“Oh, we know what we’re looking for.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that phrase. Sure, you have an idea of who you want to hire, but this isn’t always the best way to approach the hiring process.
Hiring someone new should always be part of a long-term strategy. If you step back and think about where you see your company in the next five years, it’s easier to see where a new hire fits within your organization. It also lets you take a fresh look at your hiring process and scrap any pointless steps that can shrink the candidate pool to nothing but a puddle.
Here are a few best practices to improve and expedite your hiring process:
1. Tap your network
If your first step in the hiring process doesn’t involve your network –including your current employees – you’re doing something wrong. Give staff the opportunity to apply for the open position and encourage them to refer people from their own network.
2. Write better job descriptions
Be honest about what the job actually entails — not just with its tasks and responsibilities but why the role is important to your business. This sets expectations from the start, and also makes it easier for you to measure how each candidate stacks up.
3. Ask better questions
Many interviews focus on technical competencies, which only tells you whether a person can do the job. But other qualities, like emotional intelligence (EQ), coachability, motivation, problem solving, and cultural fit, are often much more important to future success.
Let’s say you want someone who’s emotionally intelligent. One question to ask is, “Did you build lasting friendships while at a past job?” Establishing relationships can take time, and doing so is often a sign of EQ. Another question to pose is, “What skill do you feel you’re still lacking?” Candidates who struggle to answer often aren’t very self-aware.
4. Interview by committee
At most companies, the interview process consists of a series of individual interviews. If you move to a committee model, all the decision-makers get an impression of a candidate at the same time. This not only streamlines the process but can also prevent someone from making a compromise to fill a vacancy.
5. Check references early
Many companies leave reference checks to the very end of the interview process. By then, however, you’re too far in and could turn the hiring process upside down if you’ve settled on the final contender.
Instead, check references after the first phone interview. That way, you’re not only verifying a candidate’s information but uncovering any potential red flags that would exclude him or her from consideration.
6. Get more selective
Many companies play the law of averages and bring in way too many candidates for an open position. Even when they’re only impressed with maybe five people, they set up first-round interviews with 10 or more. Trust your gut, and only bring in those candidates you feel really good about.
7. Keep a steady pace
The hiring process always needs to be kept at a steady pace. Move too quickly, and you’ll end up with the wrong hire. Too slow, and people will think you’re not interested. As soon as you complete the initial round, make your decisions and move to the next phase in the process.
8. Cap the number of interviews
As soon as you hit the fourth round of interviews, you’re pretty much wasting everyone’s time. Most of the time, you can get a feel for a candidate’s potential by the second interview. Consider bringing the top candidates in for a meeting with the direct manager, a peer, and a company executive. Then, use the next round to confirm the opinions from that first meeting.
9. Seek outside help
If your hiring process is long and drawn out, you can save both time and administrative costs by seeking outside help. Staffing companies can expertly screen and select the most qualified candidates for the job. Plus, they may already have a number of pre-screened candidates at their disposal.
If you’d like more information about expediting the hiring process or how we can help you find the perfect candidate for an open role, contact us today. We’d love to meet with you to discuss your current and future talent needs.