Is It Really That Hard to Find Good Employees?

How to make sure your next hire is a great one.

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By Mike Kappel

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Your business is growing and it's time for you to hire an employee or two. You blanket the internet with job listings, ask your friends and family for referrals and maybe even use a recruiter.

You put a lot of time and effort into attracting candidates, but how many apply? Probably not as many as you hoped. And, after screening resumes and evaluating applications, how many actually qualify for the position?

So, you interview the qualifying applicants and choose the best candidate . . . who promptly turns you down, at which point you're likely left confused and frustrated. You thought you were almost done with the hiring process, but now you have to start over.

If you've ever tried hiring new employees, then you probably know how hard it is to find high-quality candidates.

Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

Why is it hard to find employees?

The hiring process is just that: a process. Unfortunately, there can be breakdowns at any stage of the process. Even a single breakdown can be enough to prevent you from hiring the candidate you want to hire. If your hiring process has multiple breakdowns, then the chances of finding good employees is greatly diminished.

Below are four of the most important stages of the process.

  1. Attracting the right candidates for your open position (i.e., qualified candidates)
  2. Keeping those candidates engaged throughout the process
  3. Assessing and selecting the appropriate candidates
  4. Sealing the deal with your top choice

If you falter at any of these steps, you're in trouble, but if you fail to find or attract the right candidates to start, you're screwed. So, let's go over some tips to finding good employees.

Where do I start?

One of my companies, Top Echelon, recently surveyed its customer base of over 5,000 recruiters to discover what their clients complained about the most. Nearly half of respondents (45.8 percent) indicated that their clients' biggest complaint was not having enough candidates from which to choose.

Of course, what they're really complaining about is not having enough quality candidates from which to choose. This is a matter of quality, not quantity.

So how do you get more of these quality candidates, the type of candidates who will turn into good employees?

You have a few options. You might have a person or two (or a whole team) within your organization dedicated to attracting and finding quality candidates. You might also advertise your job openings on the internet, and there are plenty of ways to do that. Or, you could enlist an experienced recruiting firm that specializes in your industry. Or all of the above.

Whatever you do, you must ensure get plenty of quality candidates. Make sure you can be happy with your second or third option.

That doesn't mean you should settle for your third option, though. Here are four tips to making sure you don't scare away your favorite candidate.

Related: How to Start a Business With (Almost) No Money

1. Write clear job postings

Unclear job requirements lead to unqualified candidates -- or at the very least, not enough qualified ones. In the Top Echelon survey, recruiters identified "inaccurate job requirements" as a stressor in their professional lives. That's because inaccurate or unclear requirements make it more difficult to find quality candidates.

Spell out the job requirements. Don't be vague by saying things like "Must be able to work with others." Be specific. Will the employee need to communicate and get feedback from clients regularly? Will the employee need to complete projects with a larger team at your company? Don't leave your requirements and expectations up to interpretation.

2. Be Decisive

Throughout the hiring process steps, you have to act quickly because high-quality candidates are in demand.

In Top Echelon's report, we discovered that almost a quarter of candidates who rejected a job offer did so because the employer took too long. So, even if you do have promising candidates, they will potentially leave your hiring process if you're too slow. The tortoise doesn't beat the hare when it comes to hiring.

Cut out unnecessary time wasters in your process. Don't take long breaks between communication with candidates. Move from one part of your process to the next as quickly as possible.

Related: Habits of the World's Wealthiest People (Infographic)

3. Have reasonable expectations

You might be overlooking great candidates because you keep thinking that the "perfect candidate" is out there. Forget about "perfect." You want great candidates who will turn into great employees. Lacking that, you want good candidates who will grow into the position and become great employees.

I've hired good candidates who didn't even have experience within my company's industry, and they evolved to the point where they're now successfully running critical departments. They weren't perfect, but they had plenty of potential. If you hire intelligently, you can also mine diamonds in the rough for your organization.

Break your expectations down into "must-haves" and "like-to-haves." Once you decide where you're willing to be flexible, your candidate-sourcing strategies will deliver more qualified candidates.

4. Offer solid pay

In the Top Echelon survey, 29.7 percent candidates who rejected a job offer said they did so because the salary was too low. In contrast, 17.9 percent of employers said candidates have "unrealistic salary expectations."

We are currently in a candidates' market. This means candidates have more pull during the hiring process when determining compensation and benefits.

To get the most qualified candidates, you must offer a competitive salary and compensation package. You need to offer candidates what they want, or at least attempt to meet them in the middle. That's how you seal the deal. If you don't, then you might lose a good candidate to a higher-paying competitor.

There are plenty of challenges and obstacles when it comes to hiring in today's competitive marketplace. The last thing you want to do as an employer is add to those obstacles.

Hiring great employees is not as difficult as it seems. You just have to be prepared to do everything that's necessary in order to hire them.

Mike Kappel

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

Serial Entrepreneur, Patriot Software Company CEO

Mike Kappel is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of Patriot Software Company, and its subsidiaries.  Patriot Software, LLC is a developer of online payroll and accounting software for U.S. small-business owners.

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