Thanks, But No Thanks, LinkedIn

At Zephyr Connects, we love simple. Doesn’t everybody? We also really love resources that support employers as they face a tough hiring market. So when we read a headline from LinkedIn that said, “A step-by-step guide to small business hiring,” we were like, “yes, please!” Shaking with anticipation, we dove in. But our excitement quickly turned into a feeling of “meh.”

LinkedIn is a great platform – a powerful tool for all things hiring, job searching, networking, and professional development, and their advice matters. But unfortunately, we think they missed the mark with this one, and with it an opportunity to help small businesses struggling to build their teams.

But never fear, Zephyr is here! We’re going to correct some of LinkedIn’s missteps and clarify some spots where they went a little sideways.

No, No, No

It’s not about the numbers. The article suggests that employers start their search by “calculating” how many employees they need. Depending on who you hire, you could have three medium skilled people performing the job one highly skilled employee would. It’s not the numbers, it’s about finding the people who are going to have the skills, experience, and education you need AND who are going to fit into your culture. Your first step should be to come up with a robust profile of your UNIQUE FIT™ team member.

Hiring isn’t cheap. According to a study from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released in 2016, it costs an average of $4,129 to hire one person (1). LinkedIn’s article quoted a yearly average of $1,600 spent on hiring, but we really can’t figure out how they came up with that estimate. Perhaps they meant simply for subscriptions to job posting sites? They also suggest taking advantage of free posting opportunities – we agree, absolutely post your openings using free services. But you’re not going to get the visibility you want for your posting unless you put some real money behind it.

Hiring takes time. LinkedIn says it takes half of business owners about a month to complete a hiring process. The study from SHRM says the average is 42 days, but that is not accounting for this crazy post-pandemic job market. It is taking our clients three to five months. We’re not trying to be fact-checking curmudgeons, but we also don’t want employers who can’t meet that timeline to feel like they are doing something wrong.

Yes, but…

Okay, so they didn’t get everything totally wrong. LinkedIn offered some good nuggets, but there are also some opportunities to refine their recommendations.

Post in a way that attracts applicants. When you post a job, you must keep in mind what search terms people will use when they look for your post. This article correctly suggests not to be gimmicky with titles, but it’s not just about industry standards, it’s also about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Make sure your company’s purpose and passion is in the job posting, not in the initial interview like the article suggests. And include testimonials from current employees in the post as well.

Set clear expectations for candidates. The article also rightly suggests not listing tasks that should be assumed in today’s job market (like ability to meet deadlines, etc.) in your post, and we are on board. But it also suggests only listing six job responsibilities. It is so important to be transparent with your applicants. If your job has 12 critical functions, don’t limit yourself to six.

Screen, if you dare. LinkedIn suggests using screening questions to help the cream of your crop rise to the top. And yes, that works in some industries, but in others, like high-attrition ones, it can backfire. We are in a unique time where the job market benefits the candidates. The more hurdles you set up, the greater the risk is you’ll miss out on awesome people. So, ask yourself…. Do you feel lucky (cue suspenseful pause…)?

Be thoughtful about video. Asking top candidates to submit a video is great, and we’ve done it ourselves, but we find it’s best to send them one first to help establish trust. Be clear about the questions you want them to answer and give simple instructions on how they should send it to you (video files can be too large to send via email!). Otherwise, it could also backfire.

The biggest takeaway here is that hiring isn’t easy – there are too many complexities and nuances to drill it down into simple steps in a short guide. You have to know what you need, who your audience is, and how to connect with them, or it can all go very poorly, costing you more time and money. And unfortunately, many small businesses get it wrong.

But there is hope. Hiring isn’t easy, but it is doable. And Zephyr Connects is here to help. You can take a look at some of these tools to help break down some of the complexities. And, spoiler alert, we’re also writing a book to help you even more… stay tuned for details. In the meantime, we’d love to schedule a discovery call with you to see how we can help you build your team.