1. Be clear. Be clear about the staff that you want, and have a full job description for each vacancy.
2. Be rigorous. Have a rigorous hire process, so you can weed out unsuitable people.
For example, use an application form (tailored to the skills and competencies that you’re looking for). Have a scoring process for the application forms, and then complete telephone interviews with your long list, using a standard interview plan for each person. Once again, score the answers, and request permission to record each call, so you can go back and check on what people said.
With the people that “pass” the telephone interview, call them in for a final interview and give them some tasks to complete before coming in. For example, if you want to recruit a web developer, give them a real bit of work to complete beforehand, asking them to bring it in to the interview and explain why they chose their design.
3. Be smart. To attract the right people, approach this as a marketing and sales exercise. Yes, you can always use recruitment consultants and pay for recruitment advertising, but there are potentially better and cheaper ways (you’ll typically have to pay 25 per cent of the new hire’s annual salary to a successful recruitment consultant).
- Give the job description to all your current members of staff and offer them a reward if they introduce someone who gets the role.
- Search LinkedIn for suitable people (after all, this is how many recruitment consultants find potential candidates).
- Blog about what you need.
- Post messages in forums and LinkedIn groups frequented by the type of people that you’re looking for.
- Tweet about what you need.
- Ask around when networking, and ask your suppliers, too.
- Let people know via LinkedIn status updates what it is you need and want.
4. Be committed. When you have found your new member of staff, make sure you give them an “orientation” or “induction” period. In this time, you’ll need to be sitting down with them daily (in the first few weeks) and weekly (for the first few months) in order to clarify expectations and give them the help and support they need to become a high performing member of the team.
Heather Townsend, Britain’s queen of networking, is the founder of The Efficiency Coach, a company that helps professionals achieve better business results for less effort. Follow her Joined Up Networking blog for more useful tips and tricks. She has just been commissioned to write the FT Guide to Business Networking.