In December 2022 there were 11 million job openings nationally and only six million unemployed persons. Given our small size, companies in Bend are feeling The Sansdemic worse than many other, larger cities. The struggle to hire people is expected to continue for over a decade. It’s not a hopeless situation, though! If you follow these steps, hiring will be easier, you’ll see an increase in applicants, and at the end of the day, you’ll have a leg up on hiring.
First! Recognize that hiring someone is not easy. Be prepared to give time and energy to this process — be better at hiring than your competition! Remember the benefits of hiring; having someone new on your team can take weight off of everyone’s shoulders, can make you more profit, allows for expansion and a whole slew of other benefits. So, take a deep breath, and prepare to do the work.
Do these things and it WILL be easier.
- Put energy and time into writing the job description. The caliber of applicant you receive is directly tied to the caliber of your job description. A good job description will make someone excited to do the work, and also excited to work for you or your company specifically. Think beyond the day-to-day tasks. What is unique about this position when compared to other companies in your industry with the same job title? What will success look like in six months? How will it be measured? If you’ve had someone successful in this position before, what made them successful? What type of personality would fit into this role, and be good on your team? Does this person need to do repetitive tasks? Or is it a lot of creative problem-solving? What is the specific problem they need to solve? Work those items into the job description to really paint a clear picture.
- Respond to applications quickly. We’re in an employee’s market and will be for the foreseeable future. If someone actively applied to your job then they are actively applying elsewhere. Showing enthusiasm helps, being proactive helps, being communicative helps. Set aside a specific amount of time every day to go through applications, and respond with either no thanks or yes let’s have a conversation (err on the side of yes). Move the process along! The only way to hire someone is to interview people. I’ll say it a second time; if someone actively applies to your job posting, they are actively applying to your competitor’s job posting too.
- Set up a calendar link. Don’t waste time and energy on a back-and-forth trying to coordinate schedules. Best option: set up a calendar link! Calendly is a simple and popular service and will save you so much time and energy. Notate all upcoming vacations for everyone that is involved in the process as well. Surprise delays are not fun and ruin the interview process if not handled well.
- Have an interview plan. Set candidates up for success; communicate what the interview process will be, and what to expect. Treat an interview like a meeting with your existing staff; if you want a candidate to have something prepared, ask them to prepare it. Ask questions that actually tell you what you need to know to make a decision. Prepare specific questions for each candidate, but try to keep them similar to avoid bias. Be transparent during the interview process, don’t sugarcoat anything — it’s better to lose a candidate during interviews than six months into the job. Go into each meeting knowing what the plan will be moving forward. Always end an interview with what the next step will be.
- Make an offer that someone will say yes to. To do this you have to talk to the candidate about what they want, and I don’t mean just salary. Do they care about medical benefits, 401k (match?), time off, flexibility, security, growth? All of these things can be part of an offer. It’s hard to have this conversation because no one wants to feel taken advantage of, but this is the first of many meaningful conversations you’re going to have with your new employee. Set up the relationship on the right foot. Ask them what’s important to them. If you start showing an interest in an employee’s life/needs right from the start they will want to say yes to your offer.
Hiring can be fun! It’s exciting for everyone involved. Go into the process with that mindset, and the tools above and you will be successful.
Courtney Marshall has been in Bend for six years. Her professional experience includes work domestically and internationally and now she specializes in recruiting exclusively for central Oregon companies. She’s helped dozens of companies hire people, including 15 senior-level contributors in 2022.