My company is having trouble hiring. What do I do?
By Kylee McIntyre22-Feb-2019Views 3135

hiring trouble

Don't let hiring troubles get you down - a few costless tweaks can set you apart. Photo credit: Pixabay.

It's not the most unusual story: a company has been stuck in a hiring crunch for months. There's a lack of candidates - and even so, there's a lack of good candidates. Either recruitment agencies aren't working out, or the budget doesn't support that, so the business is stuck posting to job boards and praying. But the talent that comes through is either lackluster or just not there.

So where's the problem in hiring?

But if you're a startup - especially a new one - staffing your team can feel like walking through the woods at night without a torchlight.

It's true that there is a worldwide need for good tech candidates, but that doesn't mean that there are zero people in the field. Landing good tech talent just means that you have to compete with the other guys. Part of that lies in budget and branding - giants like Facebook and Google are well-known and don't need to convince their candidates as much about the benefits of working there. But if you're a startup - especially a new one - staffing your team can feel like walking through the woods at night without a torchlight.

But startups have benefits! And tech talent is a creative bunch. The idea of working on something brand new and exciting is appealing, but you need to make sure you're getting your message out correctly and clearly. Here are our tips for streamlining your hiring process so that the tech talent that does land is of caliber.

1. Sell better

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Sales skills are part of life skills. Make candidates want to apply. Photo credit: Pixabay.

The best thing to do is to start with what you already have. Chances are, your job description in your postings leaves something to be desired, so let's start there. Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective hire, who is looking - or looking passively. You'll want enough information in the post that communicates what the company needs along with what you, the candidate, want.

Job Title and Description

What sets your “Software Engineer" role apart from the several others that are coming up in a candidate search? If your company isn't well-known, maybe you want to spice up the title. It is, after all, the first thing they see.

Balance out work and play. Software Engineer (Product Lead) is descriptive and interesting. But no one knows what a “Unicorn Architect" does. The same goes for the description. It's great to tell the candidate what they're going to be doing, but setting yourself apart from the rest of the crowd means phrasing things in a way that presents as an opportunity. Instead of just listing programming languages the candidate will work with, you can also list a little bit of information about the product (if possible).

For example:

Candidate must be proficient in Java, C++. Will have the opportunity to work on and lead a team that develops healthcare solutions for homebound seniors.

Here, the description includes what you, the employer, need, as well as opportunities for the candidate (working on a meaningful product, leadership potential, healthtech experience).

When describing the position, keep your paragraphs short - about four to five lines of text. You want to get what you want to say across in the least number of words possible - your potential hire is probably looking at a lot of postings.

Company Description

If you have a PR or marketing team, they probably have developed a great blurb for you to put on all of your materials - including founding information, funding, and the services the company offers. Have a read through of it yourself and ask, would I want to work here? Survey your current employees. What do they think about the way the company describes itself on paper?

If it's reading a little dry or unoriginal, no worries. You don't have to lie, but include some of the reasons that you like working there. Here is how some of the top brands communicate their company culture. You don't have to develop a whole slide deck, but do include a list of benefits - not just pay, but things that make work enjoyable. Are there team outings? Flexible working options? Free coffee in office?

It's always helpful to remind yourself why you like working where you do, especially if it helps signal to others that they should want to work there too!

2. How's your brand?

hiring trouble 3

Sales skills are part of life skills. Make candidates want to apply. Photo credit: Pixabay.

So, you've taken care of your job descriptions. What do candidates find when they run you through a quick search? You should make sure that all of your company information online is up-to-date and interesting. That includes

  • Your social media pages (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) are up to date and active. If posting to the page isn't part of your marketing strategy, at least make sure that the information is correct and that you respond quickly to communication. Survey your team. What message does the page send off? Does it look old or out of date? Simply adding a new, eye-catching picture can do wonders for the company's image.
  • Your profile is up-to-date on job boards (Crunchbase, Angellist, etc.) - having correct contact information goes a long way.
  • Your company website's links work and use good, clean visuals. You don't need to overload your users with information, but the product or service your company provides should be clear within seconds of the page loading.
  • For the same reasons that you should Google yourself every few months - Google your company. What comes up with a search? You don't need to have a search list full of glowing news articles about your company's accomplishments, but the information that does come up can give you a clue as to how candidates see the company. If there's a name mixup with another business or your SEO doesn't rank your company on the list of results, that may be a cue as to how to market yourself in the right direction.
  • What are current and past employees saying about the company? People talk, and the tech circle is always a smaller world than it seems. Keep in touch with the people working for you. If they have problems - or they feel like they can't come forward with their problems - then that's a sign that you need a culture change from the inside out.

3. How's your hiring process?

Speaking of employees talking, when you do hire talent, how smooth is the interview, offer, and onboarding process? Your offer can be one of several, especially if you've landed yourself a good engineer. If your interview process takes months, you might simply be losing candidates to companies that are faster. If response time is lagging during the interview process, that may turn a candidate off.

Sit down with your hiring team and set some limits and goals for how long the interview and offer process should take, ideally. Every business - especially a startup - is going to have to balance hiring along with the several other fires one has to put out during the day, but if your team has something to aim for, then that at least gets them more into the head of the candidate.

How smooth is the interview, offer, and onboarding process?

Finally, take a look at your onboarding process - and keep in mind that a candidate's probation period is also your probation period. You're testing each other out. Take care of the candidate during the onboarding process. Make sure they feel like they are getting enough time and attention to find their footing so that they can turn around and do their best work for the business.

That doesn't mean you need to babysit the candidate, but do make sure that team members are aware of a new hire so that they can welcome him or her into the fold. Have your onboarding process ready (even if it's just a list of logins and an explanation about how to get into the backend), and make sure that the new hire feels free to ask any questions about the job.

If you've done all of these things and are still looking for a special boost, see if 100offer is a good fit for you. With years of experience in talent and the tech industry in Singapore and China, we specialize in matching you with great candidates on the platform. We'll also be around throughout the process - start to finish - to make sure that you get the talent you need. Sign up now, and we can also help you with your branding to make sure you get heard in the tech world.


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Kylee McIntyre
American tech, science, health, and environmental writer. Lover of scifi, fantasy, travel, and coffee. Find her on Twitter @ejkyleem.
Category: Company Stories
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