Your team is the heart and soul of your company. You want them to be highly motivated, engaged, innovative, collaborative, independent, dedicated, intelligent, friendly, and more. 

Is that really too much to ask?

Sigh. Finding the best employees is hard. The next time you’re recruiting staff, follow these four steps to make it just a little bit easier.

Step #1: Know Where to Look

Your perfect employees are out there. But they might not be seeing your job postings and advertisements. 

You might need to work a little harder (or smarter) to get your opportunity in front of the right people:

  • College recruiting offices – Some of the best and brightest minds graduate from universities across the country every year. Find a few top schools in your area and talk to their career development office. They likely send out job posting newsletters and hold career fairs that your company can attend.
  • Job hosting platforms – Let a third-party site do some of the legwork for you. Websites like ZipRecruiter and Indeed can find suitable candidates that you can then choose from. 
  • Your company’s network – You already employ an entire office full of highly-skilled individuals—after all, you hired them yourself. Ask your top staff members for personal recommendations of potential candidates. You can even offer a modest referral bonus.

Once you’ve got them in the (figurative) door, use an applicant tracking system to keep yourself organized during the hiring process. 

Step #2: Screen Candidates Before-Hand

There’s nothing worse than getting through three rounds of interviews with a potential employee, thinking you’ve found “the one,” then calling their old boss only to discover they’ve been misrepresenting themselves this entire time. 

If you spend a few extra hours upfront really looking into your candidates, you’ll save a lot of time (and heartbreak) on the back-end. Run a background check, and be sure to include the following:

  • Detailed credit report
  • Reported prior employment
  • Fraud alerts
  • Identity check
  • Federal watch lists
  • Current and previous addresses

You can never be too careful when welcoming new members onto your team.

Step #3: Recruit for Aptitude, Not Experience

The best employees come from near and far; from similar fields to completely unrelated ones. Either way, they might be incredibly talented. 

Just because they don’t have experience in your exact industry doesn’t mean they’re not worth hiring. Instead, look for characteristics that suggest the possibility of growth:

  • Eagerness to learn
  • Adaptability
  • Success at their previous workplace
  • Punctuality 
  • A dedication to your company
  • Passion
  • Innovation and big-picture thinking
  • Leadership ability

An intelligent, adaptable employee will learn the ins and outs of your unique field in no time.

Step #4: Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Company Fit

The perfect candidate becomes a liability rather than an asset when they don’t mesh with the rest of your team. Your business has a unique culture and energy—can they integrate into it?

Take the time to find out:

  • Bring as many people into the final interview rounds as possible, including the new candidate’s future bosses and underlings
  • Ask personal as well as professional questions (“personal” in the sense of their personality, not awkward, probing questions about their love life)
  • Spend five to ten minutes just chatting before the Formal Interview Portion begins to get an idea of their genuine energy—would you enjoy chatting with this person in the break room every day or at a company barbecue?
  • If you’re recruiting in person, consider holding a casual happy hour to introduce your final-round candidates to more of the team in a laid-back setting

Make the Most Out of the Best Candidates

Is there really such thing as the “perfect” candidate? 

As with any relationship, its success and longevity depend on both sides putting in the effort. You can waste eight months looking for a superhuman employee, or you can pick the person you feel best about and spend the next seven months training them to be the perfect fit for your company. 

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