I have several clients who are each trying to hire the “right” person for key positions within their companies. Today’s tight labor market makes this important task that much more challenging.
I’m always amazed how everyone agrees that the quality of your team will determine the quality of your business. Yet many still approach the hiring and selection of employees as a burden or something you “have to do.” Or, even worse they just want to get it behind them and hire the first person they “think” is the right one.
Well, here’s a fact: Selecting – not just hiring – the right person is something you must do! And you had better be doing it right if you want to avoid mistakes, lost money and productivity and causing your customers to go elsewhere.
Let me share with you the advice that I give each of my clients which works.
To start with, here are 3 sure-fire ways to make certain that you can hire the wrong employees. Here’s the point (just in case you need to hear it): Do the opposite!
- Have minimal, if any, job specifications. You know, you’re busy. Who has time to write a job description? You don’t need a full-scale job description to select the right person. Far too many of you go blindly through the motions of filling a need without first deciding what the right need is. You must have a clear understanding of the essence of the position – how it will contribute to the goals of your organization followed by no more than 6 to 8 key responsibilities. Maybe this will take an hour to do. Is an hour of your time better than the weeks and months of agony you will experience if you hire the wrong person?
- Don’t ask the right questions. Questions are supposed to get you information. Bad questions get you bad information, which results in a bad selection. In addition to asking questions about what they did (which, by the way, most of you do), ask questions about what you want them to do (which, by the way, most of you do not do) – as reflected in the need you have to fill. Set specific targets about what you want this new person to do at the end of 30, 60, 90 and 120 days after they come on board and then ask questions about their ability to meet those targets.
- Hire the person right away. Heck, if they’re breathing that’s half the battle, right? Those of you who know have heard my favorite mantra, “Hire slow, fire fast.” Yet most of you do the opposite – you hire fast and suffer slowly and slowly until you can’t take it anymore. Look, selecting new employees is a risky process. You can never minimize 100% of the risk, but you can reduce it to be able to make an intelligent (not emotional or stupid) selection decision.
Bringing in new “qualified” talent is a key responsibility of every manager, leader and business owner. Have a process that includes a correct description of the job you want to fill, interview preparation, the right questions and a method to follow to evaluate the candidate based on the need you have.