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Find the right applicants

Reaching out to the right applicants can take some research. Think about who you want to hire, then make sure you put your job postings in places where those candidates have a higher chance of seeing them. For example, if you want to hire college students, consider advertising your open position in your local college’s career center or student newspaper.

In addition to the standard job posting options, you may want to consider other options to meet your business needs, including:

  • Employment agencies: Using an agency or recruiter, you can find virtually any type of employee with an array of skills or background. Bringing someone in to get hands-on experience with your team on a temporary or contract basis gives you a chance to evaluate that person's performance before committing to a full-time, permanent position. There are fees associated with agencies or recruiters, however, doing so allows you to focus your time on your business’s operations, rather than finding candidates.
  • Internal candidates: Just as cross-training is a great opportunity to improve morale in your office, it's also a way to give employees an opportunity to apply for other positions they might be interested in. Some employees might harbor talents or experience in the position you are searching to fill.
  • Referrals: Many companies offer current employees referral bonuses to suggest friends, relatives or former colleagues who might be qualified for your open position. These bonuses are typically paid after the referred hire has worked for 3 or 6 months.

Finding the right employee for an open position can be a daunting process. It is a best practice to send an Employment Rejection Letter to applicants you do not select, even if they are unqualified. If you start off with the applicants you want to apply for your position, however, you will have a better chance of finding an employee who can send an Employment Offer Letter.

Customize your Employment Application

Job applications are convenient, streamlined ways to gather information about potential job applicants, their skills, education or technical knowledge. Cover letters and resumes help show specifics regarding their previous jobs or experience that an applicant thinks is relevant. A customized application, however, can highlight the information you think is most important, in addition to the basics you may need later on in the hiring process.

Using applications to review a candidate's job history can show the frequency of changing jobs as well as their relevant experience for your role. Hiring and training is costly. So employees that have a history of long term commitments to their prior employers are often highly valued. The information you collect in an application can be compared to an applicant’s resume or cover letter, and used during an interview.

To get started building your customized job application, an Employment Application template is a good resource. If you have questions about customizing your application, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice. 

Know your role

Evaluating applicants can be challenging. Based on the job description you posted, however, you should know in advance what skills and background you are interested in from the ideal candidate. Using your job description as a guide, see where candidates compare to the position's expectations and goals. Then, narrow down your pool of candidates to only those who meet your expectations.

You may want to pay close attention to:

  • Gaps in employment.
  • Work history.
  • Education.
  • Volunteer experience.

If you have too many candidates to interview, try to select your top 3 or 5 candidates to interview. You may even consider conducting a round of less formal telephone interviews to help you narrow down your applicant pool.

Invite the best candidates to interview

After reviewing applications, cover letters, and resumes, you've hopefully found a few that stand out from the crowd. But sounding nice on paper and performing well in an interview and on the job are very different. That is why interviewing in person, if possible, is so important.

Companies also can open up interviews to fellow managers or committees, which allows for discussion and a joint decision on the ideal candidate for a position. If you plan to do so, be sure to provide a short orientation to anyone who will interview the candidate. Asking the wrong questions in an interview, like questions about religion or medical conditions, can lead to legal trouble. Also, you may want certain interviewers to focus on certain topics to get specific feedback on a potential candidate’s abilities.

If you plan to interview several candidates, making an interview outline can help you stay consistent in your evaluation of an applicants qualifications.

Always check references

While it is rare that an applicant's reference will say something negative about them, they may be able to provide other useful information. For example, if you are hiring for a role that will be required to work well on a team, you may want to ask their reference whether the applicant is better working alone or with a team, or whether the applicant is more of a leader or follower.

In addition to checking references, conducting a background check can also be helpful to confirm that a potential hire was truthful during their interview, and in their resume and application. When you are ready to send an Employment Offer Letter, you may also want to prepare an Employment Contract, and have a copy of your Employee Handbook ready for your new hire.

The hiring process can be rather complex, but with the right guidance and resources, small business owners can build a successful team. If you have more questions about the hiring process, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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