Jesse Kolber is the Founder and CEO of LogicPrep. With over 10,000 hours of SAT/ACT teaching experience over the past 15 years, he has keen insight into the topics covered on the tests as well as the psychology behind test taking.
Hiring the right people is essential to any business. Through trial and error, our education company, LogicPrep, has been able to improve our hiring practices and therefore better service our clients by bringing in quality talent, avoiding high turnover and, quite possibly my favorite benefit, not having to let people go often. Below are five tips from our experience that can help your company too.
Give Specific Instructions During the Application Process
When our company started sourcing talent after the economic crisis in 2008, the number of applicants was staggering. To combat the influx of applications, we developed a few hoops for prospective hires to jump through so that they couldn't bombard us with generic applications. More than 80 percent of the applicants didn't follow the directions, so we immediately disregarded them. Think about what matters to your business--what kinds of qualities, specifically, you're seeking -- and screen for them in the initial phases of the hiring process. Create barriers that not only assess interest, but also give insight into the applicant's skills. Requiring a particular kind of resume format or asking applicants to address specific questions in their cover letters may facilitate that.
Create Tests for Each Position
Bringing a person into your organization is a big step, and it's a lot easier to spend a little extra time during the hiring process than a lot of time trying to make the wrong person fit into your company. We always think about what characteristics we would want our prospective hires to have and then find a way to test for those qualities. For many positions at our company, our staff has to be able to email quickly and articulately, so we test applicants' typing speed and ask them to respond to sensitive emails. When our positions require some arithmetic, we throw in a few math questions.
If a position involves presentation skills, don't just ask the typical questions--have the applicant make a presentation (but warn them ahead of time). Or, if there's a service component to your business, have the applicant work with a "test" client and solicit their feedback.
Incentivize Referrals From Within
Depending on how valuable the position is to your company, you can offer anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to your staff. This is an awesome way to find talent at a fraction of the cost of a headhunter. Of course, we only pay our staff for a referral that we end up hiring, but it's a great way to encourage teamwork. Leverage social media too, posing the job description on your company's website so the link is easily sharable. You may also want to create sample text to help employees frame the tweet or post. Occasionally, depending on the nature of the position, it may even be appropriate to post the job on your company's social media accounts.
Market Your Company
When you post a job, put yourself in the position of the applicant. Would you want to work for this company? Take time to put your logo on your materials and to properly capture the essence of your company in the job description. Don't just mention salary--think about perks. Ask your current employees what drove them to the job, and leverage that in the job description itself.
Don't hire the first applicant who walks through the door. When you really want someone and are eager to get back to work, you might be tempted to hire quickly. However, I can't stress how important it is to meet a few qualified applicants so you can compare them. For example, make it a rule that you won't give an offer until you've met at least five prospective hires. Rushing to hire the wrong person can save you time now, but you could end up paying dearly if he or she isn't a good fit.
Hiring is certainly not a one-size-fits-all practice. Developing your own unique method will not only help you find applicants with the right skill sets, but also ensure you're not blinded by great personalities. Having to let nice people go who can't provide what your team needs is never pleasant.