What is a business if not a group of people working towards common goals? With the right people included in that group, your success is essentially unlimited; with the wrong people, it is doomed.
As a professional in charge of hiring, you know that one of the most difficult aspects of running a successful business is mastering the art of hiring the right people, and keeping them on the team. Those people not only bring incredible talent and knowledge to the task at hand, but also proactively contribute to a healthy and vibrant company culture, lift their peers who may be struggling, and have their ear to the ground for new opportunities.
The challenge is two part. First, everyone in your industry wants these people – so you may have to get creative with descriptions, and really evaluate your objective requirements to find some of your own. The second? Every candidate wants to be perceived as that type of candidate – and likely honestly thinks of themselves as one of them, until they’ve been on the job for a few months.
So how do you perfect your hiring funnel to really find the right people? Here are a few tips:
Take A Closer Look at Your Requirements
Do you use the term “Rockstar” or “guru” in your job descriptions? When you list the years of experience you’re looking for, what are you basing that number off? Do you really need employees to come into the office every day, or could you reasonably support flex time and work from home days?
These questions and more should be asked when you’re writing a job description. The fact is, if you puff up the requirements in hopes of attracting more qualified candidates than you really need, the outcome is that you drive away many potential fits. This is especially true of women and people from cultures where boasting is not considered acceptable – both groups tend to only apply when they feel they’re 100% qualified. So, do you really want someone who thinks of themselves as a – for example – marketing “ninja”? Or would you be more satisfied with someone who understands their role, is eager to learn more, and stays humble?
Great candidates who are actively looking are hoping to find a fit, but they are also, often, eager to leave their current place of employment as soon as possible. Even those candidates who aren’t actively looking are receiving opportunities through social media channels and friends on an almost daily basis. If you keep a candidate waiting for the more traditional 1-4 weeks and ignore the increased pace of business these day, you’ll likely lose your best candidates.
How can you speed up the process? Create standardized “score cards” for interviews, and if your company requires multiple interviews, consider scheduling a full or half day with the candidate so everyone can meet at once. This will not only make each evaluation process faster, it will also guard against your interviewers forgetting key details or becoming biased by unrelated negative events happening after the interview but before a decision is made. Finally, it will make it much easier for the candidate to attend each interview without putting their current job at risk, and show that you respect their time.Ask for Samples AND Demos
I think every business owner has been in this position or witnessed it from an employee perspective, at least once: you interview a candidate with a beautiful resume, and they seem perfect. They seem eager and excited in the interview, and generally, give off an adequate or good impression. You might even ask for a few samples, and they seem good as well.
Then they’re hired, and it all goes up in smoke.
The reality is that many people exaggerate – or even flat out lie – on their resumes, and may submit samples that are either not actually their work, or that they spent an incredible amount of time perfecting. For example, if you’re hiring a writer, you aren’t really interested in the sample article they spent all week perfecting and had every friend and relative help them with. That’s about as true to the work they’ll produce on a regular basis as a stolen article.
The best way to make sure that you really understand a candidate’s skill level is to ask for a demo. Make sure you pay them for their time, or the very best people will simply walk away.
Hiring new talent is incredibly difficult, but it can be done. Make sure that you show respect for the candidates as people, pay them for any time they spend on demos, and make interviews convenient when possible. The interview process is one of those topics where you’ll get the same value out of it as you invest into it – so make sure to be constantly working to improve your interviewer’s’ skills, the job descriptions you post, and your demo assignments!