Thomas Forstner is the People and Talent lead at Juro.

The two main focuses for any scaling business center around sales and headcount. Without sales, the business can’t increase its revenue and continue to run effectively. And without the right headcount to manage workloads, it’s really easy for a business to get snowed under as demand increases.

In an environment where the jobs market is highly competitive, fast-paced companies need to do whatever they can to both secure and retain the best candidates. Here are five tips that can help HR or people and talent teams hire more effectively.

1.  Focus on the 99 per cent

Most companies dive straight into assessing how they can improve the dynamic between interviewer and candidate – but improvements to the hiring process start much earlier than that. Before fixing the smaller details, look at the overall hiring system.

The most common approach towards hiring is through a funnel-based structure – candidates apply, they work their way through the different stages of the funnel, and the company either offers them the job at the end, or rejects them. The problem with this approach is that teams reject and forget about candidates that don’t meet the right requirements … which means 99 per cent of the talent pool gets ignored in favour of the 1 per cent – the person that gets the job.

Instead, teams should look at hiring as a pipeline, where rejected candidates are nurtured and developed in a talent community. This allows people and talent teams to keep track of suitable candidates, in case there’s a better-suited job available down the line, and it also sets a positive impression of a company that cares about its applicants. Make sure you’re thinking of the vast majority – the 99 per cent of applicants – instead of the successful minority in your hiring process.

2. Set candidates up for success

Businesses want to secure a hire – they want to be at a stage where they can confidently send an inviting offer letter to the person best suited for the job. Yet some hiring processes rely on a lack of communication or nebulous interview questions to try and catch applicants out. Instead of creating a process in which it is difficult to succeed, create a process in which applicants are set up for success.

Offer up answers to basic information, like date and time, location, and even the type of questions candidates can expect in their interview. At Juro, I make sure I send over all the necessary information to set the candidate up for a successful interview – including a detailed FAQ, and short bios on the interviewers. By being transparent, businesses can ensure they make a great first impression – and that first impression can make all the difference between a company at which people want to work, and one they actively avoid.

3. Consider company culture

Company culture is extremely important – it defines the nature of the business as a workplace. It’s the employees that build and develop this culture; each person needs to have the attitude and mindset of someone who could thrive in your business’ environment and get along well with other colleagues.

So why do people and talent teams ignore culture when they’re hiring? Ignoring culture means you could be hiring the wrong people into the business – who may be able to do the work, but aren’t compatible with the way the business operates, and the way colleagues work and behave. This can have a negative impact on hiring objectives; the employee may feel disengaged with the business as a result, and end up leaving down the line.

Instead, include a culture section in your interview process. Culture is defined by the values your business creates and upholds – so make sure you ask questions that tie back to these values, and ensure that candidates can not only meet your company values, but add to them.

4. Remember: interviews work both ways

As the interviewer, it’s so easy to assume a position of authority – you are the one offering the job, and you’re also the one leading the interview. Most companies follow a structure where the interviewer asks questions, the candidate answers, and right at the end, the candidate can ask a few questions of their own.

This can lead to a poor experience for candidates, where they feel like they haven’t had a chance to ask the right questions in the small time window they had, or that the employer didn’t care for their voice and opinions. Hiring benefits both parties, so neither party has a position of authority. The company will benefit greatly from securing a talented individual, and the applicant will benefit from having a job at a fast-paced business, so the interview should feel more like a discussion where both parties can learn about each other.

This will ensure both candidate and employer make a well-informed decision in the later stage. Instead of setting 25 minutes for the interview, and 5 minutes for the candidate’s questions, for example, make sure there’s equal time for both.

5. Meet all your deadlines

If candidates need to meet specific deadlines for the application process, it’s only fair that the employer offers the same courtesy. Most companies respond with a typical time window in which they’ll answer emails, for example: “you can expect an answer within 48 hours” … but rarely do companies meet their own deadlines.

Dedicating this time to candidate responses can make a massive difference; keeping people waiting (or worse, ghosting unsuccessful candidates altogether) is not only impolite, but it sets a terrible impression of your business. Making sure you respond on time validates the applicant who took the time and effort to apply in the first place, but also helps your business brand in the long run. Don’t underestimate the importance of meeting deadlines.

It only takes a few small changes to leave a lasting impact on the hiring process and how people and talent, or HR teams, secure and retain good talent. By making these changes, you can power your business to success as it continues to grow.