Hickock Boardman Benefits

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Tips for Hiring the Right People

I am probably not the first person to tell you to take sufficient time to be exceptionally selective about who you hire. This is something that is often easier said than done, especially when facing an anxious or impatient hiring manager, perhaps an executive, who just wants to make the hire. The talent market is tight in some areas and you may not be seeing the level of quality you expect from applicants. I get it. That said, we have all made bad hires and have felt the pain for however long, until having to exit the not-so-great performer or the cultural misfit that endlessly derailed the team. That is, if they were not kind enough to voluntarily resign.  As if making the bad hire wasn’t challenging enough, it puts us back at square one, repeating the recruiting and interviewing to try to finally get the right person into the position.

In order to hire the right people, you must first be clear about what is really needed when you have an opening. Specific to the position, you want to be clear about the particular skills and background you desire in a candidate. What options and scenarios exist if you have to train for all or some of these skills? As a hiring team, you also want to understand what competencies and behavioral traits are a good fit based on the culture of the organization. Do you need people who are adaptable, flexible, and comfortable with ambiguity and frequent change? Is it an organization with a social or environmental mission? Is it a position that is suited for remote work? Are there unpleasant aspects of the work or work environment? These are important details and considerations before the job is posted.

Got a superstar doing similar work? Maybe you have an employee who you wish you could clone. Borrow this person (and their super powers) and interview them to better understand what appeals about the position and the workplace. Take the opportunity to listen and learn from your employees.  What are the best and the least desirable aspects of the work and the workplace? You may be surprised about what you hear, but make sure you show your appreciation for the gift of your employee’s feedback. This information is useful to the organization in many ways, however let’s focus on the task at hand of making a great hire. Use the information provided to craft a job ad to attract your target audience. Be honest, but showcase what you have learned about the best aspects of the work and the organization.

Before you advertise externally, seek out referrals from your best employees and colleagues you trust and respect. Referrals from trusted sources can save you time and effort during recruiting. If those inquiries do not provide you any viable options, post the position where you are most likely to draw your best candidates. Again, this requires you to fully understand the position and the characteristics of a successful candidate for the job.

Once you have a few solid applicants, I strongly encourage