Recruit to scale

The people challenges of scaling your business

If you’ve ever been the owner of a startup, there may have been a time when you did everything yourself. But as your business grows, you need a strong team of people to carry it forward.

In an expanding company that is gaining many more employees, you must make sure your people policies are up to the task of leading and managing this larger organisation. In this article I’ll address the recruitment process for attracting top-quality candidates. 

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people,” observed Steve Jobs. 

Recruitment when scaling a business

As your business grows in size or expands into new places, products, or services, new employee roles will emerge that must be filled. Filling those roles requires recruitment – but how can you optimise your recruitment process to ensure you find the right people for the positions? And how can you make your company attractive to top talent in the job market?

Below, I will share some of my principal recommendations for recruiting the best employees for your growing business:

Utilise your existing employees

If you value your current employees and give them a great place to work, they will be the best advertisers and ambassadors for your brand – attracting talent within their own social networks. Employee referral programmes can also provide excellent results: allowing you to recruit new employees more efficiently and increasing your current employees’ feelings of investment in the firm.

Finally, even though your growing business needs more people, don’t forget to prioritise advertising a new position to your existing team. Effective internal recruitment will make the most of the skills and experience already available to you.

Write a clear job description

When seeking to fill a post, think carefully about what kind of person and skills you’re looking for before writing the job description. Once you’ve sat down to write it, focus on expressing your requirements clearly. Research from the Allegis Group has shown that only 36% of candidates think job descriptions are clear, vs. 72% of hiring managers.

Striking the right tone in your job description is also crucial. An informal, friendly tone will put candidates at their ease, while emphasising the exciting opportunities of the post will encourage them to apply.

When the job post is written, it needs to be advertised in the right places to attract the appropriate talent. Consider utilising an industry-specific job website or different social media channels. 

Actively seek talent 

With a well-written job description displayed in the right locations, the temptation is to sit back and wait for great candidates to come to you. However, it’s important to remember that most of the top talent is not actively on the job market – they are not looking for you; you must find them. 

I’ve already mentioned employee referral programmes above – these are an excellent way to access quality candidates who may not be job-seeking. Sending your employees to conferences and trade fairs also gives them a chance to network and informally chat to potential candidates.

Offer incentives

Candidates might be attracted by the job description and the opportunities offered by the job, but the financial compensation you’re providing must be appropriate. Furthermore, you might want to consider other benefits that will make your company stand out from the crowd: a pleasant office environment, health care, child care, etc. 

If you want to recruit and retain the best employees, your people must feel you care about their well-being; not just their skills. Offering work/life balance, flexible working, regular holidays: all these can help create a work team with a high level of satisfaction and loyalty to your brand going forward.

Keep a talent pool

If you interview a candidate and decide they’re not right for that particular role, don’t just throw out their CV. As a growing business, a new role might soon emerge that could be an ideal fit for this candidate. Cultivating a “talent pool” of such candidates can greatly improve the efficiency of your recruitment process, allowing you to avoid advertising costs and time spent interviewing unsuitable applicants.

Focus on the most important skills

When comparing candidates you might favour the person with the most relevant qualifications or the most experience. However, remember that while hard skills can be learned and experience gained, attitude and aptitude in an individual can rarely be changed. If you recruit an employee with the right soft skills, who is intelligent and motivated, and who will integrate well into your company, they can receive any extra training needed to fulfil their new role.

Optimise your recruitment process

Tracking your recruiting metrics can enable you to analyse the process, fix the weak points, and make the most of its strengths. For example, if you can identify which sources (an employee referral programme, a particular job site, etc.) provide the high-quality candidates, you can invest in them to a greater degree.

You could also track how quickly you hire a new employee – from first engaging with the candidate to the official point of hire. Working out how you can speed up the process can prevent you losing promising candidates to rival recruiters. The future success of your growing business is, to a great extent, dependent on recruiting the right people to work for you. An effective recruitment process will allow you to identify the best candidates and clearly demonstrate to them why they should work for you.