How to Hire the Right Person
“Favoring specialization over intelligence is exactly wrong, especially in high tech. The world is changing so fast across every industry and endeavor that it’s a given the role for which you’re hiring is going to change. Yesterday’s widget will be obsolete tomorrow, and hiring a specialist in such a dynamic environment can backfire. A specialist brings an inherent bias to solving problems that spawns from the very expertise that is his putative advantage, and may be threatened by a new type of solution that requires new expertise. A smart generalist doesn’t have bias, so is free to survey the wide range of solutions and gravitate to the best one.”
― Eric Schmidt, How Google Works
For every company hiring the right person for every position in the office isn’t merely a small business issue; it is the central small business concern. When tackling with this challenge, there is no one method or strategy that will help to address this issue. However, there are certain things that can be done to lead the hiring decisions into a more productive and fruitful direction. A survey conducted by Gartner on Top Technology Trends 1, small sized and middle sized businesses say that it is the most critical challenge they see that their company will face in the coming years. Every small or emerging business will face the need to figure out the procedure that they can follow which yields the most beneficial results for them.
There is something that we hear a lot in human resource departments which is, “The best candidate on paper is the right person for the job.” It is quite understandable why this logic used to work. A resume is a series of qualifications that can be quantified and more essentially, it is easy to compare and comprehend. It also makes it easy to justify the recruitment that is being progressed and the decisions being made by the company. It also diminishes any perceived bias that might arise in the mind of the employees and potential employees.
“Hiring is the most important people function you have, and most of us aren’t as good at it as we think. Refocusing your resources on hiring better will have a higher return than almost any training program you can develop.”
-Laszlo Bock, Co-founder and CEO of Humu and Author of Work Rules
However, there is a different side to the story. Research shows that only 11 percent of the new employees fail and the reasons behind the failures cannot be justifiable by the reasons that can be seen on a resume or are a reflection of the skills that these employees represent. The businesses that are centered entirely on the resume are missing out some very essential factors that add to the profile of a great employee and they end up risking capital by making a bad hire.
If you are focused to find the right person for the job, you need to shift your focus away from the paper and look for new means to evaluate essential intangibles. These include; whether the candidate will be a culture fit, how the candidate communicates, what the candidate stands for etc. These factors can play a larger more grandiose role in whether the candidate will be able to get integrated into the system that the company functions on.
“When hiring, we look at a variety of factors, including education, experience, and skills. The biggest factor by far, though, is a candidate’s ability to fit in with our existing culture. Some might say this is why we seem to only hire the same type of people, but who knows?”
― Sarah Cooper
This makes one ponder; why is it important to hire the right people? The answer is simple. Recruiting the right candidate will enhance the work culture of the company and help the company get its money returns a thousand times over in the form of optimistic forward momentum, increased employee morale, strategic planning and being able to overcome obstacles efficiently. This also helps to make sure that you make the most of your employee’s energy and time that is invested in building a relationship with the new employee.
Usually it is noticed that a job interview is a tad bit more than just a simple social call. There are some predictable aspects to an interview; a potential candidate with his resume, a formal looking meeting room and a few standardized questions such as: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Or, what do you believe is your biggest failure? What would you then say is your biggest strength? Is this really enough? Here at S.T.A.R.S Pvt Ltd we disagree. We believe that one needs to add in some small talk and build a general ease in the conversation. A candidate might open up more if they have something in common with the interviewee. It might also allow the interviewee to discover that there is some mutual connection that they share. This can in turn help to check out the reference provided by the candidate. However, not everything should be taken on face value and this sense of connection should not be the reason that a candidate gets hired.
“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do.”
-Marc Benioff, Founder, Chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce
For a second, imagine that you hired an employee because you felt a connection and a month into the job, this new hire misses a deadline for an important task or starts to waste office time or begins to complain about the work load or the people or even the distance he/she has to travel to get to work. Can you imagine that feeling of your heart sinking with the realization that you might have made a mistake? It is exactly this very feeling that has driven us to jot down a few of the essentials that are required when looking for a perfect fit for the company:
DEFINE THE JOB BEFORE HIRING:
To hire the right employee, it is important to firstly conduct a job analysis. A job analysis enables the company to collect data about the job requirements; the duties, responsibilities, necessary skills, outcome expectations and work environment required for a particular job. This collected information is quintessential for the development of the job description that the company posts for the potential candidates to view. This job description then plays a vital role in the recruitment tactics that allow the company to source the right fit for the job. It diminishes any confusion that may have risen otherwise if the requirements were not described in such detail.
“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”
DEVISE A RECRUITMENT STRATEGY:
Once the job description is finalized, a company needs to set up a recruitment planning meeting which involves the key head hunters and recruiters of the company. The hiring manager is a critical part of this planning. At this meeting, the company’s hiring strategy is devised and the execution phase of the process begins. If the department has gone through multiple hiring cycles, then this discussion can be conducted over via email to save valuable time. When hiring a potential employee, the interview is a critical factor to consider. The interview serves as a key tool that the hiring team can utilize in the hiring process.
As the interview is a huge deciding factor, the interview questions play a critical role in the screening process to ensure that the company can hire candidates that will be well suited for the organization. Interview questions that assist the company to screen out the desirable candidates from the pool of applicants are fundamental and need to be well constructed.
BACKGROUND CHECKS AND REFERENCES:
S.T.A.R.S Pvt Ltd believes that effective background checks prior to hiring a potential candidate are an important step in the staircase of recruitment. It is necessary to verify that all the credentials, skill sets, and experience letters provided by the candidate. These background checks must entail work references from previous companies that the candidate has worked with, educational credential and criminal records or character certificate.
USING AN EMPLOYEE HIRING CHECKLIST:
An essentials checklist allows S.T.A.R.S Pvt Ltd to create a systematic procedure for hiring employees and making sure that no important factor is overlooked. This also allow to keep a track of the hiring process and helps to communicate the progress to the concerned department and the hiring manager. It is easy to skip certain requirements when the department has their hands full with the recruitment process, in which case, a check list functions as a list of reminders for the recruiting managers to refer to.
“Hire people who are smarter than you are—whose talents surpass yours—and give them opportunities for growth. It’s the smart thing to do and it is a sign of high personal humility.”
-Bruna Martinuzzi, Author
CREDENTIAL AND APPLICATION REVIEW:
The Recruitment department of S.T.A.R.S Pvt Ltd does a commendable job at conducting reviews and screening resumes, cover letters, and job application letters. The checklist created by the department allows the recruiters to make sure that the most desirable characteristics are never over looked. All applicants are screened thoroughly against the list and their characteristics are evaluated. This adds a huge benefit for the recruitment process as it allows the company to only utilize their valued time with a limited number of candidates that resonate more with the requirements of the company.
PRESECREENING THE CANDIDATES:
The essential reason to prescreen potential candidates when trying to hire an employee is to save time that is spent in the interviewing process and also the efforts that are put in by the selection committee. Although, a candidate may look like a good fit on paper, a prescreening interview will allow the company to analyze whether their qualifications are truly a fit for the job. For example, imagine a company is looking to hire a marketing expert and candidate X seems like the perfect fir according to his credentials, however, a prescreening interview may unveil that their expertise are focused on advertisement and billboard marketing, while your company is looking for a digital expert. This sort of prescreening helps to save time by helping the recruiters to narrow down their list of candidates with each step. Another benefit of this prescreening is that it allows the company to determine whether the salary expectations of the employee are congruent with the job or not. S.T.A.R.S Pvt Ltd conducts their prescreening in a telephonic interview, which allows the skilled hiring team to determine whether to carry forward with the hiring process or not. There are certain things that the company keeps in their mind while hiring. Here are three principles that help us hire the right candidate:
Creativity. Almost every candidate will be mentally prepared for a common interview question. Which is why the company must find new and innovative ways to fully understand how a person thinks.
Challenge. Put the candidate in situations where they are more likely to show their true colors.
Allow your employees to help. You are not the only person who is going to interact with the candidate if they get hired. Allow the employees who are well integrated in the system to share their opinion about a potential candidate and make sure that any unacceptable behavior of the candidate is formally written down.
It is also quite fruitful to get the candidate away from the desk and watch their behavior when they have to go through what a day in the work life would look like. When hiring new employees, there are two major qualities to check for before making a decision:
Is this candidate genuinely interested in the work of the organization?
Does the candidate treat people as equals, regardless of their title and position in the company?
To understand these two, it is important that there is a predesigned test to assess the skill of the candidate. It is also essential that the candidate spends some time in the office so that one can create a better understanding of the candidate as a person rather than a worker. Show the candidate around and explain how the company functions. Notice whether they ask questions about people who work there, the departments that are in functioning, and other signs of curiosity which indicate a genuine interest in the company and its workings.
“I can get a really good sense of whether I want to be working with somebody when I walk them through the place, I’ll stop and introduce them to a half-dozen people, and see if it’s just a handshake or whether there’s some curiosity and interest.”
-Ms. Patty Stonesifer, former top Microsoft executive
THROW SOME CURVEBALLS:
Asking unusual questions is a great method to get candidates to open up about themselves. This provides a better insight into what sort of person they are. Some of the candidates will be prepared for the unusual interview questions as well. These candidates will try to come up with clever ideas to turn negatives into positives as they might believe that any show of weakness or vulnerability will be seen as a point against them. However, such efforts usually backfire as the hiring teams are well experienced in dealing with various people and they are quick to realize the situation. This also makes the candidate seem less trustworthy and honest. To go beyond the rehearsed answers of potential candidates, many companies design their own questions for the interview and assist to better understand the candidate as a complete individual.
CONDUCT A CULTURAL TEST:
S.T.A.R.S Pvt Ltd strongly believes in cultural integration. The culture of the company dictates every single act of the company from communication styles within the office to the team dynamics, to the clothes people wear and the goals they rally around. Simply put it is how things are done around the company. To ensure that the candidate is not only skilled but will also be a good mesh in the company culture, it is important not to turn a blind eye towards a factor that might be very significant for the company’s future success.
Of course, it is possible to parse out some of these details in an interview, however, that is not the best way. The most appropriate route is to conduct a separate cultural test. It is an essential part of the S.T.A.R.S Pvt Ltd hiring process to conduct a cultural assessment. It plays a huge role in whether the candidate will be processed further or not. It explains to the hiring team whether the goals and aims of the individual are in sync with those that the company aims at, allowing the recruiters to make more informed decisions when hiring the right person.
“I’ve learned over the years that, when you have really good people, you don’t have to baby them. By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things.”
-Steve Jobs, American business magnate, Co-founder of Apple
If a company does not have a customized culture test, they could benefit from some of the existing personality tests and leverage them to their advantage. Myers-Briggs assessment might be one of the best examples of such a test which is very reliable to assess. Using a recruitment platform is a very optimal way to conduct these assessments. This allow to get the work completely more efficiently. This is because instead of being provided with a pool of answers, using a systematic tool will automate the process and help to analyze the candidate in a more organized manner and allow you to compare these results with the answers of the top performers of your company.
MAKE HIRING A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT:
It is important to recognize that any defect in the hiring process will become amplified when this responsibility is not shared and it falls on the shoulders of one single person. Even the most qualified hiring manager or recruiter with all the candidate data available to them would not be able to overcome their personal bias. The only way to avoid this is to have a diverse team who collectively review the potential candidates and then reach a unanimous decision. Involving more people, even when you are a small sized company makes it easier to get a neutral decision in the office. A study was conducted of more than 1,100 different companies. The study found that high performing companies were five folds more likely to incentivize and prioritize collaboration in their work place when looking for new employees.
This is a clear indication of the fact that each employee should be interviewed by at least 2 different people in the organization. It is also essential that both of these people are in such a position that they feel comfortable disagreeing with each other i.e. one of these should not be the senior of the other.
Facilitating all of these collaborations can be a cumbersome task in the beginning, however, it will yield fruitful results in the long term by ensuring that your company finds the appropriate candidates once, who will stay with you long term instead of looking for a new employee after every few months and going through the tiresome cycle again. Jim Collins explained this in the best possible way in his book, ‘Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t’: “The old adage ‘People are your most important asses’ turns out to be wrong. People are not your most important asset. The right people are.”
S.T.A.R.S Pvt Ltd believes strongly in the fact that the right people in a company are vital for any company’s success and prosperity, and bringing these above mentioned tips into practice can enable a company to find the right people to help move the company’s vision forward. However, as mentioned earlier, it is essential to realize that there is no magic pill that can solve your recruitment problems. There is a possibility that bad hires will still make it through once in a blue moon.