Regardless of the size of your company or the industry you’re in, the single most valuable asset you have are the people who work for you. Knowing that your company is in good hands while you’re out and about is invaluable, and having a solid, reliable team is the only way to ensure this. So, it comes as no surprise that hiring employees becomes one of the most important tasks you’re going to have to deal with. You can’t allow yourself to make a mistake here, because hiring the wrong person can become a costly issue in the long run, so proper preparation is of the essence. To make sure your hiring process goes smoothly and you find just the right candidate for the position you’re looking to fill, here are the key steps you should take into account.
A solid job description and putting it out there
Finding the right candidate starts with an effort on your side. Before you can start looking through resumes and interviewing people, you need to come up with an accurate and detailed job description or revise the one you already have. You should conduct a job analysis and define all the skills a future employee needs to possess and all the responsibilities they are going to have. This not only makes the search easier and more effective, but it also helps you avoid making a mistake about the salary etc.
The second step is, of course, getting the word out about the job. When creating your recruiting strategy, it’s important to consider which advertising platforms fit the kind of person you are looking for. Consider whether online recruiting methods are what you need.
Study the resumes
While it is true that a candidate’s resume in itself is not enough to tell whether they are the right person for the job or not, properly writing a professional resume as well as an interesting, unique cover letter is still a key part of the job-seeking process. Often just taking a look at a candidate’s cover letter is enough to tell how interested they actually are in the job. It is always recommended to do a background check on the candidates as well, just to be sure all the information they stated is accurate. Depending on your circumstances, you might also want to check whether the person has a criminal history.
The pitfalls of references
Many people consider references above all else, but it is important to pay attention to several things in this regard. You have probably asked for references from your candidates, but you shouldn’t stop there. It is worth going the extra mile and actually contacting some of the candidate’s previous employers to get the information you need first-hand. This also gives you the opportunity to ask questions about how the candidate handled specific situations or challenges at their previous workplace, which is invaluable knowledge to have. Listening to referrals from people working for you might also prove to be useful, as they know best whether the person they are referring would fit the corporate culture of your company.
However, don’t forget to always be cautious and listen to multiple perspectives, because you can never know whether an opinion is affected by personal factors – this goes both ways, so don’t screen candidates immediately based on a single referral either.
Conduct multiple interviews and more
The first interview you should conduct is a “prescreening” interview which will allow you to quickly screen those candidates who looked like a good fit on paper but are clearly not. After this step can come the actual interviewing, which is arguably the most important part of the whole recruitment process. You have to come up with the right questions you’re going to ask your candidates, but this is not all. All the standard questions will give you standard information, but to truly test the candidate, consider going beyond asking questions. Give them a practical task on the spot and see how they react and perform. Have lunch with them away from the office. Ask them about various topics, not just those related to the job. These things will give you more valuable information than a standard interview.
After you’ve narrowed down your choice to just a couple of candidates, don’t rush your decision. Consider hiring them for trial periods if possible, which will show you how fit they are for the job and your particular work culture. It’s worth putting in the extra time and effort, since a good cultural fit is indispensable unless you’re prepared for your office morale and productivity to suffer.
Hiring the perfect candidate is no easy feat and the process can become very long and tedious, which is all the better reason to stay alert throughout all the steps to avoid pitfalls. Be thorough with your job description and when reviewing your candidates, and accept that it is going to take more than a 20-minute interview to find the right fit. However, in the end, all the effort will be worth it when you welcome your new employee.