In his article about the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face, Entrepreneur.com contributor Larry Alton lists “team building” as one of the most significant hurdles. He points out that picking the right team for a startup is quite stressful, even for those with considerable management experience. This is all the more challenging when you are already spread thin on resources and are looking to fill openings quickly.
This is not a challenge that only young startups face. Even large businesses with thousands of employees grapple with problems surrounding hiring the right candidates. For this article, I turned to HARO to hear from entrepreneurs who have faced hiring challenges. I wanted to know if technology can be a good tool to fix hiring issues that startups face.
Here is the gist of the various ways startups today use technology to fix their recruitment woes.
Applying for a job is no longer a labor-intensive process for candidates. There are bots that make it possible for candidates to apply to thousands of jobs at once. While this simplifies the process for job seekers, it can make filtering a nightmarish process for recruiters.
Simon Oldham, the founder of Dallas-based recruitment software firm QJumpers, says there are a number of ways technology can help address this problem. For example, many Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) today come with automated filtering options that shortlist or decline candidates based on predefined rules set by the recruiter. Recruiters can also set up a talent pipeline so they can be alerted any time there is a new candidate matching defined criteria in the database, Oldham says.
In some cases, applicant filtering goes beyond what is written on a resume. Joe Edwards, the executive director of consulting firm W3, says asking “knockout questions” is useful if you want to know if the candidate is willing to travel, has visa sponsorship, and so on. You may also want to test the candidate on their basic language skills. His company built an in-house bot called “Arnie” that could converse with an applicant and get these questions answered before the right candidates are passed on to a human recruiter.
Edwards says this has helped his firm reduce candidate screening time by as much as 80 percent.
Posting your vacancies on public job boards is often the reason recruiters have to sift through thousands of applications. While large businesses may have the bandwidth for candidate filtering, this is not always possible for bootstrapped startups.
There are a number of other ways such startups can seek qualified candidates without having to invite applications from thousands of applicants. These strategies can take up a bit of your time but are well worth it.
Brandon Howard from Nashville-based All My Web Needs says a surprising number of candidates who consider themselves to be good at web designing may not know how to code; something his agency wanted. He skipped the traditional recruitment model and used Twitter instead. Over Twitter, Howard discovered people who could talk about topics only experts in the field discuss in-depth.
Karla Singson, who owns multiple businesses, recommends using your Facebook Page to post openings. Doing so reduces the number of applications you receive. Furthermore, you can run ads to target these openings to a very select list of Facebook users. She says this strategy has helped her target job applicants quite effectively.
Remote interviewing has taken off in a big way in the past couple of decades, primarily due to video conferencing tools such as Skype.
Charlotte Brown, international business strategist and the CEO at VSNRY, recommends a number of alternate technology tools that can make the remote interviewing process smoother. She recommends an appointment booking tool like Calendly to schedule interviews. This is especially useful if you are hiring candidates from multiple time zones. Coordinating interview slots in such cases can be confusing.
Calendly takes care of the different time zones and can also integrate with your other calendars so that a recruiter can schedule interviews while handling other responsibilities at work. She also recommends replacing Skype with a tool like Zoom.us mainly because this video conferencing tool comes with the ability to take notes; a feature that is quite important while interviewing job applicants.
Onboarding new recruits.
The final step in the recruiting process is onboarding and training your new employees. Learning management systems are one of the most popular tools for onboarding.
These are software products that offer businesses an organized way to train their employees. In addition, many come with gamification-based tools that make learning fun and more productive. If you are a bootstrapped startup who cannot afford to invest in an LMS tool, you could also look at free alternatives. Shaney Washington from XP Synergy recommends creating a simple intranet site using WordPress. The website could have dedicated onboarding sections where new employees could watch in-house training videos, download employee forms and find internal processes.
Danielle Mulein, who runs HR for AWE, a professional development resource for senior women executives, finds project management boards like Asana more helpful. She says this tool helps her create different templates for different roles. She attaches specific training materials for any individual employee, while also ensuring accountability. Trello is another popular free alternative that you could use for this purpose.
Written by Anand Srinivasan at Entrepreneur.com