It was legendary football coach Vince Lombardi who said: “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.”
That’s true in recruiting, as well as in football.
To get the maximum out of the recruiting process, there are a number of things the hiring manager should do before ever posting on a recruiting website, or running an ad in a newspaper.
The first question to ask is whether the open spot is merely a replacement for a person who left, or whether it is a new position.
In the case of a new position needed for expansion, you may look more at the person than at the specific job skills you need. You want a go-getter. If it’s a new line of business you’re launching, no one may yet have the experience, so you’re looking for someone who has a proven ability to get new ventures off the ground.
You may be looking for a set of character and personality traits rather than specific skills. There are a handful of well-established companies that can help devise tests that tell you something about character traits.
A 10-Step Process
In most cases, companies are looking to replace someone who has either left the company or has been (or is being) promoted or transferred to a different job, and the position needs to be filled.
There is an order and a procedure for how to go about recruiting the best possible candidate for the job.
Here is how to do that in 10 steps:
1) Who Should Be Involved In The Selection?
The usual suspects include someone from the HR Department to sort resumes as they come in and recommend only the most promising candidates to the hiring manager, the manager to whom the new employee will be reporting and at least one other senior employee.
If either manager interviews the candidate one-on-one, there are always signals that he or she misses. It’s best to have another employee present to pick up on such signals.
If the manager is male and the candidate is female, it might make sense to have a senior female employee sit in on the interview to put the candidate more at ease and have someone else there who can answer questions about company culture, etc., from the candidate’s point of view.
For a similar reason, you might want to have a trusted younger employee present to help bridge a generational gap.
Be careful about including more than two people in an interview – a battery of people firing off questions can get intimidating.
2) Outline The Position
What is the job description and does it need to be updated?
Has the job changed since the days that the last employee did it?
Was the last occupant of the job right for the position or was there a mismatch that could have been prevented by writing a sharper job description?
In answer to job postings or ads, you always get a bunch of resumes from “professional applicants,” people who seem to apply to any and all job postings, regardless of the requirements.
So in your posting, try to give enough specifics to attract the people you really want to attract.
3) What Are The Needed Skills?
Some unique skills that are specific to the job may have to be taught after the candidate is hired.
That’s almost inevitable.
But you probably don’t want to have to teach EVERYTHING.
You want to make sure the candidate has some basic skills. What are they, and how can you make sure the candidate in fact possesses those skills? Is a diploma of some sort proof enough? Can you devise a simple on-site test that will immediately give you a satisfactory answer?
4) What Is The Experience Level You Need?
Do you need people with a minimum number of years in the job?
Has practice shown that one or two years is enough or do you require more?
The more experience you ask for, the more expensive the candidate is likely to become.
5) What Is Your Budget For The Position?
Your company may have a budget for the recruiting process itself, meaning how much you can spend on ads or job postings, how much staff time and resources you can occupy, and how long the process should take, all of which may determine how long you have to spend on filling the position.
And there will definitely be a budget for what kind of compensation has been set aside for the open position.
In many cases there will be a range. Of course you will try to get the person with the most relevant experience at the right price.
But it does no good to select an excellent candidate who demands an annual salary of $85,000, only to be told later that you can’t pay more than $45,000.
6) Is An Internal Candidate Available?
Some companies post all job openings internally as a matter of procedure.
Whether your company has such a procedure or not, it’s always a good idea to mentally check within the ranks of employees in other departments, or check with their managers, to see if anyone else inside the company could fill the spot.
You will save a lot of time onboarding people. Those already on the inside know the culture. And they may be fairly easy to replace in the department they’re in.
7) Does She Have A Sister?
Before you take the recruiting process outside, you might ask your present employees if they know of anyone in their family or circle of acquaintances who might want to and could do the job.
If they recommend a relative or a friend, their own reputation is at stake – and if the person really joins, they’ll also have a stake in making it a success, so it might be a win-win all around.
Of course this kind of inside candidate would still have to pass all your tests to make sure he or she can really do the job.
8) Are There Any Diversity Issues?
This is probably more of a question from the HR Department, but in today’s litigious society, the whole hiring process is fraught with legal perils.
Is your department or company – or could it be in the future – under scrutiny for not having enough diversity? In some cases, a special effort may be required to fill the next available position with an eye toward diversifying.
9) How Will You Use Social Media?
You can learn a lot about people from social media these days. It can be both a boon and a curse for the recruiting process, for you may learn some things you wish you never knew.
Are those Facebook photos of long-ago college parties really relevant to current character issues and the candidate’s ability to do the job?
And suppose you found out the candidate supports a particular political cause of which you or your ownership is not terribly fond? How will that impact your hiring decisions?
It’s best to have a policy in advance covering the handling of information gathered from social media. Some large companies don’t check social media sites directly, but have a recruiting or staffing firm do it for them to keep their distance from the process.
In any cases, these decisions should not be made on a case-by-case basis, but should be handled consistently as a matter of policy.
10) Who Will The New Hire Report To?
The person who will be the new hire’s immediate supervisor needs to be part of the recruiting process. You also want to make sure the recruit and his or her manager can live in the same universe together and that they won’t drive each other crazy.
The chemistry is important here. As the saying goes: If you want them to prepare a meal together, they first have to be able to agree on the ingredients.