Hiring new people, whether they are full time or part time, employee or contractor, is an important and daunting task.  The smaller the business, the more impact one excellent or unfit team member can have on business success. 

To get practical, up-to-date advice on hiring talent, I spoke with Robin Thieme, owner of Kensington Business Solutions (KBS). 

Robin started her company over 12 years ago to provide outsourced financial and technology infrastructure for growing businesses. From the start, the KBS model leverages a nimble organization where each member has flexible hours and can work in a virtual environment. (Robin started KBS when she had young children and wanted to provide that same flexibility to her staff.)  Employing the latest in technology tools, KBS delivers consistent quality client services while also being able to adjust and grow as clients need additional or different help. 

Over the years, Robin has been involved in the hiring process for dozens of employees -- for KBS and KBS client businesses. 

I asked her to share some of her latest tips on migrating through the job posting and screening process:

  1. Select a job posting site with efficiency tools and processes.  Robin uses Indeed because she can capture all candidate correspondence – not just the initial post, but all interactions.  Indeed allows you to create a hiring process with multiple steps and store templates for different documents.  This allows for efficiency in looking at all materials for a candidate (without digging through email) and for constant improvement (see tip 7).
  2. Write a clear job post that sets expectations and rewards.  Your job post should clearly spell out the skills and experience needed, location requirements and compensation expectations.  Provide clear instructions on what is needed for the first screening (resume, cover letter, salary requirements, etc.).
  3. Round One: Reject those that do not follow instructions. Everyone who does not submit a cover letter, compensation expectations or other requirements stated in your post is rejected immediately.
  4. Round Two: Ask additional questions to determine the candidate’s speed and clarity of communication. Asking for additional questions via email allows you to see how quickly the candidate responds, the writing quality and the level of engagement/interest.  Candidates can then be scored for the next round.

<<candidate name>>,

I found your submission to be very aligned with the qualifications for the position. As a follow up to your submission, we would like you to please provide responses to the following questions (please include response even if it was originally provided via your cover email or resume as it helps with the selection process).

  • What prompted you to respond to this job posting?
  • What aspects of prior positions do you prefer to do most?
  • What are your compensation requirements?
  • Are you familiar with <<industry or function>>?
  • What aspect of the job posting sounded like an area that you would be able to hit the ground running?
  • What aspect of the job posting would you likely need additional guidance before being able to perform comfortably?
  1. Round Three: Use a phone interview to reiterate expectations.  Final candidates should have a phone interview to follow up on the parameters of the position: full time vs part time, benefits, travel requirements and range of compensation.  It is here that you can screen out candidates with compensation requests that are too low (inexperienced) or too high.  Have a conversation about the job, company culture and what it is like working there. Good candidates are then invited for a working interview.
  2. Round Four: Schedule a working interview for top candidates. Set expectations for the in-person interview about time, compensation and preparation:

Hi <<candidate’s name>>

I am glad that we had an opportunity to speak with one another. I enjoyed the conversation and would like to proceed further with the interview process.

As for next steps, I would like to set up a working interview and also would like to obtain two professional references.

The working interview is intended to simulate the work involved without requiring too much effort on either the candidate or employer's part. There is a stipend provided for the working interview, and it is usually between 1 - 3 days between start to finish. Upon completion of the working interview, a hiring decision is made within 1 - 3 business days

Please confirm that you are still interested in the position, provide the two professional references, and I will circle back with greater details regarding the working interview.

  1. Capture learnings.  After a successful hire, reflect on what went well, and what could be improved.  Record in your job posting system for later use.

About the Author(s)

Jeanne Rossomme headshot

Jeanne uses her 20 years of marketing know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she held a variety of marketing positions with DuPont and General Electric. Jeanne regularly hosts online webinars and workshops in both English and Spanish.

President, RoadMap Marketing
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