You don’t need to be a professional recruiter to use best hiring practices. For a good start, implement some of the industry best practices into your everyday operations.
1. Do it like a pro.
Know exactly who you are looking for (job description). Act quickly. The best candidates will get hired fast, either by you or someone else.
Ensure a good candidate experience (it’s a small world).
Work closely with the recruiter (both internal and external) and ensure he or she is thoroughly briefed and excited about the company and role to excite potential candidates.
2. Help your candidates like you.
There is no point searching for A-players if you’re unable to present them a competitive offer. Even if you are not able to offer the highest salaries, you can still bring great people on board.
Your candidates might be more interested in remote working or longer holidays rather than a 10% salary increase. While interviewing, dare to ask what matters to them before you extend an offer. This is especially effective if the candidate looks initially out of reach due to budget constraints.
Be creative. While preparing an offer for your candidate, talk about things that matter to them most, let it be impact, independence, more challenging role but also shares, longer holidays, shorter working hours, flexibility, office location, free snacks/lunches, team building activities, conferences/training, or “come with your dog” policies.
3. Don’t oversell.
There is a difference between talking about a big bold organizational vision (good idea) and overselling reality (bad idea). Be open about your current situation, challenges, tools, budgets, team, ownership, and impact the person will have. Overselling never ends well, neither for the candidate nor for you.
4. Take ownership.
Don’t believe that someone else can “hack” the hiring for you. If you don’t know who you are looking for, what they will work on, or you have no clear selling proposition for candidates, no one else can do it for you.
If you feel like you need an advice, hire an experienced consultant who will work closely with you to set up the basics. It is too early to work with external recruiters if you don’t have the tools (a message, a unique value proposition), which would help them attract strong candidates.
5. Stay hands-on.
Your company is still small, pays less than your established competitors, and doesn’t have a recognizable brand – yet. This is exactly why you, your vision, and your passion are the best reason for candidates to join you*.
Go out and talk to people. Make extensive use of your network and your network’s network. Talk openly about who you are looking for. Don’t be shy approaching interesting people on LinkedIn. Go to events. Being hands-on will help you build your company visibility as well as get direct feedback from interested candidates about your offer and company.
*This is also why it is impossible to outsource hiring at an early stage if you want high-quality results.
6. Be ready to fight for the right candidate, because others will.
Keep the conversation open, be aware of their doubts and try to answer their questions upfront, build trust and excitement about the opportunity of working together, keep aligned about their salary expectations (it might change over the process), and always be closing. From the candidate’s perspective, changing jobs is a complex process – it is not only about the job itself, but also emotions (fear of change or risk avoidance) and how the change will impact their loved ones.
Handling objections is an important part of a recruiter’s job. Or yours, if you currently have no recruiter on board.
7. It is all about timing and building a relationship.
Don’t get discouraged if the candidate tells you that she’s not interested at the moment. It’s still a good idea to invite her to the office or for lunch, get to know her better and build a relationship. The truth is that lots of interesting candidates will not be interested in your company initially – they are busy, they regularly receive interesting offers, and you are anonymous to them (for now). Help them get to know you.