In the quest for finding talent, one powerful strategy may be to hire college graduates or young workers who have a very specific skill set for the task at hand. When I was the CEO of Smarteys, a Web app that offered financial advice to college graduates, I hired over 10 college graduates as part-time workers over the course of three years. By the third year, I found similarities between the part-time workers who exceeded expectations and those who fell short.
Here are five strategies to help increase your chances of landing talented part-time workers.
1. Focus on part-time before full-time.
College graduates are often underemployed and overqualified, and the supply of these workers can be higher than the demand. As a business owner, this predicament can work in your favor. If you hire these graduates on a part-time basis, you can evaluate their performance quickly before making a full-time decision. And if you're strapped for cash, I recommend working with someone on a part-time basis for three months before bringing them on full time. An alternative may be to outsource specific projects that have an end date, thereby limiting your cash outlay. Workers who are underemployed may be both desperate and fickle, so project-based work may also save you from lots of heartache if they find another “better” opportunity.
2. Link performance to compensation.
Providing incentives tied to key company milestones may be a smart idea. Figure out what milestones are critical to growing your business, and consider centering your compensation around these metrics. Performance-based compensation over and above a flat fee may signal to workers (and you) that they are truly having an impact. For example, I offered my social media maven and blogger a monthly $350 flat fee for spending 10 hours per week posting and engaging online while managing our editorial calendar. If she wrote blog posts, she received an additional $25 for each one that was shared at least 10 times. Since building a brand has a direct impact on sales, these activities are extremely important to my business's growth.
Remember, your employees need to meet their basic needs—food and shelter. If your job doesn't contribute to their ability to meet this goal, their output may decrease over time, even if they don't intend for this to happen. A lack of sufficient income may eventually cause them to focus on getting another job. To receive a return on your investment in their training, it may help if you provide sufficient income.
3. Find your ideal part-timer.
Developing a strategy to hire the right type of millennial graduate has worked well for me because I’ve had a focused approach. I’ve found it helpful to target someone still exploring their career options, thus making them more likely to commit time and talent to drive your vision and hone their skills. My most successful hires have been through recommendations from friends and people in my network. When you email job descriptions to your network, it often helps to explain the company culture and specific skill set you want.
Here’s an example:
Dear Friends, I have attached the job description for a part-time blogger position I’m looking to fill. I am looking for a recent alum who is already very active on social media, is responsive to emails and general communication, and exhibits incredibly strong writing skills. If you know anyone looking to pick up extra income and work in a culture where they can have a big impact and work independently, please let me know.
4. Share your vision and build loyalty.
Many young professionals want access to the CEO or founders. If you can provide them 30 minutes of your time every two weeks to provide an opportunity to ask questions, they may have better work output. If there's silence in two of these meetings, you might reconsider keeping this person onboard. If you're like me, you don't have time to constantly encourage and provide a roadmap for your vision throughout each day. But creating a separate space for this may create loyalty—a potential goldmine when it comes to execution.
5. Be crystal clear about your expectations.
It may help to have specific expectations for your workers and outline these expectations upfront. Many college graduates haven't been part of a formal training program or don't have experience in corporate America. On one hand, they haven't been groomed for a hierarchal structure and may be cavalier in interactions with you. On the other, a lack of formality may allow you to accelerate growth and prevents bottleneck. If you have a culture in which your employees can always ask you open questions and email you informally, hiring recent graduates might be right up your alley. If you're comfortable with this style, it may help set the ground rules on response time and whatever else is important to you.
Read more articles on hiring and HR.
This article was originally published on May 19, 2015.
Photo: Getty Images