Do Your Hiring Practices Need Some Help?

Hiring is an inevitable part of running a business. Even if you have the lowest turnover on the planet, at some point you’ll need to fill an empty position. Or 10.

Whether it’s due to growth, retirement, or good old-fashioned attrition, eventually you’re going to have to bring on some new people. But if your hiring practices aren’t up to snuff, your new hires won’t be either. 

Investing in good hiring practices is an investment in your business. If your hiring processes are efficient and well defined, you’ll find the right candidates much faster. And if you hire the right people at the get-go, you’ll spend way less time trying to manage square pegs into round holes.

Developing an effective and strategic recruitment process will save you time, money, and headaches.

Who are you looking for?

Are you hiring for skill, culture, or attitude?

Many companies get too wrapped up in specific skill sets, looking for that perfect person who can do it all. But in the quest for skills, we sometimes forget that having likable, motivated team members who are happy to be on staff can go a long way toward making the workplace more pleasant and productive.

Busy managers may be drawn to the idea of hiring for skill based on the assumption that minimal training will be required. But this isn’t necessarily a good thing. Employee training and onboarding are key components to new hire assimilation. In other words, spending time with new hires isn’t a bad thing. Not only will you make sure they are executing their skills how you want them to, you’ll also go a long way toward helping them feel welcome and supported, which are critical to employee engagement and retention.

Hiring for skill set is also tempting because it’s easier to define. You simply look for skills A,B and C. When you find them, it’s a match!

Hiring for attitude and culture is more nuanced. In order to effectively incorporate these things into the hiring process, you’ll need to define what they are, based on your current culture (if you’re happy with it) or the kind of culture you want to build. Take a look at your company culture, where it is now and where you want it to be. Identify key people within the organization who best exemplify your culture and assess the qualities they have that make them such a good fit.

Hiring for attitude doesn’t always mean hiring the perkiest person in the room. In some office cultures, this would be hinderance to success. Meanwhile, hiring for culture doesn’t mean you should only hire carbon copies of your current staff. To do so is to miss out on different perspectives, diversity, and the cultivation of a well-rounded team.

They key here is to figure out what kinds of skills, attitudes and qualities work best in your culture, and then weave those things into your talent search.

How to find your best fit

One way to make sure you’re looking for the right people is to create an ideal candidate profile.

Tell the story of who you want on your team. What kind of person are you looking for? Which traits are most desirable? Once you know who you’re targeting, it will be much easier to conduct your search. How can you connect with candidates that match your description? What social channels are they on? Where would they go to look for new opportunities? What kinds of incentives will they find motivating?

Another way to find ideal candidates is by crafting the ideal job description.

Work with your hiring manager to determine what the job currently looks like and what it should be moving forward. Does the position still make sense as is or would a little restructuring do everyone some good? What skill sets are mandatory? What skills are optional? What skills can be taught or learned?

Update the job description and tailor it toward your ideal candidate. If you’re looking for a creative, flexible, extrovert, say so. If the position is geared more toward someone who enjoys following a predictable daily routine, say that too. The more information you can include in the job description, the more apt you are to attract like-minded applicants.

How not to miss out

Finding awesome candidates is only half the battle. The other half is winning them over.

If you’re excited about your applicants, you can bet other companies will be, too. Sometimes, we fall into the trap of thinking about hiring strictly as a competition between candidates, and we forget that as employers, we’re also competing with other organizations.

When jobs are scarce, the tide turns in our favor, and the job is the prize. But when unemployment is low or talent is scarce, we need to flip this model on its head. The prize is that high performing new hire.

Here are several quick ways to lose the battle for talent:

  • Make candidates jump through too many hoops
  • Withhold details about the job, company, benefits, or compensation
  • Fail to keep applicants informed about where they are in the process
  • Take too long to schedule or complete interviews
  • Be indecisive or get stuck in committee
  • Wait too long to make an offer
  • Lowball your candidate to give you “leverage”
  • Demand they accept or decline your offer immediately

Don’t be on the losing end of the talent war. Define who you’re looking for, then revamp your hiring practices so they align with your company values and are attractive to those you want to recruit.

The hiring process is often a potential employee’s first peek into what it’s like to work with your organization. Make sure you’re looking good.


Photo by Kheng Ho Toh 

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