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Friday, August 3, 2012

3 Ways to Identify Applicants with the Right Skills

About 31% of 811 small-business owners and chief executives said they had unfilled job openings in July because they couldn't identify applicants with the right skills or experience, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal and Vistage International.

According to a recent article from the WSJ, it's particularly small businesses who are suffering from finding the right person for the job.  As a small business, adding even a few people with the correct skill set could mean substantial growth and profit, but spending the money to train someone with a needed skill may not be in the budget. On the opposite end, hiring someone, paying for their training and not having it work out means the company also loses. So what do you do as a manager or owner? Here are a few ideas to consider in your hiring process:

1. Think outside the box. Whatever way you typically hire your staff, do something different. It's like working out, if you do the same exercise day in and day out, you will always look the same. The same applies to your work staff. Take a look at your job description, is it interesting? "I’ve seen job descriptions in ads in which the company is looking for a person that can be a one-man IT shop.  It’s no wonder that these companies have trouble finding people that they feel are qualified for the position at hand. If this is your company, scale it back! Focus on the essentials only," says Scott Lowe an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner. 

2. Don't be Picky. Have you had the same position available for over four months? Why isn't it filled? Are you holding out for the 'perfect' candidate? Time to re-evaluate your process because you may be losing more money by waiting so long that to hire someone with 80% of what you are looking for. "Often, it's not until someone has truly gone through the interview process, accepted the job, come aboard and worked with you for a little while that you truly start to learn who they are," says article 'Tips for Hiring the Best Employees.'

Of course you need to pick a candidate that is qualified and has passion for your vision but reflect on past candidates and why they didn't 'fit the bill' and what of those items could have been preventable.

3. Temp period. Point #2 wasn't meant to scare you into hiring just anyone. It's not a shot in the dark but there are certain variables you will never predict in the hiring process. Enter the temp period or temp workers. Give your new positions an introductory period where you get to see what someone is like in the office, keep in mind there are growing pains with any person but pay attention to how crisis is handled and what is accomplished. 

"We hire people to a four-month contract position to evaluate how they perform in real situations, assess their cultural fit and see if they have a hint of jerk in them.  After four months, we've historically hired around 20 percent of those put on contract," says entrepreneur Joe Reynolds.

What are some tried and true ways that have helped you hire excellent staff? If you are an employee, what do you think sets you above the crowd?

About NextCrew: is aiming to help business owners find qualified temporary staff. Just register your open shifts or positions today at and organize and find your crew in one place. Browse our directory of local staff specific to your skill need.

Photo by marcobellucci