5 ways your hiring strategy is stunting your growth
If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, recruiting a strong team is key to helping you get there. But as many companies have discovered, hiring top tech talent is not always easy.
Growing your team can be long winded, expensive and competitive, so it’s important to keep a consistent and tight process. That’s why you should know the most common things that slow down your hiring, so they don’t stop you from reaching your goals.
Here are the 5 things to consider if you want to speed up your growth:
1. You’re not attracting the right talent
Step one to attracting the right candidates is to know your target audience.
Understanding your candidates’ needs is absolutely key to making sure that you are selling your role in the right way to the right candidate and giving yourself the best chance of securing the top talent.
The best people want to work with great teams, on interesting, new products in a fun and fast-paced environment. According to Few&Far's Anonymous Candidate Survey, the top 5 reasons candidates would consider changing jobs are:
- Higher salary
- New challenge/more interesting work
- More responsibility
- Improves working environment/culture
- Business with mission and values they believe in
You may think you are hitting all of these points, but do your candidates know that? Once you understand what your ideal candidate is looking for in their next company, it’s time to work on how you position your employer brand.
Your employer brand messaging should be consistent across your social media platforms, careers page and job ads. Some of the key areas to cover include:
- Your company mission, values and culture
- Empathise your purpose and the impact your company wants to make
- Proof of your efforts into diversity and inclusion and equity in the workplace
- Your benefits package and what is it actually like being part of your company
- Testimonials by your current employees (after all, these are the people they’ll be working with!)
One of the most effective ways to show off your culture is through your team's experiences. 83% of job seekers look at reviews and ratings of companies before deciding where to apply. So, go beyond the Glassdoor reviews and create testimonials from your brand advocates who can give a real insight into what it’s like to work for you.
It’s so important that your employer brand is genuine and focused on content that your ideal candidates would be interested in, so avoid the generic and ‘fluffy’ copy. Make sure you always practise what you preach.
2. It’s a small talent pool - get competitive
It’s no secret that top tech talent can be hard to attract. The best candidates are spoilt for choice and are bombarded daily with potential offers.
Only 36% of the workforce is actively looking for a new opportunity, but an overwhelming 90% is open to talk and learn more. Meaning you need to actively head-hunt the best people to try to tempt them out of their current role.
So, it’s time to refine your sourcing strategy.
First, start by creating an ideal candidate profile. This is a detailed blueprint for recruiters and hiring managers to ensure everyone is aligned with who you’re looking to hire. In this you should cover:
- Past work history and experience
- Desirable personality traits
- Skills, abilities, both soft and hard
Once you align on this with all stakeholders, you will want to reach out directly to candidates who fit this profile. But you won’t be the only one dropping into their inbox, so you have to stand out.
To see any success with this method, you need to craft a message and create a template for your hiring managers or HR to use when reaching out to candidates. This will ensure all messaging is consistent and sells your company and the role.
But how do you write a stand out pitch?
- Open with praise
You’ve reached out to this candidate because you’re impressed, so explain why. Remember to make it personal, show you’ve put the effort into reading through their profile and experience.
- Introduce the opportunity
Then it’s time to sell the opportunity. Give a brief overview of your company, what you do and your purpose. Think of this as your hook or sales pitch. Remember to tailor this to your audience and prioritise the information that would be most interesting to them.
- Sell the role
Then give the key details around the role you're hiring for. Bear in mind, this message doesn’t have to contain all the information on the role. The aim is to give them enough information so that they can judge whether they're interested in hearing more.
- Sign off with a call to action
Let the candidate know what the next step would be if they’re interested. Whether that be booking a call or letting you know they’re interested so you can share all details of the role.
Alternatively, you can save time by outsourcing to a talent solution. Specialised recruiters will have an extensive network and a deep understanding of your ideal candidates and their drivers. Therefore, they’re able to pitch a role and a company in a way that is answering to their needs - saving you time and money in the long run.
3. You’re selling yourself short in Job Ads
With millions of job ads flooding tech talents' news feeds and inboxes every day, your job ad is your chance to grab their attention. It needs to hold all the vital information but still be concise and punchy. The ultimate goal is to sell the role and get people excited about working for you.
Let’s walk through the essentials for an effective job ad:
Title, location & salary
This information is the first thing candidates look for. Without it, you risk wasting time sorting through candidates that aren’t suitable for the role, or aren’t happy with your offering.
Reports show that candidates drop by 25%-35% when salary information is not listed. Transparency of pay is also a key way to ensure your organisation is on a committed path to equality and fairness.
Next, introduce your company and the role you're advertising for.
This should be a few brief paragraphs. Think of this as your hook or sales pitch. If this doesn't grab their attention, candidates won’t bother reading the rest .
Your introduction should cover:
- Job title
- Company and industry
- Your mission or company purpose
- What to expect from the role
Information on the role
Here, list what the role entails and what skills and experience you require.
Stick to just two lists:
- ‘What you’ll be doing’ - List responsibilities and make these sound interesting
- ‘You’ll have’ - List the experiences, attributes and skills you require your ideal candidate to have.
Try to list no more than six points on both. You don’t want to give candidates the impression of being demanding with unrealistic expectations. Go through and remove any of the ‘nice to haves’, only list the essentials.
To finish off your Job Ad, include more information around your company culture, your D&I statement, your perks and benefits.
Always finish with a call to action. What's the next step they should take?
4. Your interview process is overcomplicated
Never underestimate the effect of a bad interview process. Our research found that after a negative interview experience 66% of candidates tell their friends and colleagues, 30% of candidates leave a review online and 89% of candidates check a company’s Glassdoor before applying. So, you can’t afford to let your standards slip.
The ideal number of interview stages has been a long debated topic. However, we have found the 3-stage interview process to be the most successful (although executive hires are an exception).
A 3-stage interview process is thorough enough for you to vet a candidate's skills and ensure they’re right for you, without deterring a prospect with a long, drawn-out, demanding process.
Here’s our tried and tested structure for an interview:
1st stage interview:
This stage tends to be via a phone or video call and is a time to get to know one another and check you’re the right fit.
Don’t dive right into rigorous questioning. Instead, take this time to focus on the candidate’s values and soft skills, such as communication and teamwork.
And remember, they’ll be vetting you too, and making sure this is the right career move for them. So, give them an insight into your culture, team, ways of working and progression they could have.
2nd stage interview:
The second interview is focused on testing the candidate’s skills and is widely known as the competency interview. To help eliminate bias, you should have two interviewers present.
Always come prepared with questions that allow them to showcase their technical ability, how well they respond in situations, and their approach to tasks. Make sure you ask all candidates the same questions, so you can compare them.
If a live technical test is a part of your hiring process, this is the stage to do it. Although, don’t spring this on them, let them know what to expect from the test beforehand. You also want to avoid overly difficult technical tests that are not fit for purpose and ensure your tests are accessible to all.
3rd stage interview:
At this stage, you should be confident in the candidate's ability to perform well in the role and that they are a good culture-add.
If possible, have the candidate join you in the office and create a more relaxed, low pressure atmosphere. The final stage is typically candidate-led. It’s a chance to introduce the candidate to the team, observe how they interact and for them to ask any further questions.
Remember, you’re still trying to sell your company to the candidate. It’s their chance to really assess your ways of working, values and culture.
5. You don’t have a consistent candidate scoring system
An interview scoring system not only helps to eliminate personal bias during and after interviews, but it also saves your team time. You’ll limit that endless back and forth with multiple stakeholders, as you’re judging a candidate on a pre-agreed, objective criteria.
To get started, agree on these criteria in these areas: experience, skills, values. Then write questions that will allow you to determine candidates' abilities in relation to those skills.
Ask competency-based questions that focus on a candidate's experiences and how they’d react in certain scenarios. These give a better insight into their skills and mentality as they’re recounting experiences, so evidence backs their answers.
Although you should have 5-6 pre-agreed questions, don’t hesitate to ask follow-up questions. However, it’s important to keep track of these secondary questions and maintain the same level of follow-ups across all interviews.
Each interviewer should score every answer out of 4. This scoring system eliminates the middle/neutral number, so interviewers aren’t ‘sitting on the fence’; they either liked an answer or they didn’t.
- 1/4: The answer missed the point of the question entirely
- 2/4: A poor answer that contained some good points
- 3/4: An adequate answer that hit the key points
- 4/4: A strong answer that goes beyond the basic requirements of the question.
Once the interview has finished, both interviewers should compare their scores and discuss the candidate objectively, always linking back to the pre-agreed criteria.
This way, you will level the playing field for all job candidates. It will be much easier for you and your team to compare and validate their qualifications. In the long-run, if you do this consistently, it will help you and your team make better hiring decisions over time.
Changing your hiring process can be overwhelming, but is key to making the best first impression on a candidate.
However, you don’t have to go at it alone. We have been helping fast-growing startups and scaleups like Skyscanner, Starling Bank and Typeform grow their tech teams for 10 years. With a deep focus in product development teams, we offer talent solutions for every stage of growth.
Aside from a recruitment agency and executive search function, we also offer an embedded solution - Few&Far In-House. Our In-House Talent Partners become a part of your team and cover all hiring, talent attraction and retention in one fixed fee. Think of it as an extension to your Talent team you can turn on and off when you need it.
If you’d like to get clarity on your hiring strategy or learn how to build one, book your free consultation here (no strings attached, we love chatting about all things hiring).