The hiring process can be slow. It can be frustrating. On the one hand, hiring new employees often occurs at high-energy times, which can be motivating and energizing when channeled. Either your business is experiencing significant growth, or you’re in crisis mode looking to replace an existing staff member. Either way, there is an undercurrent of energy surrounding the hiring process as you look to make a change in your staff. However, it can also be frantic and frustrating. It’s easy to waste your time and energy on candidates who don’t work out. It become a time-suck. When you’re inefficient, time spent is time wasted.
Surprisingly few business owners I talk to have a hiring strategy. People who plan and implement strategy in various arenas of their business may overlook the hiring process as a place where organization and strategy can be implemented. Hiring strategy is the most effective way to simplify and improve the hiring process.
1. Determine the current problem.
Obviously, this will differ if you are replacing an existing staff member or if you are creating a new position. While the differences between these two situations are a topic for another post, there are some similarities between the two that enable us to address the strategic issues in the same way. In both scenarios, it is critical to identify the problem.
2. Identify the top 3 most important characteristics or skills an ideal candidate would have.
Is it very important that whomever you hire be a people person? Are there specific technical skills that are indispensable? If you are replacing an existing employee, determine what that person’s best value-added characteristics are. This can provide a general guideline for what to look for in new hires, although it is a mistake to try to find someone exactly like your existing employee. The three characteristics should clearly be related to the tactical items that will solve the problem.
Implementing the Strategy
Once you have your strategy set, it’s time to actually go about implementing your strategy.
1. Refer back to your key characteristics when creating application and interview questions.
Obviously, you’ll need to prepare in advance for your interactions with potential new hires; this is a time to apply the concepts you’ve discussed and written down.
2. Consider training current employees to interact with and evaluate applicants.
Delegating these things can actually make the process more streamlined. Rather than having you go and ask for input from current employees after meeting with applicants, let them see the applicants for themselves rather than have to rely on your synopsis.
3. Try to get a sense of the applicant in the real world of your business.
It is imperative that you ask applicants how they would respond to some of the most common issues that appear day-to-day. Many applicants can be flawlessly rehearsed in the interview; however, this does not necessarily translate into success in the messier, long-term situations he or she will be thrown into in his or her new position. The goal of the interview should be to weed out the rehearsed answers and find out more about how the applicant actually works.
4. Identify specific aspects of the applicant’s resume that you want more information about.
Usually something will stand out. Zero in on the best aspects of the resume and dig deeper in the interview. Ask specific questions and try to drill down to determine exactly what contributions the applicant made.
For more on tactics for hiring, this great article from firstround.com describes the perfect technical interview, but the takeaways are great for any small business owner.
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