Recruiting the best candidates takes time, and time is in short supply for many small business owners. According to JD Conway, senior talent acquisition partner at HR software provider BambooHR, entrepreneurs recognize hiring as an important effort, but it doesn’t mean that they dedicate sufficient time to the task.
[Learn more: Jazz Tunes into SMB Hiring and Talent Retention]
“Executives don’t always make time for recruiting talent, and that creates a bottleneck,” he says. The end result: organizations end up either working without enough employees or squeezing not-quite-right new hires into open positions.
Automated Recruiting Technology
Fortunately, a number of technology solutions are now available to help small businesses reduce recruiting time without reducing the quality of the candidates coming through. “Business owners need to take advantage of this automated recruiting technology and let these systems manage the process for them,” Conway says.
Forget using spreadsheets, email inboxes, and office whiteboards to keep track of candidates. Today, a varied crop of automated recruiting platforms and applicant-tracking systems offer ways to streamline time-consuming tasks and to make the hiring process faster and more effective.
Pete Lamson, CEO of Jazz, a recruiting platform, agrees that—as the hiring marketplace becomes increasingly competitive—entrepreneurs must rethink their approach when it comes to hiring. “Recruiting is critical to the success of their business, but finding top talent and convincing good candidates to join their business isn’t necessarily their core competency,” he says.
Plus, many entrepreneurs don’t have a team of HR professionals at their beck and call. That makes overseeing all the tasks required to find, attract, and hire the right candidate even more difficult. “Small business owners may be the best in the business at what they do, but that’s a very different skill set from what it takes to source and recruit top talent into their business,” Lamson explains.
Automated Recruiting Improves the Candidate Experience
Consider, too, that hiring isn’t just about finding new employees. It’s also about representing the organization in a way that reflects its values and mission statement. How candidates experience the recruiting process needs to change to keep up with the times.
“Businesses sell not only the service or product they provide, they also sell their company to both their current and future employees every single day,” Lamson says. In this extremely competitive hiring marketplace, it’s still important to appeal to candidates who may not be the right fit for today’s job. Why? They may be perfect for a position that opens up tomorrow. “It’s really about the consistency of experience for the candidate,” Lamson says.
Conway says that using technology to make the hiring process easier and more engaging for candidates can pay rewards in the long run. “Don’t create too many barriers to entry,” he advises. An easy application process and useful communications can be a real selling point.
“There are very simple applicant-tracking systems available that don’t cost a lot of money, but it’s a cost you need to make if you’re trying to do this right,” Conway says. Cumbersome application processes are outdated, having been replaced by systems designed to make resume submission a snap.
Streamline and Simplify the Hiring Process
Tracking candidates at each step in the recruitment cycle represents a huge time sink for many entrepreneurs. Creating one place where everyone on the team can review resumes and enter feedback helps save time, and it keeps candidates moving through the process.
“Stuff gets lost and companies spend too much time managing the resumes,” Conway says. “Easy online tools now let you manage that, and some are very affordable.” Today’s recruiting and hiring software even includes automated email functionality to keep candidates engaged without burdening hiring managers.
Many automated recruiting systems include features for importing or storing position descriptions and other basic data that will you help determine which candidate is the best fit. “One of the most expensive mistakes a business can make is to hire the wrong person,” Lamson says.
Good recruiting software pulls together the tools a company needs to make good hiring decisions. Developing targeted job descriptions, identifying the best candidates, and asking the right questions during the interview will help you keeps costs down and maximize lean recruiting budgets.
[Don't miss this article: Does Automated Human Resources Make Sense for SMBs?]
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from food service to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.
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