How to find candidates efficiently and keep them around longer

Your employees are the backbone of your business. Great workers help your company run smoothly—and profitably. But sometimes finding the right candidates—and keeping talented employees—is easier said than done.

For example, have you spent hours considering a potential hire only to have them blow off their final interview? Or what about that amazing employee that only sticks around for a few months before jumping to another opportunity?

Luckily, this doesn’t have to be your reality. Bank of America Merchant Services, alongside its Solution Partner, Homebase, identified several ways to improve your hiring process and boost the chance of hanging on to your best employees.

1. Hire the right way

Posting jobs online is an excellent way to cast a wide net and find new people to join your team. But if you’re not careful, it can also be a huge drag on your time. According to Homebase, a company that offers employee scheduling and hiring tools, it takes the average hiring manager about 20 hours to successfully find one hire. A few simple strategies can help you use your time more wisely.

Be proactive: Schedule time to focus on hiring, whether it’s a block of a few hours every week or a little bit of time every day. Spend that time improving your current job postings, responding to applications or scheduling interviews. Doing this work during a specific time will help you stay on top of your to-do list and keep hiring issues from drawing your attention when you should be doing other tasks.

Posting jobs effectively: Finding the right candidate starts with how you plan to attract them to your business. Start by hiring at the wage you expect to pay, not at a low, trial-period wage. Introductory wages tend to attract less qualified candidates. Also, you may need to post several ads to find enough qualified applicants, but review any applications you receive in one sitting rather than one at a time.

Focus on your interview process: When you’ve identified qualified candidates, cut to the chase and offer an in-person interview immediately. Only truly interested candidates will show up, and you will save time in the screening process. When you meet with candidates be clear about your expectations and scheduling requirements. During the interview, be sure to highlight perks, from free parking to benefits such as paid time off. And don’t skip checking references before making a job offer.

Onboard the right way: When you make a new hire, the first week is crucial to their success. Be sure to provide as much training as possible, and give them a checklist to help them remember their responsibilities and your expectations. Ask them for feedback at the end of their first week, and set expectations for their second week on the job.

2. Retain top talent

Keeping excellent employees is cheaper and easier than constantly hunting for new hires. The average hourly employee sticks with a job only 300 days (less in the retail and restaurant industries). Yet extending an employee’s tenure might be simpler than you think.

One of the best ways to reduce turnover is to provide employees with a predictable schedule. In fact, 46 percent of jobseekers preferred a predictable schedule to a 10 percent raise, and predictable schedules can lower turnover by as much as 25 percent. It’s not always possible to predict the future, but prioritize this task whenever you can.

Additionally, “Employees who have opportunities to develop their skills may stay longer at their jobs,” says Rebecca Dodgen, people operations manager at Homebase. “Cross-train employees across multiple tasks to build their skills and add variety to their workday. Give them opportunities to take on leadership roles, and give them feedback about what skills they need to develop to move up to a management position. Employees are more likely to stick with employers they feel are loyal to them and have their best interests at heart.”

3. Keep employees happy

Companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20 percent, and low-level engagement from employees can actually cause a decrease in revenue. Boost morale by making employees feel appreciated. Send them thank-you notes when they do something great, and get in the habit of celebrating birthdays of team members.

Happy employees also feel empowered, says Dodgen. Give them a sense of empowerment by asking if there’s anything you can do to help them, and by listening to and addressing their concerns. If your business model includes managers, make sure that they are following the same model.

Hiring and keeping good employees takes hard work. But the right hiring and retention strategies can make that work a little easier and the payoff even greater.

Sydney Ivey serves as Bank of America Merchant Services’ general manager for small business. In this role, he manages all aspects of the company’s development and delivery of small business solutions and service.

Employees stock photo by EtiAmmos/Shutterstock