Recruitment Strategies for Small Firm Architects
Recruiting new employees is one of the most important things a professional services firm can do to be sustainable. A solid recruitment strategy not only reduces employee turnover and minimizes cost, it also builds the firm’s reputation as one that actively invests in building sustainable futures for its employees and clients.
Growing a firm is completely reliant on recruiting, retaining and coaching new talent – and such activities require as much thought and planning as the largest project. Firms leaders can start by breaking down recruitment into three stages: developing a candidate pool, narrowing to set of finalists, and negotiating the hire.
Refine Hiring Systems
Before recruiting, take some time to fine-tune internal processes like position descriptions, personnel policies, communication methods, etc. All of these organizational systems should be defined before bringing on a new employee, as they are the first introduction to a firm’s culture and structure.
Updating the firm’s digital presence should also be a priority, as prospective employees will comb the internet for information while they consider whether or not to engage with a firm. In addition to reviewing company websites, 59 percent of potential hires will scour social networking profiles to develop a better understanding of a firm’s culture.
Develop a Candidate Pool
The goal in this stage is to develop a large pool of qualified candidates, so firm owners should start by creating two distinct documents: a position description and a job advertisement. Too often position descriptions are shared in hopes of attracting potential employees, but this document is meant to be a statement of responsibilities and requirements for the role. It is designed to inform, not intrigue.
A job advertisement, however, is meant to sell an ideal candidate on applying or contacting a firm for more details. Draw them in with attractive information that encourages them to fantasize about how their skills and talents will help the firm achieve success.
Next comes posting the job advertisement, for which firm leaders should consider the following ideas:
- Post the advert on the firm’s (newly updated) website.
- Post the advert on all social media platforms – according to Glassdoor, nearly two in three employees say their employer does not or does not know how to use social media to promote job openings.
- Ask employees and professional contacts to promote the advert on social media.
Email the advert to as many people in the firm’s professional network as appropriate.
Once the pool is filled with qualified candidates, firm leaders will need to drain it down to the best. These will be individuals that not only meet the position description, but can also clearly communicate how their skills and strengths will serve the firm’s mission.
This requires firm leaders to potentially spend hours combing resumes, cover letters and portfolios for evidence of outstanding options. When it comes to filtering applications, look for those that have been meticulously edited and contain clear value statements. Cover letters and resumes should also be customized to meet the firm’s needs and style.
Recruitment is hard work and takes time, so be patient. Investing in sustainable hiring systems will continue to pull in exceptional talent. It’ll then be up to firm leaders to build a reputation for being fair potential employers through the interview process..
Watch this blog for the next installment of this series. It will focus on conducting interviews and negotiating hires.
Todd Reding is the president and CEO of Charrette Venture Group, an investment company that focuses on growing small-to-mid-sized architecture firms around the world. He is also an adjunct lecturer on Entrepreneurialism at the University of Iowa and chair of the board of trustees of Grinnell Regional Medical Center.