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Hiring In The New Economy Requires A Proactive Recruitment Process

By Yaro Starak
27 Comments

How To Create Recruitment Systems To Hire People Before You Need Them

Help WantedI was recently asked how I hired quality editors when running my previous business BetterEdit. As I responded to the question I realized the information provided might well serve others, so I’m going to explain my system for staying on top of the recruitment process here in this blog post.

Before I begin, a brief caveat – this system as I implemented it only worked because I had a website that received a continuous stream of traffic from Google. It was by no means a huge amount of people, perhaps a few hundred daily unique visitors, but because the traffic was targeted and due to the supply and demand ratio for editors versus work, I was in a good position to make the following system work.

However, that doesn’t mean this can’t work for you if you don’t have consistent search engine traffic or if the dynamics of the employment market in your industry are not as favorable, you just have to work a little harder to find the good people and bring in the traffic. If your website already receives consistent search engine visitors then you are position to immediately benefit from this technique, so make sure you write this down on your to-do list after you finish reading.

Slow Companies Fail

If you read Rich Schefren’s recent report, the Uncertainty Syndrome, you may remember he talked about hiring solutions that bring good people to work for your company BEFORE you need them.

Due to the speed of today’s markets, those who are quick and stay ahead of the curve generally win. Your company is only as good as the people working for it. If you combine those two ideas, then it makes sense you need the best people working for your business and you need them yesterday.

Think about any time you learned something new that you just knew you could apply to your business and immediately benefit from it, yet you don’t personally have the time to do it (nor does it make sense that you do it – it’s not your core strength), none of your current staff are available to take on the role and of course hiring new staff is never quick if you start from scratch. By the time you have the right person you’ve missed the boat – the market has moved on to the next thing and your prospective customers have already been captured by faster-moving competitors.

An even more common problem in successful organizations is business growth. In order for your business to take the next step you need help. Perhaps you require someone to take on the extra administration responsibilities, new talent to deliver the services your company provides, added customer support, maybe a project manager or a new tech person to help handle increasing technology demands.

If you are hiring reactively, then every stage of growth is hindered significantly by each new hire you have to make. This can be such a huge problem that you have to turn down work, work that is your company’s core strength that you would love to take on, simply because you don’t have the capacity to deliver the results due to limited resources. That’s VERY frustrating for an entrepreneur.

Be Proactive

When I set up my system to hire editors I wasn’t thinking about any of the ideas above, even though it makes a whole lot of sense to me now.

Simply put – I saw a way to make my life easier and take advantage of what I saw as excess capacity – a resource I wasn’t leveraging. I should also point out that even though this is a proactive solution, I came up with it reactively. Sometimes you need to react to a situation and then come up with a proactive solution for all future instances of that situation.

My proofreading business experienced a consistent six to twelve month turnover of about 20% of my editing contractors. Because of this, and business growth, I had to hire new contract editors once or twice a year to fill gaps in the roster and meet demand.

Thankfully, as I stated in the caveat to this article, BetterEdit.com was receiving a steady stream of organic traffic, some of which was coming from editors looking for work. As per all industries, it’s tough to know the good people from the not-so-good, so a hiring process is necessary to weed out the unqualified and find the gems. However that didn’t stop every single editor sending me an email saying they were perfect for my company and I should hire them immediately.

At first I was typically manual with my process. Any emails I received from prospective editors were responded to via a written email from yours truly (that’s me). I kept a folder in my email client where I stored all editor applications, and when it came time to hire, I’d email them one by one about job openings.

Unfortunately by the time it came to hiring new editors, most of the applicants who had contacted me had found work already, or changed email addresses or thought I was spamming them or turned out to unqualified. I spent a lot of time emailing people who would never respond or getting the hopes up of people who I would never hire.

The System: An Email List

One day it dawned on me – instead of manually processing email applications from random out of work editors finding my site through search, I’d direct them to a page on the site specifically for people looking for work – a “Jobs” page. On that page I would put an email list capture form and create a new list of all the people who came to my site looking for work.

I set the jobs page up within a day and immediately the list started to grow. A few months later when it came time to hire, I sent out one email to the list with details about the job openings and the application process used and then proceeded to hire people using the hiring process I had established.

This was a great solution for many reasons -

Applying this idea to your business isn’t hard. Create a new email list for potential hires, place a “jobs page” on your site outlining the type of people you are looking for with an opt-in form to join the job openings notification list, and when it comes time to hire, just send out an email.

This obviously won’t work for every industry and the unique conditions in your employment marketplace will dictate how well it works, however if you have a website with traffic, why not use some of that traffic for a purpose other than selling.

Internal lists are the best place to source new staff from, and a list specifically of people who want to work for your business is a potential goldmine when it comes time to hire new recruits.

(This advice should be applied to your prospect and customer lists too – don’t be afraid to email all your lists when you have a job opening , you never know who is listening.)

What If You Can’t Create Email Lists?

Of course if you don’t have a good email autoresponder yet, you should know I have used AWeber for my email lists for years now and recommend them to anyone serious about their online business. You are not really in business until you have a list.

For more on email autoresponders, read my review of AWeber here.

Go Apply This Idea Now

While writing this article I realized I haven’t applied this recruitment technique to my current blogging business. That’s going to change.

This blog has always been helpful for hiring people but at the moment I don’t have an automated method to capture the details of those who want to work with me and fill positions that open, and I will be looking to hire people in 2009, so now is a great time to get started. Don’t be surprised if you see a “Jobs” tab in the navigation bar on this blog very soon.

Why not take this advice and apply it to your website too? Even if you are not sure who you need right now if you are working hard on your business you are going to need someone soon enough and the sooner you start building your potential employees list, the larger a pool of talent you will have to draw from when it comes time to hire.

Yaro Starak
Recruitment Systems Engineer

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27 Comments

  • This is a great post. My blog is nowhere near ready to start hiring people but it definately growing and is starting to make some money which is good. My readers are loving the growth and I am just about to implement a new theme.
    Sorry I am getting off subject. But some of my blogging success can be credited to the tips you give. So thankyou. Keep up the good work

    • There is one problem. A good editor is worth good money. This should be borne in mind. -)))))))))

  • I know I need to hire content writers for my blog, but there is no need right now. Why did I not put the IM squeeze page concept to job recruitment until now! Foolish, how I failed to think out of the box. Anyway I am going to put up a page now! Thanks Yaro!

  • You’re right- it’s great to think ahead and be prepared. Thanks for sharing such excellent tips on how to really make it work!

  • Great idea Yaro!And the fact that its systemized makes it so fantastic.

    Quick question: If you were hiring for more than one position, would you recommend creating separate lists e.g. one for your project managers, one for your tech support team, or would you recommend one large list where you list all the open positions?

    • It depends how much diversity there is. Personally right now I’d use just one list, but if your company became large enough for different departments, then multiple lists for sure.

  • Quick question Yaro, slightly off topic but a little relevant.

    I am looking for a graphic designer at the moment to do my banner ads. Just wondering who did yours for blog mastermind, they did a great job and am struggling to find the right person for the job at the moment.

    Thanks for your help!

    Rick

  • You bet. This is great advise based on solid experience.

  • What an excellent easy concept! Something I’ve never thought about, I will look into this for the future, thanks for sharing. I’ve mostly been hand picking who I work with… I know someone has specific skills and I grab them. Thankfully they like working with me and I’ve developed a solid team to help me. :-)

  • Hey Yaro,

    Ingenious idea, did you hire the girl holding the “help wanted” sign :-) Incredibly smart to use a pre-existing, possibly annoying flow to an advantage. I am wondering if you solicited resumes upon signing up for the list or not? Do you think it would be worth it?

    David J. Parnell

    • I don’t like to solicit resumes unless there is a job outlined and the applicants know what they are applying for. Resumes mostly are a waste of time I believe, they only serve to reinforce a decision already made based on other evaluation factors or act as a tie-breaker.

  • Always makes perfect sense to be ahead of the curve when planning out your business strategies. Great post!!

  • This was so right up my alley! A lightbulb moment….great idea. I operate a growing software development business and managing qualified resources is a endless battle. What a creative approach. Truly, an idea to run with, thanks for sharing.

  • Doing something before it needs to be done is a great idea, but it can take a large amount of initiative because the action doesn’t need to be taken. One has to imagine that the advantages are tangible and worth the early effort. Using an e-mail list sure did streamline your procedure.

  • The last three people I hired I used social marketing tools such as Facebook and LinkedIn. They’re great resources. Also, CraigsList and Kijiji are lifesavers for getting your message out there without resorting to the big services.

  • Interesting post. It is always better be well prepared before than after.

  • Very well written. Our philosophy is even though we don’t need people right now, we are always on the lookout and advertise the fact all the time. If a top notch developer was looking, and submitted their CV to us, we would most probably hire them, just because we are always looking for the best people.

  • Find a good editor did not simple. This is a good recommendation. Incidentally, I just need good editors.

  • This is a great post, I agree its always good to be find people before you need them because if you do it after it might be too late

  • Wow! That is an awesome idea.

    I wonder if you could later make a small community out of the editors on the list…. Encourage them to join a special Ning network or something.

    Perhaps something like that already exists, but I’m sure that list could be used for even greater benefits.

  • cat

    I think that anything should be done when it needs to be done, hiring is a good thing, but before this you have to find whom to hire and this is a problem

  • Great idea!! Streamlining the whole process, making less work and reducing time consumption for yourself.. Very nicely done.

  • Yaro,

    Indeed, shortlisting is one of the best ways to pool prospects, so when you need a new team member or two, you can easily access the pool.

    I have requested team member in my Noobpreneur dot com 2 posts, and I was able to shortlisted several people that I can contact later should I need to outsource something :)

    Cheers for the pointers on email list :)

  • Great approach.

    I like framing a pool of potential resources as a business asset and the point that it’s speed in today’s market that wins. I’m a fan of the book, It’s Not the Big That Eat the Small … It’s the Fast that Eat the Slow.

  • Interesting article, we are always looking for new ways to get more targeted information about candidates, especially for in-house roles.
    Maybe some more than the usual “are you looking for a career in recruitment” page will help!

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