There is endless information on the web from recruiting experts and HR enthusiasts about best practices for recruiting and hiring. We wanted to provide some insight from our experiences in building the amazing team we have here at IMI (which is continually growing). The Internet marketing industry is very dynamic so you see a lot of movement and intense competition when it comes to finding and retaining the best talent. The following tips focus on recruiting first, hiring second, and retention last.
RECRUITING TOP TALENT
- Use all available resources: Just like any other aspect of business, recruiting needs to be cost effective so use resources wisely. Sometimes just because nobody in the organization has time to do it (or it doesn’t fall into their job description) doesn’t mean you should go hire an expensive recruiting agency (not that this option can’t add tremendous value – it just may not be the most cost effective). Use grass roots tactics like networking, social media, sites like Linked In, and other word of mouth strategies. Additionally, look for individual HR consultants and recruiters who can work on flexible lower hourly rates so you can control costs. But the best place to start is right in your own backyard, leading us to the second tip…
- Use your team to recruit talent: As in many industries, its a small world and people know one another. Chances are many of your team members have worked for other Internet marketing agencies and can help bring their peers over. This way you can ask your team for people they not only recommend, but also know and would like to have join the team. In sales terminology, this is what we call a “warm lead”. Also, highlight your top talent as a way to say “Hey, if this person works here, why shouldn’t you?!”
- Be prepared to be interviewed: The best talent and experienced interviewees will have some serious questions and expect good answers. Remember, you are trying to sell them on why they should come join your team, so have your “sales” hat on and be prepared. You should have answers ready and know how to approach questions regarding company history, company vision and growth, company culture, details on the exact job they are interviewing for (very detailed job description and expectations), benefits, and career path opportunities.
- Consider flexible schedules and stock options: Many times people can be recruited for the same or less money than they are currently making for an improved quality of life. Sometimes this can be simple as greater flexibility. Good employees will do what it takes to get their work done and exceed expectations. There are some proven flex schedules that can be a great recruiting value such as offering one day a week to work remotely or one Friday a month off. Stock options are also a great way to incentivize people to join your company. This gives them a sense of ownership and can give you some relief on the salary if the offer is structured well.
HIRING THE PEOPLE YOU RECRUIT
- Hire for today’s needs AND tomorrow’s vision: It is great to acquire new team members that perfectly fill your immediate needs as they are today, but it’s even better to find the people that do that as well as have additional talents that fit your future vision.
- Know the position you are hiring for: This is not as easy as it seems and the best HR consultants will tell you to perform a “job analysis”. This will provide details about the job, the types of personalities that will succeed in the position, and so on.
- Have a standardized process: Just relying on your conversation skills is not good enough. Have a process for collecting and reviewing resumes, consider starting with phone screening then initial face to face interviews, check references, perform background checks, etc. Once you have a process, follow it for every person you interview. Even act with some formality when interviewing a current team member for a new position within the company.
- Take your time finding the best people: The value of recruiting and hiring the best people will outweigh the extra payroll expense every time. Rushing a decision can lead to making bad hiring decisions which leads us to the next point…
- Avoid compulsive decision-making: In a growing company you can often find yourself in a rush to add new team members. You have managers telling you that you need more people and new accounts coming on that you are ill-equipped to handle. Having a sense of urgency is fine but fight the urge to fill the position until you have taken the time to interview a good number of candidates. Follow your process.
- Don’t just interview, test: Studies show that simply doing one or two face to face interviews does not improve your chances of getting the right people. People can hire companies to write their resumes and they can also get really good at interviewing. Just because someone interviews well and their resume is jam packed with everything you are looking for doesn’t mean they are a good fit. People will of course adjust their resume based on your job description…notice how the “Seeking opportunity in…” part is always exactly what your job description states. After a series of good interviews and reference checks, give the candidate an on the spot or take home test. This will let you see how they think, how they present information, and how much effort they put into it (telling you had bad the really want to work for you).
- Put the right people in the right seats: Make sure you have the right team members in the right jobs. Match skills with job requirements and also consider where people WANT to be. Ensuring that your employees are happy and feel like they are growing will improve performance and retention.
RETAINING YOUR TALENT
- Growth: Employees want to know that they can grow within your organization and that there can be defined career path opportunities. They will expect resources for training and development. If they do not get this they will start looking somewhere else for it.
- Clarity of their role as it applies to the company vision: Employees also need to understand how their role plays a part in achieving company goals. This comes with involving them in strategic planning and allowing them to have a voice in improving the company.
- Culture: Employees will stay with a company when they feel there is a cultural fit (i.e. they love coming to work). This goes back to hiring the right people that will fit your culture and that embrace your core values.
- Management: Good management will ensure all over the above are happening which will improve retention.