Recruitment - Finding and Retaining Reliable Staff

In many customer-facing industries, attracting the right kind of worker - and keeping hold of them long enough to see a return on investment - can be tough. Sectors such as retail and hospitality have a notoriously high turnover of staff. Therefore, learning how to minimise mistakes when hiring and knowing what is needed in order to retain great employees can be a key component to success in these extremely competitive markets. Despite the opinions of many business owners, finding reliable workers is not an impossible task. However, it does take a degree of planning and maybe even a little left-field thinking at times. Great employees rarely land on your doorstep and ask if you’re hiring, mainly because the best workers are already in work!

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If you want to employ and retain outstanding people, you need to know a few things first: What do you want? While this may seem obvious to some, there are plenty of employers who fail to address this simple question correctly. Knowing exactly what you are looking for is paramount to actually finding it, so it is vital that you map out your needs thoroughly. You may find that by getting all of your requirements down on paper, your opinion on the type of person you should be targeting will change.

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Service industries such as hairdressing and beauticians, for example, may automatically target their recruiting efforts directly at young people, despite there being plenty of reliable workers aged 30 and above available. Misconceptions such as these are often driven by financial concerns. Many business owners wrongly believe that by hiring younger employees they can pay them less and save money. While this may seem like a reasonable assumption at face value, the higher turnover rate of younger staff members may suggest otherwise. The cost of recruiting and training workers multiple times will always far exceed a single, well-selected hire.

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Working out exactly what you want from your recruitment campaign and then tapping into the key employment demographics of your sector will allow you to broaden your reach, but it will also narrow your search. Having a greater amount of potential employees to choose from will naturally give you a lot more choice, but by honing your requirements you will be in a much better position to make the correct recruitment selection for your business. Writing an effective job listing Now that you have all of your requirements down on paper, the task of writing a great job listing for your vacancy becomes a whole lot easier. Having this information to hand when writing your listing is essential. Treat it in much the same way as a shopping list. Without it you may miss out something you need and add something you don’t really want, which will generally mean that you’ll end up having to go back and do the whole thing again.

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Photo Credit: Kevin Harber via Flickr[/caption] In order to craft a listing that will stand out and get the applicants that you desire, follow these simple points:

  1. Layout matters

Far too often, job listings are just a mess. Bunched up batches of text can leave people cold, especially in the digital age where attention spans are dropping at a rate of knots. So, in order to keep things interesting and make important points easy to find for the reader, make sure that you pay attention to how the advertisement is laid out. Use lots of subheadings that highlight significant sections and split up large paragraphs using bulleted lists. This will make the listing easier on the eye, keep the reader’s attention, and make it easy to scan should the jobseeker be looking for a specific piece of information.

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  1. Sell it

One mistake that many people make when putting together a job listing is to forget that they are actually creating an advertisement. In order to attract the very best staff available you’ll really need to sell the position, but the majority of business owners fail to recognise this. Instead, they submit a few paragraphs that are little more than a job description, hardly something that is going to pique the interest of those that you wish to attract. So, forget the minutiae and concentrate more on the ethos of your company, what benefits the position will offer, and why the reader would be crazy to miss out on such an amazing opportunity.

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  1. Screen now, save time later

Using your listing as a screening tool will help you lessen the chances of receiving unwanted applications from people who are simply not suitable for the role. If, for instance, you are looking for a permanent mechanic, ensure that the listing states the hours and any necessary qualifications required. While you don’t want to overstate any of the details (see point 2), you do need to make the things that are vital to the position as clear as you possibly can. Fewer applicants of a higher quality will allow you to spend more time selecting exactly the right person for your vacancy, instead of feeling overwhelmed.

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  1. Include a specific task

Should your vacancy be for a role that requires diligence and an attention to detail, such as a bar or hotel manager, there is another trick that can help you filter out unsuitable applicants. This can be as simple as insisting that all applications are sent to a specific email address quoting a particular word as a reference. The placement of such an instruction is vital, as the whole objective is to find out which applicants have read the advertisement thoroughly and followed through with your demands. Having it front and centre will not serve any purpose, as it will be too prominent and visible at a glance. Put it somewhere around the middle of the main body of text for maximum effect.

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While you may feel as though this is a little underhand, it will help you find the right candidate for a role that requires a degree of assiduity.

  1. Get a second, third and fourth opinion

Even when your job listing is complete, there is one final task that will ensure that all is well before you click ‘submit’. Pass the listing around colleagues, peers and even family and friends to see whether or not your advertisement has hit the spot. Giving someone else the opportunity to read it may bring about a different perspective that you may have missed or simply not thought of, so taking the time to see how others interpret the listing can really make a lot of difference.

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Interviewing Once the job listing has worked its magic and you have screened all of the applications and selected your shortlist of candidates, the next task is to start the interview process. All interviewers will have their own techniques, but there are five key points that everyone who conducts an interview should try to establish during the meeting. These are:

  • Gather as much information as possible
  • Note any unique characteristics that may present themselves
  • Discover the individual’s ability to express themselves
  • Check on physical appearance for any telltale personality traits
  • Establish an overall impression of the interviewee

job interview

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Lines of questioning are very much dependent on the role being offered, but these points can be used across the board to establish a quick first impression of any candidate – whether they will be working in a workshop or a beauty salon. Finding out about a person’s motivations and desires can also unearth some interesting pointers, too, as can asking questions regarding leadership, adaptability, attitude and stability. Try to establish whether or not the candidate will fit in well with their co-workers wherever possible as well, as workplace politics can prove to be very destructive regardless of the type of duties being carried out.


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Other interviewing guidelines worth keeping in mind:

  1. Remember that first impressions work both ways, so try and get a quick rapport going between yourself and the applicant. Be pleasant and friendly, but don’t overdo it.
  2. If you feel as though you would like to take notes during the interview, make sure that you state why you will be doing so to the candidate and reassure them that these notes will remain confidential.
  3. Try to ask expansive questions and avoid those that will result in simple yes or no answers. The idea of the interview is to build a picture of the candidate, so try to get them talking as much as possible. If some answers need clarification, seek it by probing further.
  4. Remember that while you are there to make a judgement on the interviewee, it is still vitally important that you keep any personal biases, prejudices or opinions out of the interview room.

job interviewer

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Retention Now that the interview process is complete, you should find yourself with another star employee on your books. Unfortunately, however, your work is not done. Now comes the task of keeping those that you have employed happy enough to want to stay in your company. As we touched upon earlier in this guide, high staff turnover can cost a company dearly and it is something that all businesses, both big and small, would do well to avoid. The time and productivity losses associated with constantly having to re-employ staff will mean only one thing – a greatly impacted bottom line.

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So, what exactly should a company do in order to lower turnover rates? Go above and beyond with benefits Creating a benefit package for your employees that far exceeds that of your competitors can go a long way to winning loyalty from your workers. By offering them things that will make their life better, such as private medical insurance, gym memberships, decent pension plans and the like, you will be showing them that they are appreciated and not taken for granted.

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Random perks can cheer a workplace Benefits packages are great, but they can be pushed to the back of the mind quite easily. So, in order to put across your caring image to your employees, why not throw in a few small perks every couple of weeks? Buy the team lunch once in a while or take them out one Friday after work. These things needn’t cost the earth, but your staff will appreciate them. Incentivise workers Run regular employee competitions and contests to keep your workers engaged and focused. When implemented in the right way, these kinds of schemes can enliven any workplace.


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Promote from within Wherever you can, you should always promote from within. Showing everyone within your company that there is the opportunity for progression will help to prevent anyone feeling as though they are stuck in a rut whilst working for your business. Foster an open atmosphere There is little worse in the workplace than an atmosphere of them and us. Encourage open communication by holding frequent meetings and inviting everyone – and we do mean everyone – to have their say. Employees should be able to speak their mind without fear if you want them to remain happy in their work.


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Be sure to make your expectations known The vast majority of workers want to perform to the best of their abilities, but in order for them to achieve their true potential they must know exactly what your expectations of them are. Hold performance reviews and keep your employees informed on how they are doing, as failing to do so could see morale nosedive. So, there you have it, a brief guide on how to pitch, gain and retain key members of staff for your business. Sticking to the guiding principles laid out in this article will help your business grow, and it will also keep your workplace a fun, enjoyable and profitable place to be – for everyone. If you enjoyed this blog post then perhaps you would like to read "11 Tips For Managing Cash Flow"? For financial help with your business why not check out our alternative business finance solution,the merchant cash advance, designed specifically for small to medium UK businesses. 

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