How to Attract and Hire The Best Employees
In Part one of our “Primer” we laid out that the various parties involved in the hiring process (Job-Seeker; Hiring Manager; Human Resources/Legal; Senior Management; Friends and Family) who are part of a communal process and that each has responsibilities to insure that a healthy and happy match is hatched. Part Two- we provided advice to the job-seeker. Today we will explore the responsibilities of the Employer.
A Great Starting Place: The Beginning
It is shocking how often I encounter a hiring manager who doesn’t have a complete vision for who s/he wants to hire. All too often there is a vague, cursory understanding of a role but not in depth consideration into what the full scope of the role should or could be and therefore what is required for that individual to be successful.
If the open position is a replacement the role must still be evaluated. What was the previous incumbent doing on a day to day basis – look beyond the obvious. Perhaps they were a Java developer, but were they also a cheerleader? A mentor? Coffee-maker? If the role were crafted differently some how could the mission of the department or firm be advanced to a greater degree? Explore the needs of your department and its goals and perhaps adjust your vision/description of the job to insure you are best utilizing the incoming employee.
If this is an expansion position, still avoid the obvious tendency to just add another salesperson or Systems Administrator and consider what other things a new person might contribute to the success of the company.
Identify tasks, responsibilities and expectations. Many job descriptions are laundry lists of required experience. Consider seeking skills and abilities versus buzz-word oriented check lists.
Write a Compelling Job Description
Starting with your newly formed vision, craft a job description that accurately describes responsibilities, expectations and how the position fits into the department or firm. SELL your company. Talented individuals are in demand. Consider what makes your firm/the job attractive and make sure to expound on this. Routine benefits (401K, health, etc.) are good but what less tangible benefits do you offer? Flex work? Foosball? Do you pay attention to career track and work with employees to achieve their goals? Attracting good talent is a marketing effort on your part and you should approach it from that perspective.
Concentrate on Capabilities As Much As History
You have developed now a clear understanding of what you need your new person to contribute. Consider hiring people who are able to accomplish these things, not necessarily those who can check off a list of skills. Ideally the new person should not be doing exactly the same job – or you’ll more likely be hiring a less ambitious individual (why change without growth) or someone who’s only motivation is money/commute/security: none of which are ideal reasons to make a move. A strong PHP developer with deep understanding of development principles and practices is more likely to be a great Python developer than an experienced Python developer who is not grounded in a passion for eloquent solutions.
Be Considerate of Your Applicant During the Interview Process
The person you’re interviewing is your perspective colleague. Their experience with the hiring process tempers their view of your company and you. Remember the Golden Rule and "do unto others".
Communication is key. Be responsive. Give feedback. Make sure you engaging with him/her. Provide an opportunity to speak with peers, potential supervisors and subordinates. Show a genuine interest in their goals and desires and see if they align well with your ability to support them. Encourage conversations that allow for exploration of philosophy of how to accomplish a successful outcome.
Streamline the process. There is little reason for the process to drag for weeks or months. A phone screen short personal and longer exploratory interview can all happen in one to two weeks. Make sure all the decision makers and participants are aligned with the need for a hire and will make themselves available in a timely and professional manner.
Profit from the Process
Make the process add value for you and the individual. Whether the interviewee is the correct person or not you can benefit from your time. Presumably you are engaging with someone from your field. By exploring their experience and point of view at a minimum you will likely add to your own book of knowledge. If you provide a positive experience for someone who is not destined to land with you – you are much more likely for them to refer someone to you or to promote your firm in their professional network.