Everyone recognizes hiring the most qualified staff is a goal critically important to the health of a firm. But for most small and even mid-size firms, it is not an event typically performed on an on-going basis. As such, it is even more important to have a well thought out, documented, and repeatable interview and hiring process. Below are a few best practices to help improve the desired outcome of hiring the right person, for the right job, at the right compensation.
1 – Prepare a clear, well defined job description of what the day to day duties will be. Not just the responsibilities (there is a difference between responsibilities and what someone may actually do on a day to day basis) and desired skills. By defining the day to day job duties, you ensure clarity not only for your own staff, but for the person you will be interviewing.
2 – Interview efficiently and effectively, and not just multiple times unless absolutely necessary. No one likes to have their time wasted going through multiple interviews unnecessarily. If it takes multiple interviews to make the correct decision; fine. Be sure all involved have a clear understanding of what the most important topics to be evaluated are, to ensure consistency in the process. Don’t just “wing it”.
3 – Provide timely updates to the candidate if it is a multiple interview process, or if there are multiple candidate interviews to keep their interest high. Chances are if the individual is as talented as you hope or perceive, they will have other options. Keeping the lines of communication open helps you keep tabs on their interest.
4 – Sell the opportunity, the company, and the career value; and not just after you have decided on who you would like to hire. Interviews are two-way process, with each party evaluating the other. If the candidate feels like they did all the selling, and received very little information in return as to why the company and position is a good fit professionally, the probability of a successful hire diminishes quickly.
5 – It is not just about money, which we hear all the time from the candidate pool; and not just in the current tight labor market. A low ball offer in today’s market will not get the job done, even if the person happens to be unemployed. There will be other options. Take the time to understand the professional goals and job search motivations of each candidate. That allows you to effectively represent the value of the position and your firm in a manner that will resonate effectively with the person being interviewed.
6 – Layout the career path for the person being interviewed over the next 3 – 5 years. Cover the basics such as increased responsibilities based on achieving professional goals, as well as logical promotions based on normal expectations and company tenure. Also encourage employee participation to help the company stay abreast of new technologies or important trends that might influence a firm’s service offering or direction, and other items that might be unique to the job or beneficial to the person’s career.
7 – When appropriate, discuss the company’s commitment to increasing an employee’s skills through enhanced certifications, continuing education, involvement with appropriate industry trade organizations, and any other company sponsored training.
8 – Truly assess where and when high talent will be just as valuable as having all the initial desired skills for a role. We hear time and again about an employee who joined a firm who did not have all the requisite experience or skills desired, yet turned out to be one of the best hires and respected employees based on their work ethic, talent, and commitment to grow in a position. Remember, most professionals in a technical job are “hard wired” to learn and enjoy technical challenges. If someone is being interviewed for the same type job, doing the same work they are doing in their current job, and with little obvious technical growth; about the only carrot you can attract them with may be money. More often than not, that is a poor strategy with a poor outcome over the long term.
9 – First offer – BEST offer. There is nothing wrong with getting a bargain or great value when it comes to hiring staff. And the best offer does not always mean the top salary amount for a specific role. But losing the best candidate by making an average or under market offer just puts your company further behind the growth curve. If you need time to assess whether someone is worth what they are asking for, you may consider options such as:
- Proposing a 90-day review with the opportunity for a salary increase, or
- Tie a salary increase to specific performance benchmarks, or
- Obtaining higher level certifications for a pay increase.
Each of these suggestions shows commitment to paying a higher salary, but also ensures the candidate prove they are capable of supporting the higher salary through higher performance. Be sure performance benchmarks are well thought out and clearly measurable. Exposing a new employee to arbitrary judgement regarding compensation increases could be a recipe for discontent.
These 9 tips have been successfully used by many of VAR Staffing’s national clients. To learn more about our specialized talent acquisition services, call us at 972-996-0966.