You can do every other things perfectly – marketing, sales, client relations – and be in the best part of town, and network within your industry until you drop, but no matter how strong your business is, it will inevitably fall apart without an incredibly solid team of people working with you. Depending on what your business is, that might mean just a small handful of individuals or several hundred employees. However many candidates you’re hunting for, there are a few distinct things you can do to make your company wonderfully appealing to the cream of the crop.
1. Create an exceptional company culture
The most valuable step in getting the brightest, most talented employees to take up residence with your company is to clean house before you invite them over. Companies are finally (seriously, how did it take them this long to figure this out?) realizing that if they treat their employees with more humanity and consideration than they do the fax machines, then they might not only get happier employees, but better ones. Hopefully you’re already seeped in efforts to grow your company culture in a progressive direction, but if you’re just starting to look that way, you can start by asking your current employees what they would change, or what would make their work environment more positive and productive.
2. Be flexible
Obviously, there will be some non-negotiable aspects of any job, but the more breathing room you can give yourself to accommodate for the needs and wants of your ideal candidate, the more likely you are to be able to woo them to your company.
3. Collaborate with candidates
The thing about top prospects is that they are in demand – lots of companies would love to hire them, and that gives them power. We’re not saying to fall to your knees and let them call the shots, but demonstrating a respectful willingness to work with their needs as well as your own will put you at the top of their list. With more companies exploring alternative work environments and structures, top shelf candidates are not only looking for a job description that intrigues them but a work life that suits them. Look at the interview process less as a moment to explain a rigidly, pre-planned work arrangement – look at it as a moment to openly work with potential candidates to imagine what kind of relationship could result in both of you getting exactly what you need. You win in three ways: You show a respectful openness to care about their needs, you make sure yours will get met, and you give them a really positive taste of what it will be like to work together.
4. Do the hiring yourself
We get it: running a small business means being personally invested in just about everything that’s happening…all the time. You can only be so many places at once. While delegating is a manager’s best friend, hiring – especially for key roles – is not a thing you want to outsource to someone else. You need to get an intuitive feel for people, and that’s something that really only you can do, or at least you’ll do it better than anyone else. Not to mention that the most in-demand candidates will appreciate the fact that you are meeting with them instead of some HR person.
5. Be willing to wait
Much like dating, finding the right person doesn’t always happen exactly when you want it to. You always have the option of settling for someone who isn’t entirely perfect just for the sake of having someone fill the role, but if you are able to hold out for your dream candidate, you’ll be happy you did. Especially if the role you’re trying to find someone for is crucial, see what you can do to keep the spot open until the ideal person comes along; maybe you take on extra duties yourself, or divide them up among other top employees who can handle parts of the position in the meantime. And just like dating, you’ll know someone is right when you just know.