As business owners and wedding professionals, expanding your team can be one of the toughest parts of the gig. If you’re anything like us, your business is your baby—and you certainly don’t want to let just any old nanny or sitter in on the action. Finding someone with the experience, work ethic and personality you’re looking for can be a bit of an artform. From writing the job description to asking the right interview questions to choosing the right candidate, there are a ton of things to consider when adding on to your team—and all of them take a bit of planning and strategy. We actually just went through the process of expanding the Aisle Planner team ourselves, so we thought we’d share with you some things we learned throughout the recent experience. We’ve broken down our ultimate hiring guide below. Read on, and get ready read through resumés and analyze interviews with some newfound energy.
Attracting the Right Candidates
When you’re hiring, it’s important to remember that there’s a certain selling of your business that comes into play. We often think people will be vying for our job opening, but the right candidates are usually the discerning ones, which means it’s just as much your job to explain why yours is the company someone should want to work for as it is the candidate’s job to explain why she or he is right for the position. This starts with the copy in your job posting. Talk about your business and why it’s such a great place to work. You’ll also want to be strategic about the wording you use in the job description. What kind of candidate are you looking for? Someone who’s passionate, outgoing, personable, creative? If so, use those exact words. If you need a customer service rep who’s great with people, say so in the job description. That way, someone who hates working with people and isn’t outgoing won’t give your ad a second look. If you need a web developer who likes working remotely, say that. That way, someone who prefers working from an office alongside a team won’t apply.
Overall, the language you use should do two things: (1) It should give an accurate and clear idea of what it’s like to work at your company, and (2) It should use specific adjectives to attract the types of candidates you’re looking for.
Sharing Your Opening
You want to go to the channels your audience is already using. While certain sites may offer free job postings or seem simple to use, if the candidates you want aren’t on those platforms, posting there is a waste of your time. For our most recent hiring process, we shared our job posting on all of our social media channels (Facebook, our private Facebook group page, Instagram, Instagram Stories and LinkedIn) as well as on Create & Cultivate’s job board and on Indeed.
Instincts vs. Experience
Oftentimes, we treat a candidate’s experience as the most important thing they have to offer. But, while experience is of course important, we’re strong believers that a potential hire brings far more to the table than just her or his experience. As a company with a strong workplace culture, it’s important to us that the people we hire fit in with our team and are as dedicated to growing Aisle Planner as we are. There may be a candidate who has 20 years of amazing experience, but lacks the personality and drive of someone with only five years of experience. Trust your instincts during the hiring process—and give them as much weight as you give a candidate’s experience. How well someone fits in with your company culture is key, and someone with less experience might be a better fit than someone with more if that person gels with your team and your business goals more.
In this day and age, company culture is huge. Candidates want to know that a company is invested in them and that it’s a place they’ll actually want to come to work each day. Be clear about what it’s like to work at your company—if it’s fun, exciting and full of energy, say so. One of the best job postings I’ve ever read mentioned in-house Friday whiskey tastings and monthly bake-offs where the winner won a day off from work (needless to say, they had me at “whiskey tastings”). Communicating what your company is all about is key in attracting the right candidate—but you also want to be honest. Don’t say your company is “laidback and easy to work for” if it’s super demanding, or that your workplace is “full of energy” if it’s actually a total snoozefest—dishonesty will only lead to high turnover rates, which is costly both monetarily and when it comes to your industry reputation. Along those same lines, if you’re a startup, it’s important to be honest about the pace and demands of startup life. At Aisle Planner, we stress this fact, and we also communicate the notion that, because of this, our “family first” culture becomes even more important.
Sample Interview Questions
A great interview starts with asking the right questions. Below, we’ve outlined some of the top questions we like to ask candidates:
- What do you know about our company and why do you want to work here?
- What do you think we could do better or differently?
- What do you enjoy about working in [insert field]?
- What are the top three qualities everyone who works in [insert field] must have to succeed?
- What have you done recently to improve your skills in [insert field]?
- Talk about a time when you were unable to solve a workplace problem – what was the issue and how did you handle the situation?
- What are you passionate about?
- What have you done at your present/last company to increase revenues, reduce costs, or save time?
- What type of team structure suits you best?
- Tell me about a time you were working on an initiative or goal and saw an opportunity to do something much bigger than the initial focus.
- Tell me about a time when you took on something significant outside your area of responsibility. Why was it important? What was the outcome?
- Give an example of a tough or critical piece of feedback you received. What was it and what did you do about it?
- Give me an example of a radical approach to a problem you solved. What was the problem and why did you feel it required a completely different way of thinking about it? Was your approach successful?
- Is there anything you would like to ask about our company and its culture?
Keep in mind that this last one is super important. By allowing a candidate to ask questions about your company, you get a little insight into (a) whether or not they did research on your company beforehand and (b) what issues are most important to them (i.e. if the first thing they ask about is getting extra vacation days, they may not have the work ethic you’re looking for).
Onboarding Your New Team Member
The work doesn’t end at extending an offer. The last thing you want to do is hire a great candidate and have her show up on her first day of work to a workplace that hasn’t given her arrival a second thought. First and foremost, you want to make a new employee feel welcome (think about arranging an office lunch or short coffee meeting to introduce her or him to the team), and you also want to make the new hire feel as though they’re entering into an organized and seamless operation. This means you need to have processes and systems in place to onboard them and provide them with tools and resources they need to succeed. We’ve actually used the “Project” feature in Aisle Planner to create a project that is dedicated to onboarding a new employee. It’s complete with detailed notes and a customized checklist, which makes it so our new hire has all of the information they need right at their fingertips. We highly recommend setting up your own new hire project in Aisle Planner to ensure for a seamless transition for your new employee.
Lastly, you want to think of fun ways to introduce your new hire to your brand. Whether they’re a web developer, a customer service rep or just a summer intern, at some point, they’ll be speaking to someone about your brand—and you need to make sure they know what they’re talking about. We love the idea of having brand books printed for new hires, complete with their name for a custom touch. The book can have photographs of work you’ve completed, along with any brand standards info (fonts you use, color codes, logo best practices, etc.), and language examples (This is how we talk about Aisle Planner. This is how we talk about what we do. Here’s how we explain what Aisle Planner is to someone who’s never heard of us, etc.)
Overall, the hiring process can be a bit overwhelming—which is why being proactive is key. From interview questions to new-employee onboarding, the key is to have a gameplan in place before you post that job opening. As always, we also recommend reaching out to our Aisle Planner Facebook group to learn more about how other wedding professionals handle the hiring process.