I have been in business for 19 years, and I will tell you hiring is by far the hardest yet most important aspect of my job as president of my company.
I have tried more approaches to hiring than I ever care to admit. In these past 19 years, I have found a few helpful areas to focus on that I would like to share:
- Hiring is a process.
- Establish a clear picture of your organization's culture (those things that are important to you as the owner; things that you expect from your employees, coworkers, and fellow managers, etc.)
- Define duties, responsibilities and requirements for the position. Determine what types of degrees and experience are necessary.
- Define the personal characteristic necessary for the position. Often personality is the most difficult thing to evaluate in the hiring process, yet it is the most important. Determining skills for a certain position in advance — whether the skills are creative, analytical, decisiveness or communicative — can help in the end.
- Have a job description. A good one should include:
- Title, department, company name, report to
- Duties, responsibilities
- Position requirements
- Personal characteristics
- Compensation, benefits, hours, location, attire
- Search for qualified candidates.
- Look in-house first. Known qualities are always better than unknown ones.
- If you're looking for someone new or you do not have the talent in-house, consider using Monster.com and Craigslist.org.
- If you're filling an entry-level position, consider trade schools and colleges. Co-op programs are great ways to find young talent. You get to see if they have the aptitude, personality and characteristics you defined earlier. This source is relatively low-risk, and if you're filling a position for the first time it is a great way to iron out the inevitable flaws in your job description or hiring process.
- Personality, intelligence, and skill tests are tools that can be helpful in evaluating a prospective employee.
- Interview well. My biggest word of advice is to listen. The prospect will let you know if they fit your culture. You can teach skills; you cannot teach personality. Some other pointers:
- The initial part of the interview should be about the company and about you, the interviewer. This will make the prospective employee feel more at ease and open.
- Keep it structured but flexible. All candidates should answer some basic questions, but be flexible if the interview takes a diversion. Bring it back if it gets off track.
- Again, listening will help you determine their ability to get work done, to work with other employees and to work with your clients.
- Check references; do background checks. If they are in contact with families and children, complete your state's "Child Abuse History Clearance." It is an added level of security your clients will appreciate.
- Re-evaluate your process. Once they are on board, you need to "retain, reward and grow the best." Take time to evaluate the process after the hire, talk with everyone involved and perform some process improvement.