Reinvigorate Your Hiring Process
Look around and what you'll notice at the heart of most great companies is an incredibly strong emphasis on the hiring process. Why? Because every new employee will either improve the organization or lower it – and managers should be seeking and hiring employees who will enable the company to grow and to become more profitable – instead of putting a warm body in a seat.
A key aspect of the hiring process is to focus the most attention on understanding what the person will need to accomplish in the position and then use the interview process to find out if they have what it takes to be successful, including skills, experience and their level of motivation. Below are four ways to improve and reinvigorate your hiring process.
Focus. Avoid the weird questions. What have you ever learned from asking an interviewee what animal he would want to be if he were to reincarnate as one? I'm guessing not much. Focus instead on getting to know the candidate and his experience, knowledge, skills, attitude, and behavior, as these will reveal which candidates are most likely to be successful in the position. Ask a question that directly applies pressure, such as "what makes you think you are better for this job than all other candidates?" or "which co-worker at your last job did you not get along with well and how did you handle that situation?" These kinds of questions are more effective and will likely yield an answer that is deeply telling.
Challenge. How do you ensure someone has the skills they say they do? Test them. These can be written tests, role-plays, or simulations such as asking a PR candidate to write a press release for a make-believe product or asking a web developer to complete a short programming task. These tests don't need to be elaborate but they do need to allow the candidate to show his skills since a resume often does not tell the whole story. Unfortunately, there are people who embellish their resumes and you may initially feel embarrassed but ultimately be surprised at how many candidates are unable to complete a simple but necessary exercise.
Define. Clearly defining the job and position requirements (education, experience, knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes) necessary for someone to be successful will actually help make the interview process easier. In addition to a summary of the position, detailed bullet points describing the job's main tasks and the minimum education and experience requirements, you'll want to incorporate behavioral characteristics that you believe will be necessary for a new hire to shine in his position and mesh well with your existing office's culture. For instance, instead of a bullet point reading "10+ years' experience required", consider something along the lines of "team player with strong leadership skills and 10 or more years of demonstrated ability to manage effectively. You will then have a roadmap to follow for evaluating each candidate against the requirements to determine who will be the best fit.
Include. All "bad hires" were once "good hires", so what might have been missed during the hiring process? Having the final candidates interview with others in the company (and especially those with whom they will most interact if hired into the position) provides additional perspectives. After all, your opinion is only one quick snapshot and those additional perspectives greatly increase the odds of finding the best candidates.
By taking a serious and formalized approach to hiring can actually save you time and a lot of headaches. It helps you clearly see the type of person who will be successful in the position, provides a roadmap of questions to ask during interviews, highlights skills to be tested, and delivers input from others that will either corroborate first impressions or highlight disconnects. All of this results in better employee hiring, which leads to improved company performance.