Job recruiting can be tricky these days, especially now that everyone knows the types of perks that companies like Google have to offer new hires. Even if your company isn’t in the tech field, you still need to compete to get the best employees.
Some companies are taking their inspiration from those in Scandinavia, which boast about having the best work culture possible. Their employees are dedicated, yet managed to have personal lives. They’re happier all around. Here are some of these Scandinavian methods that you can use to recruit new employees.
Just keep in mind that you need to follow through on your promises.
1. Offer perks packages that are above and beyond the norm
Many companies offer their new hires the standard package of one week of vacation, health insurance and paid sick days after 90 days, and so on. This doesn’t help them stand out from the crowd. If you really want your company to bring in the best and the brightest new hires, you need to think outside of the box.
Consider offering your new hires those perks after the first 30 or 45 days. You can also raise the amounts of sick/personal and vacation days that new hires receive. There’s no need to stay with the old tried-and-true packages when you’re competing to bring in the best talent.
Of course, you may not be able to offer the perks packages that come with jobs in Scandinavia, but as long as you throw more on the proverbial table than most American companies, you’re ahead of the game.
2. Point out what your standard work days are like
An eight-hour workday is what everyone aspires to.
In Scandinavia, this actually happens. People go to work, spend their days being very productive, and then get to leave on time to be with their families. This isn’t always the case over here in the U.S. — but it could be at your company.
If you have a structured work day that needs to be strictly adhered to, then you can use it to lure in new hires. Put something in the new hire paperwork or employee contract stating that employees only work eight hours each and every weekday.
This ensures that your employees, especially the new ones, will be happier and more productive. You’ll also be able to recruit some good talent.
3. Make sure that your new hires realize that they aren’t expected to be on the job 24/7
Work-life balance is the new trend. People have realized that their smartphones and constant connectivity are ruining their home lives and personal time. If you don’t expect your employees to be on the job when they’re off of work, create an official policy that says so. And then make sure to inform all potential recruits about this policy.
Of course, you might work in a field that does require this type of connectivity, in which case this is a moot point.
4. Tell new hires that every employee is expected to use their vacation time
This is one of the main differences between the work culture in Scandinavia and the work culture in the United States.
In Europe, those employees receive a lot of vacation days — and actually use them. They have a set amount of mandated time off that they take advantage of. In the U.S., it’s the opposite.
Employees receive little vacation time (in comparison anyway) and don’t always get to use that time. Your company needs to ensure that your employees can properly get away and enjoy their time off. Mandating vacation days is the main piece of this puzzle. As long as you have an enforced policy regarding the need to use this time off, you can tell any future employees about it.
5. Conduct interviews as if they aren’t really interviews
Everyone has been to a formal job interview where the recruiter or H.R. employee asks a series of standard questions and the potential employee answers them. In between, the two kind of stare at each other nervously. This isn’t a good way to bring in talented recruits. Instead, you need to make the interviews into something resembling discussions which also help in reducing your time to hire.
You can set up these discussions so that all of your questions are answered, but the entire process is less formal. The people that you’re “interviewing” are more likely to be at ease. How does this help your recruitment process? Well, it makes your company look less formal, and thus more enticing. Few people want to work at a very formal, highly structured company. Instead, they want one where things seem less strict. The levels of productivity may be the same, but the atmosphere is not.
6. Let employees from various departments interview potential employees
Tradition states that the only employees doing the recruitment interviews are those who work in human resources. This doesn’t need to be the case anymore. Employees from various departments can do the interviewing as well. Why? Well, this ensures that all of the employees mesh well together. No matter the size of the company, those employees are no doubt going to have to work together at one point or another.
For example, if you have employees in a design department and you’re interviewing copywriters, then it makes sense for them to interact at some point during the hiring process. You don’t want to find out later on (after the person has been hired) that there are major personality conflicts. That doesn’t bode well for future projects.
7. Be completely honest about what the job entails
While you don’t want to deter potential employees by telling them how awful this potential job is, you do need to be honest about what will be expected of them. Are parts of the job tedious? Are there a lot of expectations that will need to be managed? Do some of your clients have extremely high expectations?
These are all things that should be disclosed during the interview process. You don’t want to simply complain how bad things are, as that will scare off just about everyone. (In fact, that’s the first sign of a bad company to work for.) However, you should be completely honest about the tougher parts of the job. Your potential employees will thank you and think more positively about your company. The ones that are cheerful about everything (and gloss over the bad parts) are the ones who will lose out.
8. Realize that potential employees have bad days
Everyone has an “off day” now and then. It’s even worse when that person shows up in your office for their job interview on that “off day.” You need to look for these signs so that you can schedule a follow-up interview with those people. After all, you might overlook a great new employee who just interviewed badly because they spilled coffee on themselves that morning or missed the bus.
Some signs to look for include those of nervousness (shaky legs, constant hand motions, actual shaking), frustration (a look of sheer exasperation in their eyes), and general unease. Since you’re a seasoned recruiter, you’ll be able to tell. Instead of discounting these employees outright, you should offer a follow-up interview in a more informal location.
While the discussion method mentioned below is also a good way to deterring nervousness, it doesn’t work in all cases. Instead, if you set up an interview in a coffee shop or the office cafeteria the next time around, your interviewees will be more relaxed. And once they’re having a good day, you’ll be able to see if they’re a better fit for your company.
By taking the Scandinavian approach to running your business and recruiting new employees, you’ll find that you have a better pool of applicants to choose from. People want to work for a company that truly offers them a good work/life balance, an excellent perks package, and a standard eight-hour day.
The fact that they have to take vacations where they unplug from work is just icing on the cake. Yes, in some of these cases your whole company has to be on board, especially where the work days and vacation policies are concerned. However, you’ll find that these policies will make even your existing employees happier.
Yes, there’s a reason why people turn to Scandinavia for company inspiration. These are just eight inspirations from those countries that can make your recruitment process easier and your current employees happier.
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
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