Finding the right person for a position is part art and part science. While some people certainly have a gift for finding good people, everyone can improve their success rate by following a methodical step-by-step process.
By Kate Zabriskie
Step 1: Know what you want
First and foremost, it’s important to envision what work will look like with a new person. What will he or she do? How do you envision interactions looking and sounding? What do you expect in terms of quality and quantity of work? What temperament do you envision working best? Does the person need to be creative? Is the work basically the same each day? If this person is going to interact with people other than you, who are they, and what do they want from a new hire? Knowing what you want is essential.
Step 2: Create a robust job description
Once you are clear about the kind of person you want to hire, it’s time to put pen to paper and craft a job description. Crafting a solid description of the core responsibilities and the day-to-day tasks of the job will help you establish your expectations for potential hires.
Step 3: Think about what it’s going to take for someone to be successful
Experience and education are essential to success in some jobs, and for others, they’re not. If education isn’t a deal breaker, do you want to exclude candidates by making a degree mandatory? What you require can widen or narrow your applicant pool—potentially in ways that could hurt your chances of finding the right person. Think long and hard about what’s essential before moving to the next step.
Step 4: Create a strong job ad
Just as candidates are selling themselves, you are selling your company and the position you are filling. An ad is your opportunity to attract talent. Whether you’re working with a recruiter or doing the recruiting yourself, spend time creating a strong job title, telling your organization’s story, and briefly describing your essential requirements. If you have a great location, solid benefits, or some other selling point, include that information too. Your ad should quickly paint a robust picture of why you’re great, what you’re looking for, and why they should want to work with you.
Step 5: Promote your position
The type of job you want to fill should dictate where you’ll promote it. Many options exist. Regardless of which you choose, it’s important to have a plan and to understand how each promotional avenue works.
Step 6: Craft your screening questions
In tandem with crafting your ad and promoting your position, you’ll need to develop your questions for screening candidates and interviewing those with whom you eventually choose to meet. This step is essential for several reasons. First, it helps you follow a repeatable process. Second, it helps those who interview to ask relevant and legal questions. Finally, it ensures you are fair and can gather answers you can compare with relative ease.
Step 7: Evaluate candidates and set a phone screening schedule
Once your job posting closes, it’s time to review the qualifications of those who met your position’s criteria and set a screening schedule. Depending on the number of responses you get, you may choose to screen everyone or rank candidates and screen the top group. Either way, you’ll want to talk to applicants before you bring them in to meet in person. Phone interviews offer several benefits. They allow you to get an initial impression of a candidate without having people’s physical appearance influence your thinking. They are also an efficient way to address some basic questions.
Step 8: Determine who you will invite to interview in person, and prepare your interviewing team
After you’ve concluded your screening process, it’s time to prepare your interviewing team and invite candidates into the office. Getting ready is essential. Both you and the prospective employees are auditioning. Your interviewing team needs to be just that, a team. You should discuss the welcoming process, the interviewing order, the questions each person will ask, and how you will close your meetings with candidates and send them on their way. Leave little up to chance. You are on stage. Depending on the position you are filling, you may decide to conduct more than one round of interviews. Regardless of what you choose, you must have a plan.
Step 9: Gather feedback, and rank the candidates
When you’ve finished interviewing people, it’s time to rank them. Because you’ve asked each person the same questions, this should be easier than it could be if you hadn’t.
If you find your team disagrees, think before you make an offer. If none of the candidates is exactly right, again, think before you make an offer. The wrong person now is rarely as good as the right person a little later.
Step 10: Make your offer
Assuming there are no obvious roadblocks, it’s time to make an offer. Be excited when you do, and recognize this is only the first step in effectively integrating an employee into the fabric of your organization.
So there you have it. Ten steps can make all the difference. Great hiring is about good discipline and patience. The better you are at establishing and following a strong inclusive process, the stronger your results will be. Now go find that candidate!
Kate Zabriskie is the president of Business Training Works, Inc., a Maryland-based talent development firm. She and her team help businesses establish customer service strategies and train their people to live up to what’s promised. Read more business-building stories in the PPC Digital Edition archive.