I just finished reading an article which discussed how to consistently hire great people. It raises questions that we at MGD Services consistently ask our clients when they engage us to fill their job openings. What struck me while I was reading was that this was one of those ‘cart before the horse’ scenarios for many hiring managers. The article stated that the very most important thing to be clear about in order to hire great employees is knowing precisely what is needed in the new hire.
Simple right? Believe it or not, it’s rarely simple for hiring managers. When we talk to hiring managers who are looking to replace a bad hire we find that the leading reason the wrong person was hired was because the wrong person for the role had been interviewed in the first place.
Hiring managers can struggle to clearly define what they truly need in a new hire. What they often ask for – in a job description is almost NEVER what they are ultimately looking for when we sit down and hash out the role. Sometimes this is caused by an outdated job description that has been pulled out of the archives and which wasn’t carefully reviewed before being used. Sometimes it’s because the only job band that fits their budget has no matching skillset. Or it may be that two roles are being combined. Obviously if any of these scenarios are true hiring great employees is going to be tremendously difficult.
The good news is that getting the horse before the cart can be done with research and visionary thinking. Start by asking why you are looking to bring on a new employee. Is it because an existing person is leaving or because you have created a new role? Next evaluate the strengths of the existing team members. Can you redistribute work load among existing members and/or promote from within – thus creating an entirely new role that will enhance the department and promote corporate growth? Always consider your options. Is it possible that the immediate responsibilities are different than what the long term needs for the position will be? If this is the case. Why hire a full time person that fits right now but might not be able to do the job down the road? In this case consider hiring a contractor for the short term who may or may not flex into the long term position.
Finally it is sometimes useful to seek an outside opinion. Hashing out your hiring needs with a trusted advisor – a superior, an HR partner, or Staffing partner – can also be beneficial. The goal is not to cut headcount at the cost of productivity but to evaluate what, as the Inc. article promoted, you are truly looking for in the perfect hire. Once the job description is clearly defined, then you can work on interviewing techniques that will allow you to qualify ideal candidates for the role.