pumpkin and apple shaking hands

Lose weight. Quit smoking. Invest more. Drink less. If you made a new year’s resolution, you’re in good company: An estimated 45 percent of people regularly make one. But what about your business goals? If you have plans to scale your operations this year, it all starts with hiring. Here are five incredibly achievable hiring resolutions to help you grow your business.

1. Standardize your process

The more hiring experience you have, the greater the likelihood that you’ve made a few bad hires. It happens to the best of us.

“We’re super susceptible to the ‘gut-check test’ and we often hire by it, “ says Mike Stratta, CEO of Arcalea, a digital marketing agency. “Someone seems great, meet them, they answer questions great. Hired. Three months later they didn’t work out. Bad for them, bad for you.”

Stratta’s found that hiring software has been useful in helping his agency to set and follow a standard process that they apply to all candidates. With these measures in place, they’re able to be take a more objective approach to hiring. The end result is employees who aren’t just likeable, but effective.

“By standardizing the process, it eliminates or greatly reduces the tendency to ask leading, positive questions and hire out of the initial few steps,” says Stratta. “Slow it down, ask the same questions of everyone in the process, screen and eliminate with each step based on prescribed conditions, score them accordingly and THEN meet the final three candidates. This eliminates your bias until it’s time for it. However you do it, follow a process and you’re already improving.”

2. Increase your diversity efforts

Hiring for diversity isn’t about tokenism. It’s about inclusivity and making a concerted effort to represent a wide range of perspectives. And it’s just plain good business: Diverse firms are 45 percent more likely to report a growth in market share than their homogeneous counterparts. It makes sense – the more diverse your staff is, the more likely they’ll be able to connect and empathize with a wide range of consumers.

Pinterest is one company that’s upping its diversity efforts this year. They just hired its first head of diversity, Candice Morgan. She’s tasked with helping the company to achieve some aggressive goals, including increasing the hiring rate of women in full-time engineering roles to 30 percent, and increasing the hiring rate of underrepresented minorities in non-engineering roles to 12 percent.

Gimlet Media is another organization with plans to become more diverse. The podcast company intends to double their staff this year, and they want to make sure their next set of hires is more heterogenous that their first set of hires – right now, 24 of their 27 employees are white. In the ‘Diversity Report’ episode of their Startup podcast, Gimlet CEO and cofounder Alex Blumberg talks with staff about what diversity means and why it matters. It’s not just about hiring people of color. That’s a component, sure, but it also means making sure LGBTQ people are represented on staff, as well as people with different viewpoints.

3. Revisit your job descriptions

When was the last time you examined the job descriptions for existing roles? If they’re roles you haven’t hired for in quite some time, chances are it’s been a while. And in that time, your needs have changed, the market’s changed and technology’s changed.

“Before searching for a person, create a job description that details what types of assignments this employee will be required to perform in the open position,” says Mike Smith, founder of SalesCoaching1, a sales consulting firm. “This will help better define the skill sets needed and assist in the employee reviews later in their employment.”

A job description is critical to attracting the most qualified, best fit candidates. It can also help or hinder your diversity efforts. If you’re wondering whether your job description is written in a way that will discourage women from applying, try running it through this gender decoder.

4. Leverage the power of social

Social recruiting was a ubiquitous topic of conversation last year, and it’s not going away this year. It’s no longer a trend; it’s the norm.

“More job seekers are using social media to research companies and find jobs on social networks,” says Kyra Mancine, a social media specialist for the recruiting office of Oldcastle, a manufacturer and distributor of building materials. “In addition, companies are spending more time using these channels – not just to post jobs, but to showcase company culture. I also think that LinkedIn’s opening of its self-publishing platform to everyone has leveled the playing field for job seekers: Anyone can now write their own blog post and has the potential to become an influencer or showcase their expertise in their field.”

To that end, Medium can be a great place to source talent. Talent acquisition professionals have been using Twitter as a recruitment platform for years; once Twitter expands its character limit from 140 to 10,000, such activity will likely only increase.

Talent communities are another type of social recruiting. Employers create talent communities in order to interact with prospective candidates, as well as to inform candidates about employment opportunities, receive referrals and handpick qualified individuals from inside the group. “We started a talent community to engage job seekers who visit our page but do not apply,” says Mancine. “By reaching out to them with a newsletter, it re-engages them into considering working for us.”

5. Improve your candidate experience

From designing a beautiful careers page and simplifying the application process to responding to candidates in a timely manner and thoroughly reviewing resumes before an interview, companies have ample opportunity to improve the candidate experience.

In a recent survey, Software Advice found that job seekers think that the most aggravating aspects of the candidate experience are:

  • Unclear application instructions (94 percent)
  • Extremely long application (90 percent)
  • Minimal job description (90 percent)
  • No link to application (90 percent)

All of these are easily avoidable, right? And it’s even possible to create a positive candidate experience when you don’t hire a candidate. In 2014, writer and filmmaker Heath Padgett traveled the U.S. with his wife and worked a job in all 50 states while filming their documentary, Hourly America. On TalentCulture’s #TChat podcast, he spoke about applying to be a batboy with the Cleveland Indians. For a variety of reasons, he wasn’t a fit for the MLB team, but the hiring manager provided such a great experience that he still emerged from the experience a fan of the organization.

“I got off the phone with her with an inspired feeling,” he said. “It was different from all the other rejections. She did something totally different than all the other organizations. She said she liked what I was doing, and she they’d already committed to somebody. She gave me a reason she wasn’t hiring me…. And she gave me some alternatives. She said, ‘Here are some local bars you may want to apply to.’ She tried to work with me to find a solution.”

Remember that on the other side of an application is a person. When designing your candidate experience, do so with empathy and consider the process you’d want to go through and the treatment you’d want to receive if the tables were turned. 

Photo: Orin Zebest

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