You know, the hiring process would be a lot easier if candidates weren’t so skilled in deceptive interview tactics – things like telling questioners exactly what they want to hear, putting their best face forward at all times, and smiling.
When you’re bootstrapping a start-up, you can’t afford to hire someone who doesn’t live up to the hype. You need employees who produce results.
Unfortunately, bona fide members of the Real Deal Society can be difficult to recruit. This is especially true if budget constraints force you to handle the hiring process on your own. Finding the right employee may be a complicated game, but it has rules just like any other game, and following them is good for a company’s health.
So here’s the question of the day: what are the top four rules for revolutionizing your hiring process?
1. Market your openings
Job openings are just like any other product your company offers: you’ve got to market it if you expect it to sell. Instead of just posting the same bland, vanilla job descriptions on Craigslist like a thousand other companies do, get creative.
Flaunt what makes your company cool. Post openings for elite hacker masterminds or legendary sales ninjas. Tweet the final standings from the go-kart race you held for the office last week. When you show the world that your company is an awesome place to work, awesome people will apply to work for you.
2. Call the references
References may be a pain to check, but that doesn’t mean you should let this step of the hiring process slide. Those names and phone numbers are included on resumes for a reason: it’s your chance to see how a candidate performed at his or her previous jobs. Do yourself a favor and follow up on them.
Before you extend an offer to a candidate, contact a few of the more interesting references and ask for an honest review of your applicant. If you have any concerns about the person, now is the time to voice them.
Not everyone is willing to give a bad reference, of course, but they might be willing to acknowledge a few specific issues. In any case, following up on a candidate’s references will allow you to make a wiser decision when it comes time to choose.
3. Ask the right questions
An interview only provides you with a few minutes to get to know a candidate. Use that time wisely. Skip the standard softball questions and cut straight to the heart of the matter.
Instead of asking candidates about their experience, give them a skills test. Instead of asking them questions about their values, ask them questions that force them to reveal their values, like “What projects would you start if we made you CEO of this company for a year?” When the interview is over, you’ll have a better idea of who a candidate really is and how well they’ll fit into your organization.
4. Control your hiring process
Organizing and evaluating a flood of job applications can feel like a chore sometimes, and that’s especially true in multiple-interview scenarios. When more than one person at your office is tasked with providing candidate feedback, a lean, functional system becomes crucial.
By using web-based tracking software, you can stay in control of this otherwise chaotic process. Candidates can be sorted into groups, ranked by your managers and evaluated with online skills tests – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
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Finding the best new employees for your small business shouldn’t be a game of chance, and it doesn’t have to feel like hard labor. If you’re having trouble recruiting talent, you probably just need a little more structure in your hiring process.
Take some time to brush up on the basic rules of the game. Think up creative job descriptions for your open positions, make some reference checks on potential new hires and download some web based tracking software to help you manage the chaos.
If you do, things will improve faster than you can say,“We exceeded our projected growth rate.”
This article originally appeared on The Resumator Blog.