by Derek Ross
Hiring the right person for your company can be a daunting task. There are many differentiators to consider and many steps along the way, from a properly written job description and job posting to assessment testing and reference check protocols. Having all these steps in place before you decide to hire someone can make or break the candidate’s experience as well as lead you to the best candidate for the job.
Planning your recruitment strategy before you begin your search makes all the difference. Identifying the hiring manager(s) or key personnel in the decision making process will allow everyone to be on the same page from the get go. Next and also a very important step is to define the position and create or fine-tune the job description. A solid description includes duties, responsibilities and essentials skills needed to perform the job. This will give that job seeker the information they need to decide if they are qualified for the position. The posting does not have to include every detail of the job description, however it should give the job seeker a good indication of the duties and necessary requirements for the job. Here you can also add a blurb about the company, pay range, work environment, physical demands or any other relevant details.
If your company takes a more proactive approach to recruiting, you can actively source for the qualified candidates on paid sites such as CareerBuilder, Monster or Dice, to name a few. Another option is to utilize free sites such as LinkedIn, Indeed and other social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to find that perfect candidate.
Smaller companies usually do not have an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) currently in place. If you are one of these, rest assured there is an easy way to track your candidates. Keeping a spreadsheet, such as Excel, will ensure that you keep your hiring process moving in the right direction as well as making sure qualified candidates are not being overlooked or missed.
Now you have your list of qualified candidates from your great postings and/or sourcing efforts. Next is the candidate screening process. Pre-screening the most qualified candidates can save the hiring manager valuable time. This is usually done by a simple 15-30 minute phone call or video chat interview. Remember to have a standard list of questions to ask each candidate. This will ensure you are asking the right questions to each interviewee and ultimately making your best decision selections for the next step of your hiring process. This time will also give the candidate an opportunity to ask specific questions regarding the job, company, culture, etc.
Once you have established a pool of qualified candidates schedule face-to-face interviews with the hiring manager(s) and/or key decision makers. Make sure you reserve a private room and at least 45 minutes to 1½ hours for each interview. Come with a specific list of questions ready. There are many different interview techniques. Among them are behavioral based techniques which evaluate the person’s strengths and weaknesses as well as past behaviors.
The STAR method is also a great behavioral based technique:
- Situation or Task: Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience, or any relevant event.
- Action you took: Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did — not the efforts of the team. Don’t tell what you might do, tell what you did.
- Results you achieved: What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?
Another method is the Competency technique which evaluates the person’s particular skill set and knowledge of the essential functions of the job. The key is to match competency testing with the needs of your company and the position for which you are hiring. Implementing solid interviewing techniques will ensure you hire the best candidate for the job.
After performing the initial pre-screening then the face-to-face interviews, you have made your decision or shortened that list down to the top 2-3 candidates. Now it’s time to perform reference checks on these individuals. It is best to have a list of predetermined questions to ask the referrals. You may also find pre-placement screening assessments helpful at this stage, depending on the job. Skills testing, for example, is an easy to way to determine if your potential new hire has the particular skills and knowledge needed to perform the job. Another excellent assessment is Personality or Behavioral testing. These help you assess an individual’s behavioral style so you can determine if they are a good fit for your organization. This type of assessment can also be used to promote from within and for employee development of your current staff. Neither the skills assessment nor personality/behavioral testing should be used as standalone decision makers. Instead, they should be added to the entire decision making process as whole.
If you have developed a great job description, asked all the right questions, and answered all of the candidates’ questions, it is time to make that offer. This is best done with a detailed, formal offer letter spelling out the position, start date, salary or hourly rate as well as any contingencies such as successful passing of a background, drug test, etc. A well-written offer letter should ensure that there are no surprises when it comes time for your selected candidate to sign and accept the position.
Congratulations, you have chosen the right person for the job and they ACCEPTED the position…so what’s next? Stay tuned for “How to Onboard the Right Way” coming to our blog later this year.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about recruiting, interviewing or the hiring process, send an email to us at HRHelpline@eastcoastrm.com. We look forward to helping you.
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