Jul 22, 2022 | Hiring & Retention

When an employee leaves, it’s a nightmare. How do I hire faster?

Q. Dear Zenagos, I operate a childcare center, so my business has to follow state requirements. When an employee leaves, it’s a nightmare. To stay licensed, I must have the new teacher right away, but there aren’t enough teachers in the area who have the right credentials, and applying for credentials and the background check take weeks or even months. How do I hire faster?
–Megan

You may not be able to speed up the hiring process, but you can create a pool of pre-approved candidates who are ready to start. Most business owners have trouble hiring quickly enough, even without complicated regulations like the ones that you need to follow. The classic comment we hear all the time is, “I can’t hire anyone new because I’m too busy doing the work that I would need the new person to do!”

You can get ahead of this problem, but it will take commitment and determination. Here’s how:

1. Set aside time to work on hiring
You need to put regular time on your calendar to work on hiring, and you must protect that time. Nothing else matters. If you don’t get ahead on hiring, it can damage your health and put your business in a death spiral, so make it your top priority. Even if it’s only 20 minutes a couple of times a week, set aside that time. Be strict with yourself.
2. Post the job, even though you don’t have an opening now
If you know that you will need a teacher sooner or later, then post a job for a teacher and start interviewing. This is where most people balk – isn’t that dishonest? Won’t people get angry if they interview and discover there is no job opening? Not if you explain what you are doing upfront.
3. Tell candidates that you have a qualification process
Let’s say that you have typically needed a new teacher about every 8 weeks. As you talk with candidates, you will tell them that you do not know exactly when your next opening will come, but it will probably be within 8 weeks. In the meantime, they need to go through the credential and background check process anyhow. If you will probably need one teacher, trying to get at least 3-5 teachers to go through the qualification process. When they have completed every step, let them know that they are qualified, and you will offer them a position when an appropriate one becomes available. Explain that you completely understand If they find another position before your position becomes available.
4. Stay in touch with your qualified candidates
Once you have a pool of qualified candidates, make sure to stay in touch with them. Let them know how much you look forward to working with them when an appropriate opportunity becomes available. If there are things you can do to help them with their search, help them out. Build positive relationships. You never know how they may benefit you, even if the hire never happens.
5. Keep the pipeline going
Once you have a few qualified candidates in your pool, you will be tempted to stop your process. You can slow the process – place the job posting every other week instead of every week or commit one time a week to it instead of two – but do not stop the process entirely. The candidates in your pool will gradually find opportunities, so you need to keep the pool fresh in order to make this strategy work.
This strategy isn’t just for entrepreneurs. It can work for managers in big companies that have bureaucratic hiring processes, too. You probably can’t make your HR department post jobs more quickly, but you can still take control of the process. Your people are your most important resource. Invest your time in hiring, and your life will improve exponentially.

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