How to Hire Well in 10 Steps — to Avoid Hiring Again

November 14, 2017

You know a bad hire is a waste of time and money, but do you know how to hire well? Choosing new employees is one of the most vital, critical tasks a business must face.

If you want to hire top performers, you must focus on improving your hiring process.

“If you want to grow, you need people who will become leaders. Average people don’t become leaders; average people don’t innovate; average people aren’t good in a crisis; average people can only do their current job,” said John Sullivan, a management professor at San Francisco State University, in The Wall Street Journal. “If you’re growing, you need someone who can do this job and the next job.”

Hiring well requires planning, insight and innovation. Consider the following steps to find the right person for the job.

1. Review (and Revise) the Job Description

Provide detail about what the job entails, but don’t go overboard. Without enough specific information, you’ll receive an influx of applications from unqualified candidates. Too much may cause good prospects to lose patience.

LinkedIn advises using a standard title to help candidates find the posting during searches. Be as detailed as possible when listing required skills, roles and responsibilities. Include benefits like 401(k), flex time or stock options.

Make necessary updates to be sure the description is still relevant. Maybe it was written years ago and needs editing. For example, if the job description says supervisory experience is required, but the employee won’t be supervising anyone, make revisions.

2. Reflect Your Culture Online

Your website must represent your company as it exists today. Potential employees will research if your company has the environment they want. Your site needs to be honest about culture, values and expectations. Have you won “Best Place to Work” citations? Are you proud of certain policies? Make sure they’re noted.

Sixty-nine percent of job-seekers are likely to apply for a position “if the employer actively manages its employer brand,” which includes responding to reviews, updating the company profile and sharing updates on social media regarding the culture and environment, according to job site Glassdoor.

3. Centralize the Hiring Process…Online

A properly implemented hiring software package (a Human Resources Information System or an Applicant Tracking System) will let you advertise openings, identify potential candidate matches, rank applicants and track their progress through the recruitment process all in one place.

Also, list current job openings on your company’s website, job search and professional association websites and social media, notably LinkedIn. Casting a wide net will keep top candidates from slipping through the cracks.

4. Establish an Interview Team

Every candidate should interview with several employees. This should include the supervisor, someone the new employee would be working with, and someone who previously held the job, if possible. Team members will depend on the opening, but more than one person should provide feedback about each candidate.

5. Explore Your Options

Does the first candidate you interviewed seem perfect for the job? The hiring team should still interview at least two other candidates for comparison. You might spot useful skills (or detrimental traits). But don’t drag your feet and risk losing a top candidate.

6. The Questions to Ask

Go beyond the standard “Tell me about yourself.” You need details about how each applicant approaches challenges and handles failure. Ask open-ended, behavioral-based questions. Try “Tell me your story,” or “Tell me about a time you…” managed a conflict with your boss, dealt with failure, or promoted someone else’s success.

Some companies may also use assessment tools like the DiSC profile to evaluate candidates. These can be helpful, but be careful about how you use the results. While the DiSC is effective at assessing work behavior and work style, it does not evaluate specific skills or strengths and weaknesses.

7. What Do They Want to Know About?

The questions candidates bring up during interviews reflect their priorities and provide clues about how they match your needs. Do they ask a lot about work schedules, compensation and time off? Then striving to be a top performer might not be their focus. Conversely, if they want to understand the organization’s definition of success and its plans for growth, they’re determining how they can contribute.

You can also tell if a candidate has done due diligence about your company by the questions he or she asks.

8. Track Down Blind References

Anyone listed as a candidate’s reference is going to say positive things. So, reach out to other people who’ve previously worked with the candidate. Look on LinkedIn and ask for anonymous feedback about performance, quirks and ability to be successful in the role.

9. Run Background Checks

A simple background check should uncover possible issues like a criminal record, DUI arrest or business bankruptcy. While these don’t have to exclude a candidate, they’re certainly things to consider.

10. Patience, Patience, Patience

It’s normal to want to fill the position ASAP, but don’t compromise and run the risk of making a bad hire. Ultimately, you’ll save time, money and frustration by searching until you’ve found the right person.

A bad hire will cost your company more than just money. Between the time spent on recruitment and training, and the negative impact on clients and others, there’s no excuse for cutting corners in the selection process.

Knowing how to hire efficiently will help your company avoid the repercussions of selecting the wrong candidate.

Read more about managing your team: 3 Questions All Employees Have — and Why You Should Answer Them

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