Hire the Best and Avoid the Rest

Thursday June 18, 2020 comments


Unless you just need a generic person with a pulse and some skills, recruit someone who fits - who will value the same things your team values because they’re inherently wired the same way. While you should never make decisions based on illegal discrimination (sex, age, ethnicity, etc.), you should be very discriminating in selecting the people who you’re trusting your vision, resources, reputation, customers, and future to. The right hire can make your vision come true; the wrong one can turn it into a nightmare. Follow these 7 steps to take to hire the best, and avoid the rest.

  1. Develop Your Employment Brand. While your marketing brand defines your employment brand, your employment brand will attract the right people to deliver on your marketing brand. If your employment brand is too generic with nothing that sets you apart from every other organization that offers the same things (health insurance, holidays, paid time off), you’ll get resumes by generic applicants. An employment brand that is as unique and innovative as your marketing brand will set your employment opportunities apart for those who get your mission, see your vision, and live your values. Those are the people you want on your team.
  1. Promote Openings Strategically. Too many companies place job ads that look more like tired, boring job descriptions. Would you advertise your product or service that way? Make your job ads as compelling as your product or service advertisements. Place your job ads with the same kind of care you’d do with your product or service advertisements. Use the right venues to get attention by the right kinds of people. That may or may not include internet job boards or print media. It should include your network and your team members. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it and where you say it.
  1. Sell Your Culture. Every company has a culture, either by intention or by default. It’s caused by everything you do, say, promote, or allow. Know your culture. Redefine it if necessary. Then use it to attract the kind of people who like that kind of culture. Use your mission, vision, values, intolerables, nuances, perks, quirkiness, and people to make it clear who will thrive in your organization. And who won’t.
  1. Screen. You should screen based on qualifications and skill. But more importantly, you should screen based on fit to your organization. Don’t waste candidates’ time – or yours – if they don’t demonstrate the passion, behaviors, preferences, or attitudes that mark your best team members - the ones you wish you could replicate.
  1. Enlist Your Team. Your best employees don’t want to work with people who won’t pull their own weight, who are toxic to the environment, who don’t fit… or who would embarress them. Whether you merely ask your Front Desk person to size up candidates based on how they treat him or her, or you create team interviews, your people will see things you don’t. Empower your team members, include them in the process, enlist their help, and engage them in helping find the next great employee. In doing so, you’ll make better decisions, you’ll get buy-in into the decision and you’ll enhance morale by being inclusive.
  1. The Interview. Interviewing is probably the most utilized and least effective way of selecting a team member. The ability to be interviewed well isn’t a required skill in almost any profession besides PR and politics. So flip it. Now rather than you selling your opportunity, set it up so that candidates get to sell themselves to you and your team… maybe even set it up so that the candidates are the ones asking the questions rather than you. At this point you want rapport… a discussion where both parties get to learn about each other.
  1. Audition. Make applicants prove themselves. Need a salesperson? Make them sell you something. Need a writer? Make applicants draft a letter on a sensitive subject. Don’t rely much on what candidates say they can do. Create ways to see what they can do, and how they would do it. Rather than asking, find out how candidates think, react, and what their real values are. Utilize working interviews - where you hire the top candidate(s) for a few hours or even a full day to see for yourself the quality, quantity, and character of their work as well as interactions with your team and customers. Don’t expect free work out of people; pay them for their time. Then make your decisions on observed performance rather than conversation.

There’s a lot to each of these steps. Open Door helps organizations create an enviable employment brand, as well as tailored strategies to find, select, keep, and reward the best employees. We also help organizations make needed changes when they’ve made a bad hire… 


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