Much of a company’s success will lie in the people it hires. Many of the world’s top corporations got where they are because, along the way, they found strong, talented people who brought energy and ideas to the table, and inspired others to reach for their best.
But hiring the right people doesn’t happen by accident. You need a well-reasoned plan, a process. You also need to be flexible. You need to think ahead clearly about what you will need in order to accomplish your goals while also being open to surprises — a candidate that might bring unexpected experience or skills or style that could be of benefit. It’s a tall order.
What are some hiring “best practices” that have made larger businesses succeed? Here are a few:
- Clarify expectations upfront. You can’t hire what you don’t know you need. Clearly describe the four or five critical performance objectives that must be met. The advance thinking this forces you to do will pay off. If the job description does not clearly define what the employee with ultimately be measured against, both of you will be cheated out of a success.
- Don’t compromise on your quest for top talent. Do everything you can to hire the best you can every time. Saving a few dollars by shaving down the benefits or pay scale may cause you to lose an employee that would be worth many times what you save. It may cause you to hire some one who will COST you many times what you save.
- Put in the time. Those who consistently hire the best people spend more time with them throughout the hiring process. The best recruiters spend time not just with the candidate but with the department manager they are assisting — getting to know the people that person with work with and what the work environment looks like for THAT work group.
- Learn to assess potential. Let’s face it, most job descriptions boil down to a laundry list of skills. While the person you hire needs to have the basic skill set to do the job, skills alone are not what you are hiring. You’re hiring a person. You need to analyze the resume, not just read it. And you need to ask questions that draw out indications of potential. Candidate “A” may have all the skills and candidate “B” only most of them, but look deeper. Does candidate B’s resume show a knack for acquiring new skills? Some people have a gift for reaching beyond their job description that can mean creative new solutions that propel your company forward.
- Value the person over the position. In a way, this is a corollary of the point above. The best managers are always willing to meet and consider talented people whether or not they fit the job — often, even if there is no open job to fill. You never know when something will open up that needs exactly that person’s talents. Also, very often, the best managers are willing to modify the job description if possible in order to capture good talent when they see it.
These hiring practices aren’t just good advice. At Creative Business Resources, we hire this way ourselves — whether for our own staff or in assessing candidates for our clients. It’s not simple. It takes planning and focus. But that’s our business. That’s why many small businesses have turned to us to help them find and select top talent.