Employees are the lifeblood of your business, but even in the best of times, it can be a struggle to find the right employees for your workforce. Whether you’re scaling up your company or trying to reduce turnover, finding new employees often means an ongoing hiring process, and it can take months to fill a single open position.
Just when you think you’ve filled all of your open roles, you might find that one of your employees isn’t meeting your standards after all.
There’s a difference between finding an employee and finding the right employee.
But first, why is it that some new employees don’t work out? How can you recognize the difference between suitable employees and good employees before you hire them? And is it always the employee’s fault? Or are there things that you could be doing better?
There are several reasons why you might be struggling to find good employees:
First, you never fire anyone. If the employees you hire sound great on paper, ace their job interviews, and turn up on time for their first day, then maybe the problem isn’t them.
It could be your other employees. After all, if you’re hiring someone new to make up for the slack in your workforce, but you don’t let your weak links go, then they’ll pass their bad habits on to your new hires.
Retaining underperforming employees sends a signal to your new hires that it’s ok to slack off, show up late, or use poor time management or organizational methods.
Next, you aren’t looking for the right skills. While job qualifications are often in the eye of the beholder, there are objective ways to make sure you’re marketing your jobs to the right people. This includes writing accurate job descriptions, being clear on the minimum requirements for the role, and offering appropriate pay and benefits.
But it also means letting go of some of your expectations, and trusting new employees to do the job they were hired for. Mismanagement and over-management can happen when you expect your employees to do the job exactly how you would do it.
And third, you don’t have a solid network. There’s nothing wrong with hiring people whom you don’t have any mutual connections with, but the power of a referral network can’t be overstated. Candidates with a connection to one of your existing employees take less time to hire and stay in the position longer.
Likewise, brands without a website or social media presence can struggle to convey their company’s identity and what it’s really like to work for them. This increases the likelihood of a mismatched fit when you hire new employees.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how you can overcome these challenges and find employees who aren’t just capable of doing the job -- they excel at it.
8 best ways to find good employees:
1. Use a recruiting service or network
One of the best ways to find new employees for your company is by using a recruiting service. Whether you’re trying to fill a highly-specialized role, or a number of mid-level positions all at once, a professional recruiting team can do the work for you.
Recruiting services allow you to reach a wider network of candidates, including passive candidates who aren’t actively looking for work but are open to new opportunities.
For example, with Hunt Club, you’ll have access to a network of over 1 million qualified candidates vouched for by over 10,000 experts. You’ll be able to tap into a bigger talent pool than you could access through your own professional network.
With the Pipeline service, you can get a head-start on future hires as you scale up your team, no matter how many new employees you need to add.
2. Spread the word on social media
Social media isn’t a quick fix, but it can play a big part in your ongoing hiring process. If you build up a social media presence before you need to hire, it’ll be easier to get your job postings seen by the right people.
That’s because the shareable nature of social media posts makes it easy for employees and fans of your brand to share them with each other.
Using social media can also help you build a workplace culture and show prospective employees what it’s really like to work at your company.
In the Internet age, companies without a social media presence can come across as sketchy and secretive, and less pleasant to work for.
But posts that feature happy employees and comfortable workspaces offer social proof that your company takes care of its employees.
Additionally, social media followers who read your blog and engage with your posts are likely to be well-informed about your product or service. They often make a great fit for sales and customer support roles that require in-depth product knowledge.
3. Post your openings on the right job boards
Finding good employees means getting your posts seen by the right people, and relying on your social media followers and employees to get the word out isn’t always enough.
In that case, you can turn to specialized job boards that get your posts seen by the right audience, rather than the largest possible audience.
For example, you can find job boards related to specific industries, such as health care or engineering, as well as job boards for temporary, seasonal, or remote workers. Many of these sites send out recommended job openings to newsletter subscribers, helping you reach passive candidates who aren’t actively browsing.
If you do post on more generic job boards like Indeed, write accurate descriptions with industry-specific job titles that will show up properly in job searches. Often, unqualified applicants will apply for a job simply because they don’t realize that a specific job title refers to an advanced role in your industry.
Descriptive posts with detailed job descriptions reduce the confusion, and cut down on the number of applicants who apply on a whim.
4. Create a “Careers” page on your website
One of the most important tools in your search for new employees is your own company website. A “Jobs” or “Careers” page is the first place that anyone who wants to work for you will look to find out about upcoming job openings.
Use search-friendly keywords that make it easy for jobseekers to find you, and create a newsletter that fans of your company can sign up for to receive updates.
Don’t underestimate how proactive job seekers can be when your company has built up a reputation as being a good place to work for.
If you don’t post job listings on your website, then these jobseekers may still email you anyway to inquire about any openings. Cut down on unsolicited messages by ensuring they know what jobs are available before they reach out to you.
In addition, you can create an internal “Careers” page that’s accessible only to existing employees to give them the first chance at applying to new positions.
5. Tap into unconventional workforces
Many hiring managers have a very narrow idea of what counts as a qualified candidate. In some cases, these concerns might be sexist or ageist, but in other cases they come down to genuine concerns, such as that a candidate has gaps in their resume because they took time off of work for personal reasons or switched careers.
Need more insight? Check out What are Fair Hiring Practices and Why are They Important
These unconventional applicants may in fact have underappreciated skills that would be a benefit to your company. Solopreneurs may have less workplace experience, but they know how to adapt to a changing industry and be their own boss.
Along the same lines, stay-at-home parents returning to the workforce or middle-aged workers changing career paths can make great employees if you’re willing to accept a reference from many years ago or from their boss in another industry.
6. Turn to your existing networks
When it comes to spreading the word about new job openings, you can create a referral program that goes beyond your existing employees. Your program can include external partners, such as alumni, vendors, and even customers. This is sometimes referred to as an external referral program or a non-employee referral program (NERP).
As with an internal program, you can use an online tool to track applicants and keep the person who referred them updated on the status of the candidate. You can provide a reward for a successful hire that’s proportional to the job.
Since the pool is larger, you’re likely to receive referrals for a diverse set of applicants, and can tap into the networks that former employees have at their new jobs.
7. Focus on perks and benefits
Workplace benefits have changed a lot over the past few decades, and it can be hard to keep pace with what kinds of benefits today’s jobseekers expect from their employers.
While health insurance and paid time off are still standard offerings, you can get creative with your benefits to appeal to a particular workforce.
For example, up to 45% of employees report that student loan repayment programs are one of their most-wanted benefits. Go beyond free lunches and gym memberships by providing benefits that really make your company stand out.
8. Recruit at in-person (and virtual) events
Finally, use in-person events to build on your existing networks and create new ones. If your company hosts any meetups or social events, use them as an opportunity to meet potential employees in-person even before the hiring process begins.
Keep an eye out for talented participants who understand how to use your product and can easily converse about your product or industry.
Other opportunities for in-person networking events are at conferences, job fairs, and student groups at universities. You can also host an open house, in which prospective hires visit your workplace in person and meet with your current employees.
These ideas offer low-pressure ways for you to get a feel for the candidate pool in your area, and find out what job seekers are looking for in a workplace.
If in-person events aren’t an option -- for example, your team works remotely -- host a virtual event online, such as a Q&A session or webinar.
How Hunt Club Can Help
Looking for ways to improve your candidate pool to fill critical roles on your team? Learn more about Hunt Club's network recruiting model.