Hiring great employees isn’t easy. Every step brings its challenges and heartaches: recruiting stellar candidates, navigating the hiring process, onboarding new employees, inviting them into your company culture and encouraging high performance and professional development. And when you do find that great hire, what’s the secret to getting them to stay and grow with the company?

Jill Hathaway, your friendly neighborhood business coach, is here to answer some of your many questions about hiring and holding onto those elusive stellar employees. Aside from coaching many entrepreneurs through ScaleUP! Kansas City and the University of Missouri – Kansas City Small Business and Technology and Development Center, she’s also lived and learned from her experience of running her own business. Now, she helps small business clients avoid some common pitfalls—especially with hiring.

Looking to hire your first employee? No matter if you’re in Kansas or Missouri, this free hiring checklist will help you grow your business by expanding your team.

1. Get Creative: Go Beyond Online Job Boards

Sure, job boards like Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Startland News are great resources for getting the word out about your company’s new gig, but instead of casting a line on a third-party site and hoping to land that ideal candidate, why not take your request to potential candidates?

You could tap your networks or run ads on social media or in trade journals to pique the interest of passive candidates who aren’t actively looking for an opportunity.

And ever think about leveraging your current marketing efforts for recruitment? For example, you could use your company vehicles as marketing opportunities. You could print something like “Text JOB to 123456” on the side of the company car to let potential applicants know you’re hiring. Or maybe you create a class or an event centered around a passion: That’d let you pick potential talent based on a common interest.

The point here: The people you interact with outside the office could be your next employee.

2. Use Tech to Cull Talent from the Top

Technology has simplified the way we work, so why can’t it also simplify how you hire? Put your tech to work.

Before scheduling in-person interviews, have candidates answer questions via Skype to get a sense of how they’d act in certain scenarios. For example, maybe you had a difficult business situation you recently remedied; you might ask applicants how’d they respond if they were in your shoes. Or maybe you posit those value questions in the application—that way, you really get into the brain of a potential employee and can easily scan to see who might already have those character traits you want. Either way, that will likely save you time, energy and headaches.

Just make sure you’re asking the same value questions of each applicant so you’re screening candidates with a common and fair denominator.

3. Hire for Character Over Skills

Yes, hiring for certain skills is important—candidates should be able to do the job—but that shouldn’t be your only consideration.

In some cases, you might hire for character over skills. Why? Because you can teach someone social media strategies, how to create a spreadsheet or any number of job duties, but you can’t teach or reprogram someone’s character, drive and enthusiasm to learn.

In some instances, hiring someone for skills over character might create dissention within the company because that worker doesn’t mesh with the company’s values and culture. So it’s good to know who you are as a company.

Yes, you should hire a diverse workforce in regards to talents, experience and perspectives, but also make sure the character you want in your employees is the character you lead with. Make sure that’s visible in the interview and the job description.

4. Retain Your Employees

Understand what motivates your employees because good hires are more than a “body”; they’re people who, when motivated, will help drive your vision as if it were their own.

One of the most important things you can do to retain talent is make sure employees get some sort of value from the job (bonuses, perks, work-from-home opportunities, professional development, etc.) Firing people is obviously frustrating, but if that thought crosses your mind, ask yourself if you’ve set expectations for employee performance and if you’ve offered opportunities for professional development.

Why focus on this? Because employees might be looking for more than a paycheck and want the opportunity to learn, grow and be recognized. If the employee you’re hiring meets the value, vision and character of the company and you haven’t created a opportunity for them through training and project management and upward mobility, why would they stay with you? Dissatisfied workers will look for a company that will give them those opportunities.

Bonus: Download the Coach’s Playbook

Jill has seven questions that cut through applicants’ resumes and cover letters to reveal more about how they accept feedback, how they work under pressure, how committed they are to the job and career, how honest they are and how they prefer to be managed. Download these free seven interview questions that’ll help you reveal a candidate’s true potential.

Article written by David Cawthon (KC SourceLink) on July 24, 2018