There is no magic approach to finding and hiring the right employee. However, there are some best practices you can implement that will increase your odds at success. Here are 10 tips to finding and hiring the right employee.
Make a Plan
The first step in any successful endeavor is to first get organized. Hiring is no different. If you fail to plan in the hiring process you plan to fail. Your plan needs to encompass a number of things. First and foremost, for which skills and experience are you hiring? Taking the approach of, “I’ll know it when I see it,” won’t work.
Start with a clearly defined and reviewed role description. This is what you are expecting the person to be able to do, so make sure your interviewing plan will identify his competency to do so. A formal plan will also help you avoid bias in the process, thus leading to a more successful hire and better results.
A big part of your plan is identifying the essential needs and distinguishing them from the nice to haves. The essentials are priority and as such need to remain the focus of the hiring process. You can identify the essentials if you stick to your plan and use the role description accordingly. These would be the core things the individual must do and be able to do to be successful. Don’t get lost in the illusion of the nice to haves.Sometimes you’ll identify the nice to haves and get fixated on them as you brainstorm how you can apply them. If they do not have all the essentials they won’t be successful and no amount of successful application of the nice to haves will make up for it.
Provide the Right Environment
The success of a hire goes well beyond the actual hiring process. You want that person to stay with your company as long as possible and perform the best he can, right? This means the right things have to continue to happen in order for that hire to be an ultimate success. Making sure the individual is aligned properly within the organization and environment will help ensure this success.
Start out by finding early wins for the new employee. This will help to build confidence and establish a supportive and rewarding environment. Be intentional about training hiring managers on this trait, and include it as a part of your strategic employee onboarding process. The more wins a new hire can rack up early on the more successful he will be in the long run within the organization.
Interview for Success
Interview success is bolstered by making a plan. But it goes beyond that. You must actually make sure you are hiring for the right things and interviewing accordingly. If your interview isn’t focused on identifying the correct competencies, abilities and fit, even the seemingly best candidates won’t succeed long term.
You have to approach the interviewing process as a due diligence process. You have to approach it as objectively as possible and assess based on facts.
Pay Attention to Red Flags
Red flags will come up in the hiring process–they may come up multiple times during the hiring process. Every time a red flag appears, take care to note it on the applicant’s record in your applicant tracking software. One red flag may not create pause, but multiple red flags can pretty clearly indicate a future problem.
How to spot red flags. Red flags can be pretty subtle, but most likely you will recognize them and you just have to make sure you record them. For example, if the position will require night and weekend work, don’t ignore a candidate that states she prefers not to work every weekend. “Every weekend” may really mean she doesn’t want to work any weekends. It will eventually become an issue.
Study Top Performers
If this is a new position, it’s a bit of a gamble as you don’t really have a precedent. If this is a frequently hired position or you are replacing someone who was good at it, use that information to your advantage. Study what made that person successful, and identify the traits and skills of the top performers currently in the position. If possible, involve some incumbent top performers in the selection process, and consider assessing the cognitive and behavioral traits of your top performers using an employee assessment tool in order to create a benchmark profile against which candidate assessment results will be compared.
Avoid comparing candidates to a past or current low performer. If you think you will have success by hiring the opposite of a low performer, you are not necessarily hiring for success. What you may end up doing is just hiring the opposite behavioral traits and not necessarily someone who can excel in the position.
Building a network must involve–you guessed it–networking. Forget about recruiter networking groups. After all, you aren’t hiring recruiters. Identify networking groups that are associated with your target market. As you attend events, you will get to know who the leaders are in your particular industry and with whom you need to associate.
When networking with these individuals they will definitely know who the top performers are. As you build these relationships, they will be more willing to identify these individuals for you and even direct them your way. This is one of the best ways to narrow down a candidate pool to only top performers.
Have a Value Proposition
Awareness of your competition and what they are doing to attract and retain employees is critical. You must be prepared to either match what they are doing or figure out a way to differentiate your organization from an employment brand standpoint. What is your value proposition? Why would employees want to come work with you?
Know Your Market
To be a good recruiter, you need to have your thumb on the pulse of the labor market. Doing so will ensure you target the right individuals and conduct searches in the right places. This will also help you decide where best to post job ads that will attract the candidates you are seeking. To streamline this process, search for external job boards by category in your hiring software. ExactHire’s HireCentric platform offers this feature, including the ability to easily post to these job boards from within the applicant tracking system (ATS). Focusing in the wrong areas will only attract the wrong candidates.
Lean on Referrals
The best for last. A heavy focus on referrals should be the goal of any great hiring strategy. There are two main reasons referrals need to be front and center in your focus. First, good employees will refer good people because they want to work with the best. Second, referrals typically have an instant fit and they already have a relationship with the person who is referring them. Top notch job seekers will be more willing to make a change for a friend than slug through the traditional hiring process without the benefit of any insider insight.
Photo Credit: William Iven