Much focus has been placed on getting the right people on the bus, and for good reason. Across every imaginable industry, today’s selection process poses some of the greatest challenges to organizations already in the thick of fierce talent competition.
For decades, Honeywell’s Chairman and CEO (retired) Larry Bossidy has urged managers to focus on hiring only the best people, “No company can expect to beat the competition unless it has the best human capital…”
And perhaps even more important than hiring the right person is NOT hiring the wrong person. To avoid risking a costly bad hire, managers must resist the tendency to put urgency before fit. Here are six things to consider when you are actively hiring:
1. Create a “perfect candidate” competency checklist.
Take time to think of the exact skill set you will require in the open role. Consider the prior employee and ask yourself, “What did they do well?” and “What did they lack?” Make a list and prioritize by the must haves and nice to haves. Do not forget to carefully re-evaluate the role, examining how the scope may have evolved/expanded, and be sure to include new job tasks and responsibilities. Bear in mind, the perfect candidate may not possess every skill you desire but being prepared with a checklist will allow you to assess their fit and appropriately craft developmental goals, if hired.
2. Assign a task prior to the interview.
While it may seem trivial, this is one of the best ways to weed out people that cannot follow simple directions. For example, ask a candidate to review your corporate Website and bring a written synopsis to the interview. If they do not have it with them, end the interview right there. This is an effective way to measure a myriad of factors, including; listening skills, responsiveness, attention to detail, and business writing competency, to name a few.
3. Follow your gut.
If you have doubts about the candidate, do not minimize them. Whatever the concern is, it must be brought up, thoroughly discussed with the candidate, and appropriately addressed. Hiring managers too eager to get a person in an empty seat can often downplay serious issues, leading to a hire that will haunt them in the end. A red flag, no matter how seemingly insignificant, should never be ignored.
4. Listen to your colleagues.
If others in the interview process are uncertain about a candidate, be sure to carefully discuss concerns with them. Since everyone asks different interview questions, a topic that might not materialize during your interaction could raise questions for another colleague. A comprehensive debrief is essential.
5. Be approachable.
People who already work for you have to trust you enough to tell you you’re making a mistake. Are those around you intimidated by you and therefore unable to raise objections about a new hire? If so, you’re doing something wrong. Take the opportunity to genuinely evaluate how others perceive you and be sure you are approachable enough to gain their trust.
6. Don’t settle.
If no one you are interviewing proves to be a good fit, start from scratch. Do not make the mistake of comparing a candidate against others within the current pool. Compare each, instead, with your ideal candidate and move on if no one meets your needs.
Remember that no interview can be a perfect vehicle for determining the best hire. In his book, Hiring Smart; How to Predict Winners and Losers in the Incredibly Expensive People-Reading Game, San Francisco consultant, Pierre Mornell, puts things in perspective, “Interviews test how well someone interviews” (1998, p. 55). While this cannot be disputed, doing your homework and approaching the hiring process with thought and preparation will no doubt increase your success rate. So, go ahead, POST that opening!
(About the Author: Ann is highly skilled in the areas of engagement, motivation, coaching, collaboration, self-development and team building. With an innate ability for meaningful personal interactions, she both inspires and challenges people across multiple industries to maximize their potential.Facilitating meetings and workshops that produce long-term, effective results, she focuses not only on individual coaching, but teaches leaders and managers the skills they need to successfully inspire their own teams to achieve top results.
With humor and wit, Ann’s story-telling skills bring content alive in an innovative and memorable way. A true renaissance woman, her strong background in art, music, theatre, comedy, and a broad knowledge of natural history and the sciences, creates a wide palette from which she draws. Ann received both her Master of Science (2014) and her B.A. (2011) in Business Management from Eastern Nazarene College in MA. She’s held a PHR Certification (Professional in Human Resources) since 2006.)