Recruiting and hiring the best people for a business can be one of the most challenging endeavors business owners face.
It all starts with advertising a job opening, and then screening applications and resumes to determine if applicants have the experience and skills required for the position. Next, you must take time to interview qualified candidates and, finally, make a decision to hire — all hoping you’re making the right one. But if you don’t also hire people with customer service skills and a desire to make the business stronger, your business may suffer.
So, how do the most successful businesses recruit top talent and keep them happy? Here are our suggestions.
Train Your Hiring Managers
Even if you’re already great at interviewing candidates, don’t assume hiring skills come naturally for your entire management staff. Many people have been in the seat of the interviewee many times, but few have had a wealth of experience in the role of interviewer. It takes special skills and preparation to guide the conversation in a way that draws out the information that will help screen for important qualities.
So consider training — or at least take time to identify people who have mastered the skill of interviewing, and have them mentor other hiring managers before placing them in the role of interviewer.
Prepare for the Interview
Preparation begins with the job description. Know what you’re looking for in an ideal candidate to perform the job. Go beyond education, skills and work experience, and factor in personality, culture fit and soft skills. Become familiar with the applicant, plan interview questions and consider whether any skills or personality testing should be scheduled for top candidates.
Ask Questions That Help You Explore Customer Service Traits
Ask for examples from former work roles, attitudes about customer service, perspectives as a consumer/customer, soft skills and training related to customer service. Here are a few sample questions:
- What do you think are the keys to a good customer experience?
- How did you meet or exceed customer expectations in your former jobs?
- Tell me about a time when you felt customer service suffered.
- What are some of the things you would look for as a customer/consumer of our services?
- How would you handle a phone call with a customer who wanted to complain about bad service?
Consider Some Hiring Flexibility
Once you’ve established position roles and responsibilities in a job description, imagine what good candidates are looking for in that position. Many other employers may be competing with you for top talent, so it can pay big dividends to find creative ways to attract them.
Compensation packages should be competitive with an understanding of what motivates candidates. Most of the time, it’s salary, benefits, paid time off and flexible work hours.
Offer Competitive Pay and Benefits
Annual pay increases should be factored into your retention strategy, but other factors are equally important. Having a good paid time off policy is imperative. Offering high-quality benefits like health insurance, dental and vision care are expected in professional environments.
If you want employees to be happy and stay with the company for the long haul, you should offer a vehicle for retirement savings, too. With or without a matching program for 401(k) plans, employees will look for employer-sponsored ways to build a nest egg and long-term security for themselves and their families.
A number of best practices can help you do a better job of hiring the right people, and keeping them. These include structuring interviews, providing a competitive salary and benefits package and having as much flexibility in scheduling as is appropriate in your industry. Don’t forget to discuss your company’s goals and core values with each candidate to ensure the best fit.