By Liz Maples
As an entrepreneur, your most valuable asset is your people. You count on them to help you keep the wheels turning on your business, to develop ideas and strategies to help you grow, and to basically become a part of your family. So how do you ensure you’re bringing on the right people?
We have some great news – LinkedIn research shows that 90% of candidates overall are open to new opportunities and 87% of professionals are interested in hearing from small and medium-sized businesses. Why? Because they want to make a bigger impact.
Here are three things you can do to get the right people in the door:
Paint a Clear Picture of The Job, Every Time
Both as the employee or employer, disappointment comes from unmet expectations. So how do you hedge your bets against that outcome? “Unsell” the job, clearly define the role, and set expectations.
Here’s an example: Early in my career, I interviewed with the head of a small publishing company for a role on her team. During my final interview, she opened with, “At the end of the hour, I’m going to offer you the job. Between now and then, I’m going to tell you exactly why you shouldn’t take it.”
This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s a strategy worth considering: The manager spoke candidly about the pros and cons of the role, and gave me a real sense of what to expect. It pressure-tested whether or not I was the right fit, and you know what? I took the job, went into it with eyes wide open — and loved it.
Candidates don’t expect the workplace to be perfect. When a recruiter or a hiring manager is honest about company shortcomings, it builds trust and opens up a more constructive dialogue. Candidates then can then hit the pause button to consider whether the company and the role are what they’re seeking. Candidates who self-select out after learning more can save you from a costly bad hire.
Show Them How They Can Grow
LinkedIn research shows that the top reasons for job change are more growth opportunities (37%) and more challenging work (36%). On the flip side, when professionals feel they’re learning and growing, doing something meaningful, and controlling how they work, they’re less likely to leave. It should come as no surprise, then, that the opportunity to improve their skills (56%) is the biggest reason people want to stay in their current job.
Employees at smaller companies have so much more access to different parts of the business: Roles are often a little less rigid, and your “finance department” (of one) sits right next to your marketing team of two. You can easily redefine roles or let employees tackle projects that may be outside of their original scope to gain new knowledge and skills. Helping employees grow not only goes a long way in terms of mitigating flight risk, it also signals to job-seekers you can offer more than just a narrowly-defined job.
During interviews, share examples of how employees have grown with your company and have been given freedom to do new things. Highlight the flexibility that comes with being a small, nimble team where responsibilities are often shared and people can try new things, so that candidates can envision the possibilities for their own career.
Make Company Culture Your Top Priority
A strong company culture can be a powerful tool to attract, engage, and retain talent. You might have a great strategy, but if you don’t have the energy, freedom, respect, and appreciation that healthy culture provides, your employees won’t get you over the finish line.
If you’re not sure what your culture is really all about, start with an assessment. Find out how people at your company feel about work, and what they believe about their jobs and the company. Ask them what drew them to you, what makes them stay, what causes people to leave, and then look at recruiting conversion rates. You’ll see where you can take steps to improve.
This process also reveals what you’re doing right, forming the foundation of your employee value proposition — basically, what you can promise to your employees. Once you understand the unique value you provide, you can communicate that when recruiting.
Even in a tight job market, your company can stand out to the right people. When you make an effort to manage expectations, showcase career opportunity and shine the spotlight on your culture, you’ll find that when it comes to recruiting top talent, size really doesn’t matter.