As a business leader, recruiting and hiring the right people to build out a high-performance team is the most important work you will ever do. If you get that right, you can make mistakes on a great many things and your outstanding team will STILL carry you to a win. Get it wrong and you will be playing catch up for the rest of your career. You cannot succeed without the right people in the right roles in your organization, and it starts with recruiting and hiring perpetually, and finding ways to create synergy among your team by hiring the best people you can and training and coaching them to become the very best that they can be.
Leverage ALL of the networks available to you in securing great candidates! Use connections such as your colleagues, your networking group, your Rotary or Chamber of Commerce, your LinkedIn Groups and your contacts. Pay a nice bonus to your associate or do a great favor for the person who refers the winning candidate!
Get proactive and recruit perpetually, not just when you have an opening to fill. You will find that you will run into MANY more great people who belong on your team when you schedule interviews when THEY are looking to make a change and not just when you have a position to fill. When you interview someone who is very promising and don’t have a position open at the moment, you can easily keep in touch with them and generate some long-term goodwill by reconnecting with them when you DO have an opportunity available. Of course, they may have taken another position in the interim, but that doesn’t happen always, and even when it does, sometimes they are destined to join your team later on or become customers, etc. Remember, recruiting is about marketing your firm and your cause, not just about hiring…
Prepare for the recruiting process with a meticulous zeal and you’ll find that things go MUCH better. Think about what the role and responsibilities are for the job. Create or update the job description. Figure out the top 10 characteristics or competencies that an outstanding candidate will need to have to become wildly successful in the role. Make sure you share that information with the person screening candidates for you. Set aside time on your calendar for the interviews and more time later to follow up with notes, while the interview is fresh. Don’t cut corners or you’ll miss the opportunity to stand out with your recruiting effort!
Pay close attention to each application and resume you receive. Do not use screening tools for resumes; they prevent interviews when you want to welcome them. Look for the “diamond in the rough” candidate with a great attitude and a great upside potential who you can coach to greatness over time.
Build a great “recruiting team” to attract, interview and select the best candidates. This could include your HR team, you, the hiring manager and one or two associates who hold the position currently or have worked in that role in the past. Have all members prepared and encourage them to invest in bringing their best to the recruiting effort. Let your HR team screen the field and narrow the list of candidates down to the 3 or 4 “best” candidates. You or the hiring manager focus on qualifications, determining cultural FIT and excite the candidates about your company culture and vision. You need to inspire your candidates to want to join the cause. The position holders help the candidates to really understand the role and how it fits into your company’s vision. They also validate your culture and answer candidate questions so that the candidate can make an informed decision to freely join your cause. Use a structured interview process with multiple interviews as listed below:
- Screening Interview – Human Resources conducts screening interviews and narrows the candidate field to the top 4.
- 1st Interview – The hiring manager interviews the candidates for 45-60 minutes. 80% of the time should be spent on qualifying the candidate and 20% selling them on your company & culture.
- 2nd Interview – The hiring manager interviews the candidates for 1.5 hours and goes deep to determine qualification and fit with the company culture.
- 3rd Interview – The associates who have held that position interview the final two candidates to help qualify them and determine their cultural fit with the team they’ll become a part of.
- Final Interview – You and/or the hiring manager meet with the final candidate to ensure that they are the best candidate and present an offer of the position, if they’re the right fit. Seal the deal and welcome the candidate to the team!
Employ behavioral questions designed to get the candidate to think on their feet. There is no substitute for a colleague who can handle ambiguity, think on their feet, speak with confidence when thrown a curve and who can wear multiple hats while still functioning coherently.
Michael is an award winning Business Advisor and Coach who is busy writing a book on Business and Leadership Best Practices. As this is the first blog article in a 3 part series, plan to check out the second and third articles on the Stairway To Hiring Heaven, which will include more recruiting Best Practices! Michael is hosting workshops for Business Owners, CEOs, Leadership Teams, and Emerging Leaders. If you’d like more information on those fantastic workshops send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The workshops will cover topics like Conflict Management, Teamwork, Performance Coaching, and other great business leadership topics. For now, remember to work at your recruiting and interviewing and develop some great skills along the journey. Enjoy the ride!