Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

5 Ways to Avoid Hiring Disasters

If you’re a fast-growing business, you’ve probably made at least one bad hire. Probably many more.

Small and medium businesses often grow so quickly, they can barely keep up with their own staffing needs. As a result, they often end up making bad HR decisions. That leads to lost time and money—and maybe even a bad reputation with customers (and future employees).

In a recent Inc. survey of SMB leaders, talent issues ranked as their single most worrisome concern.

The good news is, there are ways to avoid bad hiring decisions—with proper planning and a strategic approach to attracting talent. This article outlines 5 steps you can take to keep your HR strategy on the right track. Let’s summarize them here.

1. Understand and Articulate Brand Values

In today's business climate, where teamwork and cooperation are so essential, new hires need the soft skills to help them flourish within the company's culture. To ensure a good fit, lay out your company's culture in clear language that communicates your core values.

Yext, a leader in digital location management, is a fixture on the Inc. 5000 due in part to its ability to articulate company values and then live by them. On their website, they lay out their values in a clear and concise way:

"Our mission at Yext is to help people go places. Our products do that by helping our customers put perfect location data in the palm of their customers' hands."

The company then goes on to list what employees can expect to do (and enjoy) at Yext: “Innovate the future. Make an impact. Enjoy the perks. Grow globally.”

By articulating their core values, Yext is able to attract the creative, often quirky employees who are great fits for their company.

2. Create Powerful "Careers" Pages

Job-seekers will look at your website—and those of your competitors. So make sure that yours presents your company at its best. Video testimonials from current employees can serve as a magnet for like-minded job seekers. Among the businesses doing this beautifully are Spotify and Eventbrite.

While no longer an SMB, we also do a great job of this here at Oracle. When people come to the Oracle "Careers" homepage, they are met with the question, "You want to change the world, don't you?"

This challenge can act as a deterrent for someone just looking for a paycheck. But for someone with ambition, talent, and self-confidence, it can inspire.

3. Get Ahead of the Game

Statistics show that most bad hires are made when companies scramble to replace a current employee. A cure for this is to be constantly keeping an eye out for new talent, even when you're not looking to fill a particular opening.

"Always be hiring," preaches Les McKeown, CEO of Predictable Success. "Be proactive. Go to LinkedIn, and find people doing great things in your industry. Make a hit list, and find the people who will be your future managers."

4. Make Sure the Job Description is Crystal Clear

Job descriptions are like profiles on dating sites. If you're not clear or not honest about who you are and what you're looking for, then a bad match is almost guaranteed.

Cleary lay out the expectations, qualifications, responsibilities, and scope of the position. Don’t make a long, unrealistic wish list; instead, itemize the specific skills, certifications, and experience required to be successful in the position.

5. Use Talent Analytics to Learn What Works

Every hire you've made in the past brings with it a host of data points. You know their educational background and have information on every place they've worked in the past; you know their age at the time of hire, how they responded to specific questions in the hiring process, and a hundred other tidbits of information unique to that person.

By analyzing the data generated by employees across your SMB, you can begin to learn the combinations of personal traits, qualities, and backgrounds that lead to the best hires—and those that don't.

Companies that don't employ HR analytics are at a disadvantage when competing for talent. They’re  basically operating blind, forced to go on gut reactions and first impressions. The best decisions require data.

Thousands of SMB customers are working with us to put hiring best practices into place, along with the cloud technologies required to support them. For more, read the Inc. story or GO chat with us.

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