. I like his approach:

In terms of fishing or farming, the key is treating the process like a marketing activity (see http://blog.hireinsightselect.com/?p=12 ). Basically, this means developing an employer brand and designing appealing materials, such as postings, around that brand (i.e., “why would someone want to work for you?”). Of course, then there is the need to find the right places to market that job (generic job boards are not the only option, and is often not best); maybe we could offer suggestions on where readers could post vacancies.

In summary, I hope some of this helps clarify some steps to take to insure you recruit the Best Talent for the least expense.

The Best …for the Least. (It should be every small company’s motto in every thing they, we, do. It’s an easy way to A. be a stand-out; B. keep the cash-flows positive.)

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