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How to Find Qualified Employees

According to a Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey conducted in January 2013, more than half of all U.S. small business owners find it “very difficult” (23%) or “somewhat difficult” (30%) to recruit the kind of qualified employees they need. Despite a consistently high national unemployment rate, the hunt for individuals with the right skill-sets, and experience still goes on.

Where to look

What do your online job ads look like? Keep in mind these ads aren’t just geared to attract job candidates. They also serve as marketing vehicles for your business. The wording, therefore, should be as engaging as possible. Feature your best employment benefits in the job listing headline. Specify the types of education, experience and skills you want. Describe the best virtues of your company so job-seekers are intrigued by what they might gain from an employee.

Spread the word among your connections in trade organizations and in your social media networks. Monitor LinkedIn industry groups, watching for up-and-coming individuals who might be a good fit for your business. Let your friends, family members and neighbors know you’re on the hunt for qualified job candidates. It’s impossible to predict who might know someone who’s just right for your open position.

Try turning to your employees for recommendations, particularly your superstars. Chances are good they have friends (or contacts in their own social media networks) who are as talented and ambitious as they are. Consider incentivizing employees with a “finder’s fee,” rewarding those who refer a candidate who’s hired and stays on through the probationary period.

Expand your search to include local trade schools, technical programs, colleges and universities. New graduates enter the job market every year, some with the specific trainig (if not the experience) you want in your open position. Many of these learning institutions have hiring programs that can connect you with qualified job-seekers.

What to offer

Locating potential great candidates is one thing. Offering them a position that genuinely excites them is another. What’s the salary range for the open position? If you’ve done your homework, you should know the going industry rate. At the very least, you must match that rate. Better yet, offer a little more. Measured against the cost of employee turnover, the additional compensation is well worth snaring the best qualified individual.

What about offering a signing bonus? Depending on the position, this might just be the factor that tips the job-seeker’s decision in your favor. A bonus should be significant enough to attract the right people, but contingent upon a specified period of employment.

Also consider implementing an incentive program that offers potential employees something to aspire towards, upon joining your company. (It’s also an effective employee-retention tool to spur your current workforce to higher levels of performance.)

Prospective employees want to know there’s opportunity for advancement in your business. Does your open position offer a clear path for acquiring ever-increasing skills and responsibilities? Emphasize this in your recruitment materials and during the interview process.

Finally, do everything possible to enhance the environment in which the ideal candidate will work. Remember, this is where your employees spend much of their waking hours. A dingy, unattractive office makes a poor first impression on potential employees and immediately lessens their interest in coming on board.

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