We hear a lot about hiring the wrong person - there are numerous articles out there warning about the expenses associated with someone who isn’t fit for the job, or the potential disruption caused by moving people in and out of positions. But what about hiring the right person? Do we just roll the dice and hope for the best?
Interviewing and recruiting through fear (the fear of making a mistake) isn’t going to get you a high-performing, success-oriented team. Instead, it’s important to focus your energy on improving your hiring pipeline and getting top talent to apply.
Let’s look at some best practices for hiring the right person for the job.
Define the job
First, what job is open? Is it an existing job or a newly created position? What are the responsibilities and expectations? Do they work on a team or solo? Before you can hire someone to fill a position, you need to understand what you’re looking for.
Start with a recruiting plan. Determine which positions need to be filled—now or in the future—and what those positions entail. Don’t go it alone--ask people in the department about the position. Ask teammates about duties and goals, and get their input on what the best personality or background would be for this position.
With this information and input, craft a well-thought-out job description. As you’re reviewing your job post, make sure you’re using gender-neutral words and the benefits of working at your company. Emphasize your culture. Highlight potential job growth.
Meet the candidates where they are
Recruit where your candidates hang out. Look for potential talent at industry events. Post job openings on LinkedIn or Facebook, and find specific groups you might want to reach out to.
If you’re still using the same job boards that you have been for 10 years, then you’re keeping your search too narrow. You may not be in front of the right audience - it’s important to go to where your candidates are. The more broadly you search, the more apt you are to find a stellar candidate for your job.
Interview and evaluate them
Spend time with the candidate outside of the traditional 20 minute interview. Figure out if that person has the skills you need, the background you need, and whether they’re a culture add by hosting a few different types of interviews.
Mix up your interview questions. Get rid of questions like: what’s your greatest strength? Or what’s been your biggest failure? Will answers to those questions tell you about how this candidate can do the job?
Get creative. Find out if this person will fit into your culture. What drives them? How would they solve a sticky situation at your company? Give them some hypothetical situations and ask them how they’d react. And, importantly, follow up with references as well as other people that may know your candidate to find out what other people say about his or her soft skills and abilities.
Additionally, make sure you express your expectations. If the position requires 50 percent travel, and the candidate doesn’t want to leave the city, then you have a mismatch. It’s critical that you don’t mislead your candidate on the requirements of the position. If you’re open and honest about what the position entails, you’ll be able to find someone that lights up when you discuss the job.
Engage your team
Get your employees involved. Have your employees interview the candidate. Have them show the candidate around the office or take him or her to lunch. By having your team interact with the candidate, you can determine whether this person will be a fit for your organization.
Ask your best employees to refer candidates. People typically surround themselves with similar personality types, so your best employees will often refer strong candidates. Eighty-two percent of employers state that employee referrals produce the highest return on investment. Further, 88 percent of employers say that sourcing through referrals gives them more access to above-average candidates. Employees hired through referral programs produce twenty-five percent (25%) more profit than employees hired through other channels.
By engaging your team, not only do you increase your access to top talent, but you also give your employees some ownership over the hire you’ll make.
Quick note here: don’t overcomplicate things. Make the program easy to use and reward often - this will increase the number of qualified candidates in your pipeline and encourage your employees to refer more candidates.
Employees from different backgrounds and experiences can enhance your culture in addition to driving employee engagement and increased profits. If you want to hire the right person, you have to make sure you’re not being exclusive in your search.
Today, 67 percent of employees want diversity in the workplace. And diversity goes beyond race, gender, and religion. Consider backgrounds, thoughts, ideas, creativity when thinking of diversity. The more your employees can bring to the table, the more successful you’ll be.
If you already have a diverse workforce, make sure you highlight it in your employer branding. Highlighting your diverse culture on your website or on social media channels, like LinkedIn or Instagram, not only attracts better and more diverse candidates but also sends a message that you’re a company that is actively working to make your culture more inclusive.
Hiring the right person doesn’t have to be a mystery. The more time and preparation you put into your hiring practices, the more you’ll attract and retain top-performing candidates to your organization.