Recruiting is a process that can be optimized and improved over time. The best companies know this and put their greatest efforts into their “people systems” in an effort to build an engaged workforce. Recruiting is just the first step in that process, and employee engagement starts there. According to Gallup, “Work units in the top quartile in employee engagement outperformed bottom-quartile units by 10% on customer ratings, 22% in profitability, and 21% in productivity.” Those numbers are compelling, but in order for there to be a top quartile, there must also be a bottom quartile – and the following scenarios set the stage for that low performance. Do you relate to any of these situations?
We write a “job posting” when recruiting, but the specifics of the role usually depend on the candidate we end up hiring.
When companies are small, the best hire is often a “Jack of all Trades”. Someone who can do everything is supremely valuable when everyone is “pitching in” and “just making it happen”. But as companies mature, they need specialists – people who have mastered a narrow skill set and can perform a specific role better than anyone else. Knowing the specifics of each role in the organization independent of who happens to be staffing it allows companies to identify the best talent on the market and set very clear expectations for the candidate. This means defining what they will do, the outcomes they should generate, the competencies that will make them successful, and the value that position is expected to deliver.
Usually when we need a new hire, we’re starting from scratch, placing ads – there are no ready candidates in our pool.
Always be recruiting. The best talent is rarely unemployed – they’re valuable and sought after. You should know who they are and have relationships with them before you need to fill the position. Whether it is relationships with educational institutions, networking at industry associations, or keeping tabs on past candidates, ideally the first step in the recruiting process should be to appeal to your network for candidates. And that appeal should yield results.
Often we’re selecting from a pool of very similar people. It’s hard for us to tell which would be the best and we often disagree on our “top pick.”
This problem is usually resolved with a candidate scorecard. A scorecard identifies the position’s core purpose – the main thing the best candidate will be able to master – and provides clarity on how to test for it. It evaluates the most important skills and behaviours for that specific position and what success in the role will look like. The interview process then systematically tests for these criteria. There is no “voodoo hiring” where a candidate tops a shortlist simply because “there was just something I really liked about her.” The criteria are well defined.
Too often, we make an offer and they don’t accept it. It’s heartbreaking after all that recruiting effort to come up empty handed.
From first contact and through the entire recruitment process, you must be selling the job and the company. “Selling” is not pretending that everything is perfect. Instead it is painting a realistic, warts-and-all vision of what it will be like to work for your company. Yes, money matters, but culture matters more. The perfect candidate is usually a perfect fit and will therefore be just as excited to join the team as you are to have them.
How can you avoid these pitfalls?
If any of the above statements felt a bit too familiar, join our next Bellrock Management Training class and avoid them forever.