Tuesday September 2, 2014
  • Tips to Recruit the Best Candidates

    altQ.  I have been recruiting for an entry-level position in my business. I am surprised by the lack of good candidates. I thought it was a buyers’ market and that there were a lot of people looking for work. Why can’t I seem to attract the right people?


         A.  Recruitment isn’t an exact science. There isn’t a specific recipe we can give you that will guarantee you hire the perfect person. However, we can give you a few tips that will help.


          1.      Determine what you are looking for – This is always the first step. You can’t write an ad before you decide what you need. Focus on behaviors. Often you can train someone to use your software if he/she is smart and hardworking. We say, “Hire behaviors, train skills.” While certain jobs require specific skills and experience, behaviors will still make the difference between an employee who fits well in your company’s culture and with the hiring managers or customer’s personality.


     2.      Write a compelling ad – Be different. Posting an ad that looks and feels like everyone else’s won’t get you noticed. You need to stand out from the crowd. Most ads include a list of job responsibilities and qualifications or a few lines about the company. You should include these, but give the prospective candidate more. Write about your company and the things that make it special. Tell them how your company got started and about your great team. As long as you are not paying by the column inch be extravagant. At this point, it is about selling yourself, your company and this specific position. Tell them why they should buy.


    3.      List your compensation level – We believe you should list compensation.  Writing TBD (to be determined) in the compensation spot doesn’t help applicants to decide if the job is at the appropriate career level for them. If your job pays between $35,000 and $40,000, advertise the low end. Candidates who currently make $60,000 for a similar title won’t apply. That’s okay, you can’t afford to pay them what they need and believe they are worth.  If you have other incentives or perquisites, it is okay to list these.


    4.      Post in multiple places – We find that some of our best candidates come from Indeed, Craig’s List and college career sites. Indeed is a pay-per-click site where you set the budget. We find that with the right ad, we average between 25 and 50 candidates for each $150 spent—not too bad. Craig’s list is free or a nominal cost depending on the city. Most college career sites are free. The process is mostly copy/paste and only takes a few minutes per site once you’re registered.


    5.      Post at the right time – We have found that recruiting new college graduated before they have graduated if difficult. You might think that college seniors would be job hunting in the spring before graduation. Unfortunately, our experience tells us they are focused on graduating instead. We have had better luck in July after the glow of graduation has dimmed and loan payments are on the horizon. Similarly, trying to hire between Thanksgiving and the New Year tends to yield poor results.


    \6.      Organize your applicants – You can quickly become overwhelmed as the resumes arrive in your email. Create email subdirectories for the job. Move the emails from your inbox to the subdirectory as they arrive.


    7.      Screen the applicants – Schedule a time approximately three to five days after posting to review resumes. You should have a pile of them by now in your email folder. Polly’s technique is to create three more subdirectories under the job folder entitled: Yes, No and Maybe. She moves each resume after reading it to the appropriate folder. Creating and using folders will eliminate a lot of redundancy. You won’t be searching for those great candidates. They will be in the “Yes” folder.


    Solid recruitment is essential to great hiring. You can’t hire the perfect candidate if they don’t apply. Use the tips above and if you need information on the next step in the hiring process, please read our articles on interviewing posted on our website.    

I HIGHLY recommend Polly and Doug. They have wonderful insight to help small business owners prioritize and identify strategies for growth and improvement. Wish I had met them 20 years ago!

Sharon Madere
Premiere Pet Products

Doug and Polly, I want to thank both of you! The past few months have been enlightening and overwhelming all at the same time. Your guidance, direction, wealth of knowledge, and wisdom have exceeded all my expectations. No words could ever completely describe just how amazing of a “dynamic duo” you two really are!

Dawn Beninghove, RN, CCM, CRP, PN
Chief Executive Offer
Companion Extraordinaire Nursing Network, Inc.
My company brought Polly in as a business consultant resource to provide Professional Skills curriculum to our early and mid-career leaders. It was company leadership that brought her in - it was her success with our associates that continued to bring her back! Using her HR and corporate leadership experience and her ability to connect with people at various levels of the organization, Polly was one of the most effective outside leadership development resources I've come across in my Talent Management years. She was extremely reliable and someone that I could trust to provide solid learning experiences that aligned with our corporate value system and talent development goals.

Scot McCarthy
Director of Workforce Development, CENTRA Health
My team and I have had the privilege of working with Polly on our business. Polly's keen business insight and savvy is something special. She was honest, direct, and tactful about her observations and recommendations for our team and how to grow our business. It was a pleasure having her help us and I would tell anyone that’s serious about growing their business to call Polly. She’s great!

John OReilly
Managing Partner
Base Camp Realty of Richmond, Inc.
Doug White took on an unfocused operation (in the financial services sector) and created an efficient, centralized system dedicated to excellence.  He did this not by driving change from the top down, but by helping the entire team see how their part of the process could be improved. Doug then mentored us toward effecting the changes ourselves. He taught us all how to bring our “A game,” and how to take ownership and pride in what we do.

Donna Levin
Vice President of Operations
I have known Polly for over ten years. As an HR Manager, I have utilized Polly’s training expertise at my former company and with my current company. Polly exceled at assessing the needs of our management teams and tailoring training programs that resulted in visible positive change. I also know I can count on Polly as a resource on any HR topic or bounce ideas off of her when I need a second opinion. Polly has been a mentor to me and I have always appreciated her willingness to listen and offer valuable advice and expertise.

Leigh McCullar
HR Business Solutions Manager
Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Center
I have had the privilege of working with Polly White for several years on a variety of projects. She consistently provides clear direction on how to resolve a wide range of employment-related issues. I look forward to my continued relationship with Polly.

Elizabeth Wilkins
Business Manager
Manorhouse Management, Inc.
* * * * * * *
image image image image image image image

Media Appearances

Doug and Polly appeared on:


Doug and Polly published in:


Doug and Polly quoted in:


Featured Product

Own let go to GROW today! 

Voted Best Business Book of 2011 by NFIB