Recently, we have been getting a lot of requests from companies who want help with recruiting. Some believe that their hiring practices of the past are no longer serving them; others, lacking formal HR departments, realize they lack the time and expertise to evaluate candidates objectively. Much of recruiting is back office process. Why not free up your time to focus on other elements of your business, and consider outsourcing part or all of your organizations recruiting needs? A recruiter can never assess cultural fit better than you, but they can present candidates who have the traits, behaviors and skills you need. Companies like ours can help tremendously with many steps of the recruiting process. Whether you choose to outsource all or some of the process, we present here Part 1 of our 10 Basic Steps to follow when recruiting. The first 5 steps will be covered this month, and following in October will be the final 5.
Step 1: Assess Your Current Team
This step is often skipped when companies do their own recruiting. For example, a sales rep position opens up so they just look for another rep to fill the spot. This is really jumping the gun. The leadership/sales manager needs to look at the existing team and determine what kind of person is needed to complement the team. Our recommendation is to look at your current staff and ask yourself a few questions. What are their strengths? Where are they weak? Do you need a rep who is tech savvy? Do you need someone who is a hunter rather than a gatherer? Is there an internal candidate that is well suited for a promotion? Create your list of questions for your assessment, then go through and stack rank your team based on those questions.
Step 2: Define the Role
Now that you have looked at the current team and determined the gaps, you are ready to start defining the role. We recommend starting with the requirements for the job and identifying the traits, behaviors and skills that will predict success in the role. For example, if you are hiring a sales person, do they have to come from within your industry? Do they need to be great at selling over the phone? Must they have a college degree? Must they be adept at developing relationships? Is this a product sell or relationship sell… how do the skill sets differ? Get very clear on what this person will be responsible for every day. If you don’t have one or haven’t tweaked it lately, make sure you write out a job description complete with expectations for this role. Having this will help you to write an effective job post that will attract a greater number of qualified candidates.
Step 3: Cast Your Net
One of the most important points here is to remember that you don’t work in a vacuum. Though a hiring decision may ultimately be your full accountability, your team has great access to talent so don’t forget to leverage them and additional internal people as well. So, once you have the job description/posting… start casting. Look to your personal network, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Post online, as well as in newspapers. Once the resumes start pouring in, screen them one by one. Create a checklist so that you are sure to evaluate candidates on the same playing field. This is often one of the most tedious parts of recruiting, but it is critical. Whatever scale works for you, use it, but be sure to rank you candidates in order of interest. Schedule the A’s for interviews, keep the B’s warm and send the C’s a ‘thank you for applying’ email. Though many candidates are accustomed to never hearing a thing if they are not selected for the interviewing process, we highly recommend acknowledging every candidate as a courtesy.
Step 4: Prepare for and Conduct Interviews
Create a list of questions that are designed to assess the traits, behaviors and skills identified in Step 2. Having a list of questions and a scoring system will help ensure that you are evaluating candidates on an even playing field. It’s easy to click personally with a candidate and then fail to assess them accurately. Stay on track by being diligent at following your system. We are big fans ofbehavioral interviewing (Google it! There are tons of resources on the web to help you.) Basically, it is a way of phrasing questions so that you can uncover past behaviors in specific situations. Since past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, this interviewing technique is especially effective at uncovering a candidates true potential for future success at your organization. Though we recommend it primarily as an effective time management tool, you should absolutely do a first round of interviews on the phone if you are hiring for a role that requires effectiveness on the phone for success. Phone interviews allow you to get a feel for a candidate and assess them on some clear skill-sets, traits and behaviors, and will help you eliminate many candidates who appear good on paper. Bring in your top 3-5 candidates for a second round of interviews face to face.
Step 5: Uncover What They Want
While it is critical for you to focus on uncovering traits, behavior and skills that will predict success, remember that many candidates will also be interviewing you too, depending on their options and the job market in your area. The best candidates usually have many options, so make sure that your organization and you can attract the best and the brightest. Resist the urge to sell them on why your company is a great place to work until later in the process. First, figure out what they are looking for in this change. Ask questions and listen to what they say. The candidate should be doing the majority of the talking. Find out what motivates them and what their goals are. This is a critical part of the interview – the next step depends on it!
How does this process align with your current process? In our opinion, the first 5 steps of the process are ideal steps to outsource. Much of this can be done by an outside consultant who specializes in assessment. Wouldn’t it be nice to be presented with only qualified candidates? Stay tuned for next month’s installment when we’ll wrap up with the next 5 steps for recruiting success.
Grow Big or Go Home!