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How to Hire Top Performers… FAST

Read how to improve your quality of hires AND hire faster

Person using Tablet and calendar.

Every company wants the same things when it comes to hiring. They want to get the right candidates on the team as fast as possible while staying within the hiring budget. Typically, that looks like a 45-day cycle. To pull it off on time, your business needs to learn how to do these three core things:

  • Attract the right people.
  • Evaluate candidates.
  • Close your candidate of choice.

Even more critical is hitting those three milestones at the right time in the cycle to stay on track (and within budget). That’s where setting goals and checking in with your hiring process comes in. If you want to attract and close the right candidates in 45 days or less, here’s when you should be hitting those milestones and how to do it.

Days 1-15

The first two weeks of your hiring process are all about finding the right people. To do so, you must fully understand the role you need to fill, craft an ideal candidate profile, and then put yourself in their shoes. Where does this person live, work, and play?

Here’s what we mean:

  • Geographically

If you’re hiring for an office, you’re limited geographically to where you can hire. Think about places where you live, work, or service that you can use to get your hiring message out.

  • Digitally

Where does your candidate spend time outside of the workplace online? Are they on Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok? These days, businesses can gain a lot of visibility by using social media and building an employer brand people want to be a part of.

By knowing where your candidates are — in person and on social media — you’ll have a general idea of how and where to distribute your job posting, whether that’s on free or paid job posting sites, organically, or by using paid ads to show up in your candidates’ feeds.

A note about paid advertising: Don’t rely solely on a catchphrase! As a startup or SMB, you’ll attract the right people because of who you are as the founder. Don’t be afraid to tell your story, too! People join companies because they believe in them and the people who started them.

Once you’ve figured out where your ideal candidate lives, works, and plays…

Determine what’s in it for them

Hiring is a two-way street. You can’t simply find the person you like best, send them a letter of employment, and expect them to sign it and come on board. They must love YOU in return and gain value (besides money) from working for your business. Attracting the right people means determining what your company can give to them above and beyond what other similar employers can.

This could be anything such as a particular lifestyle, new learning opportunities, room for growth and increased responsibilities, work-life balance, or a dog-friendly office. Ensure you know exactly what value you can add to your candidates’ lives as an employer.

Making an ad

Only once you’ve established where your ideal candidate is and what’s in it for them can you create a job ad. You’ll finally understand where to distribute your posting and how to do it. The job ad is something that also needs to be clarified. A JOB AD IS NOT A JOB DESCRIPTION. A job description is an HR document on file that organizes an employee’s title and general role in the company. A job ad is FUN. It is marketing content meant to entice your candidates enough to hit that “Apply Now!” button. Your job ad will show off your employer brand and why they should want to work for you.

In short, the first 15 days are all about attracting the right people into your hiring cycle — organically, by reaching out to people directly, or through paid ads. The first 15 days are the time to raise awareness and get the right people into the funnel.

Days 16-30

Onto core facet #2 — evaluating the people in your funnel to make sure they’re who you want to make an offer to. This is your interview process!

Your interview process should be:

  • Simple
  • Transparent
  • Efficient

You need to prepare for your interviews. Winging it is a terrible mistake for any size of business because you’ll fail to go deep, ultimately asking the wrong questions and hiring the wrong person. The resulting turnover will cost your business MORE money.

Transparency

We’re big on transparency. If you’re clear about your interview process, you’ll lose people when they think things are taking too long. Additionally, items like tech assessments can be involved and timely for a candidate. They’re more likely to complete it if they know it’s coming. It’s also a bonus to compensate the candidate for the time spent completing an assessment! Even something as simple as a small gift card will go a long way, elevating the response rate and providing an excellent experience.

Determine the right questions

Asking the right questions is crucial. Look at the key objectives you want this role to achieve and formulate questions around that. Seek specific data from your candidate and ask for specific examples. These are a few samples so you can see what we mean:

  • For a sales role: 

Don’t ask the basics like, “What was your quota,” and, “Who did you sell to?” Dig deeper. Ask, “What was your quota attainment over the last two quarters?”

  • For a marketing role:

Don’t let a “300% increase in results” impress you. Ask them what resources they had to achieve those results and over what time period.

  • For an engineering role:

Don’t just take the success of a project at face value. Determine who else was involved in the project and ask the candidate their specific role in achieving the outcome.

By the end of weeks three and four, you should be entering the offer stage of your process and will need to close the candidate you’ve identified as the right fit.

Days 31-45

Here’s where you learn how to close a candidate client — yes, it often comes down to money talks. So many recruiters and companies struggle to talk about the money or financial expectations when hiring. We get it! You don’t want to show your cards too fast, and that old business bias of “whoever shows their number first loses the negotiation” remains strong. Again, we value transparency, and the sooner you can get the money talks on the table, the more likely you are to win the right candidate for your business.

Here’s what we suggest:

  • Talk about money early and often so there are no surprises at the end (for either party).
  • Continue to discuss the money throughout the hiring process — your candidate cares about this bottom line.
  • Have a pre-closing conversation to ensure they sign that dotted line.

By being upfront, you’ll be able to address any concerns a candidate may have about working for your company. Plus, if you do it early in the cycle, you won’t be left waiting and wondering why they haven’t signed your offer.

If you’re offering them less than they want…

Tell them WHY! Maybe you’ve said the job can earn between $80-100k. They’re going to want that higher number. If you offer them $85k, tell them why and give them a plan for how to upscale their abilities moving forward to hit that upper limit. This can be part of that human, pre-closing conversation, so you don’t waste an offer if they’re going to say no.

It’s easy to go above your budget if you get competitive or emotional about hiring, but overpaying sometimes isn’t worth it. If someone isn’t as qualified as you’d like but seems like the perfect match — explain that to them when you talk numbers and how you’ll get them there. There are also ways to balance your budgeting a bit to get the right team member on board. However, if they’re willing to let your job offer go over a slight difference, they didn’t believe in your company’s value and vision in the first place. They weren’t the right candidate for you.

Hit those hiring goals on time

If you nail down the three core aspects of hiring and stick to this timeline, you’ll not only hit your hiring KPIs and stay within budget but also bring in the right teammates for your business. Remember, know where your candidate lives, works, and plays, be transparent, ask good questions, and have a good, human conversation before sending out the offer to seal the deal. If you need help reaching your hiring goals, establishing an employer brand, or running a successful recruitment marketing campaign, reach out at any time! Pivot + Edge specializes in helping startups and SMBs hire successfully and build out their talent roster for future job openings.

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