It seems like everywhere SMBs (Small Businesses) and retailers are short-staffed (and hiring). At the same time, with high inflation plaguing the country, other businesses are in the middle of layoffs.

It seems as if these two realities would meet together, and establish an economic equilibrium … but from my (anecdotal) and limited analysis of the data, the sides of this particular equation don’t seem to be balancing yet.

So, here we are. And if you’re in the “to hire” group, I’m sure you’ve learned that finding the right kind of help is way easier said than done. There are so many new things to consider right now, and the pressure to offer higher wages conducive to match inflationary pressures can complicate the process.

Still, it’s not an impossible feat. In fact, it’s a highly manageable task I’d like to give you some tips for tackling in your business.

The Hiring Tips Your Business Needs
“We can’t completely eliminate the chances of hiring somebody wrong. It is very much like dating.” – Pooja Agnihotri

You’ve got an on-premises, in-person job to fill. When you get a sec, you pull a resume off the top of the tall and long-ignored stack on your desk, dash off an email to the downtrodden job-seeker and within seconds you get a response asking when they can please please please come in for an interview?? Salary doesn’t matter. I’ll get to it … you think. 

Then you wake up

Today, you need every trick in the bag to retain employees so your company can keep running. Before you throw up your hands, think through hiring as a systematic process – like any other business move. 

Here’s my take.

Hiring Process Tip #1: Set up a recruiting system

If you hadn’t guessed, the unemployment rate has been falling more or less steadily for at least a year and a half. Gone are the days of “I’ll get to it.” You need a system to find people. 

Block out the time. Dedicate a half hour every day or a couple times a week to hunt for job seekers. Get yourself lots of room, a comfy chair, and mute your phone.

Get resumes through the door. Most online recruiter sites will let you set up a resume alert that will efficiently ping you with people who come closest to matching your needs. Social media gets mixed reviews in general, but it remains a great recruiting tool. You can share job postings with your entire network (a good idea online and in person, by the way – think Chamber of Commerce). Posting photos and videos of your company and office space can entice suitable candidates. 

Other kinds of recruits. Recent retirees should be considered as a possibility. As inflation continues to pummel wallets nationwide, it’s also driving many of these skilled workers back to the workforce. And use the right people you have already: Your staff is part of your network, too, and an employee referral program can encourage more of your employees to help find the best talent they know. (For referral incentives, cash is still king.) 

The well-written job description. This continues to be one of the biggest draws for applicants. Use specific titles and spell out day-to-day responsibilities and needed skills. Don’t be shy about bragging about your values and people – in a recent survey more than 7 out of 10 respondents said those are key when responding to ads. 

Use a code word. One sneaky tip for a description: Ask applicants to include a code word in their cover letter, like “Mention [blank] in your reply …” Put this request two-thirds or three-quarters down in your description, but not at the end. This way, their cover letter will tell you if they bothered to read the entire job description. 

Have the money talk upfront. These are hard times for employers. The old rule says the first person to mention money loses… But there’s no getting around that applicants still look for this detail first. You’re going to have to talk money sometime, and it eventually saves everybody time to talk about it from the get-go. Provide a pay range in the description. 

Hiring Process Tip #2: Scan

So now you’ve got your pile. How to get through it quickly? 

– The cover letter gives you a fast impression of the applicant’s personality and a notion of whether their experience fits what you’re looking for. What’s your gut reaction? By the way, did they use your code word?

– Your first scan of the resume can turn up bad spelling and grammar but also look for keywords that fit your job opening. Scan a second time for skills and qualifications. Compare the applicant’s toolbox to the description of your job.

– Read the job history closer. Any suspiciously short work experiences?  

This process – which with any luck you’ll get faster at – will help you see if the applicant qualifies for an interview. And keep all strong resumes. Even if they don’t fit this job, they might fit a future opening. 

Hiring Process Tip #3: Take a seat …

Used to be the interviewee was the one selling themselves, and to a degree, that’s still true. But with the labor shortage today, you have to sell too. Big smiles and… 

  • Treat the interview like a sales call with a potential customer, with the same energy and enthusiasm. Sell your real perks, like flextime or remote work options. 
  • Show up on time, be hospitable (hot day = offer of a cold drink), and give them your contact info for follow-up. 
  •  Involve your candidate’s potential peers in the interview. Your staff knows what it takes to do well in the position and can give the candidate a clearer picture of the job. (It’s also a good way to train your future interviewers and managers – so you won’t have to go looking for them down the road.)

 

Now, hiring is just the beginning of maintaining your workforce. This is the season of investing in your employees, showing them real value and appreciation. Sure you can throw money at people, but that may not make them stay if they’re unhappy.

We are in the hiring process. If you are a CPA/Enrolled Agent, we have a flexible schedule opening. Find the number at our website Utah Real Estate Accountants, ask for Jonathan.

 

BE THE ROAR not the echo®

Janet Behm