When I ask a group of leaders if they’ve ever had a tough time hiring the right person, they typically launch into a diatribe of what went wrong. Whether it’s frustration with the process, the crazy things candidates say or do, or simply how hard it is to find “the right fit,” it’s the rare person who doesn’t have a hiring nightmare story to tell.
 
Wouldn’t it be great if all you had to do was ping your recruiting partner, tell them what you’re looking for, and magically, a fantastic slate of “perfect” resumes would suddenly appear on your desk?
 
I’m here to tell you, while it may not be quite that easy, there are a few key actions you can take to make that ideal situation your new reality.
 
Define success before creating a job description: Let’s face it, job descriptions can be boring, and rarely do they tell the whole story behind what the person is actually going to do. Sure, they describe general responsibilities and criteria the person should fill (a bachelor’s degree, 10 years’ experience, etc.). But when have you ever made a career and life changing decision based on what you have? So think like a top tier candidate: what’s compelling about this job? What are some of the challenges inherent to this role? Have a detailed discussion with your recruiting partner about what the person is actually going to do, so candidates can be screened on better criteria than just a list of “requirements.” That means less of your time wasted on interviewing those who aren’t truly qualified.
 
Build an interview team of the right people: Typically, your opinion isn’t the only one that counts when you hire a new team member. So when you choose your interview team, think about who has a stake in this new employee. It may be other business leaders, peers or even direct reports. Be selective – you know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen. But include enough people to get a cross-section of opinions and give the candidate exposure to who is on the team.
 
Share your vision with the interview team: Now that you have the right interview team, share the vision of what you’re looking for in the role. Describe what success looks like and even define some of the competencies you’re seeking. For example, “business savvy,” may mean different things to different people, therefore, each person is evaluating the candidate on different criteria. Establish a consistent vocabulary; one that will help you to a shared definition of success.
 
These are just three quick actions you can take to improve your chances of getting the right candidates in front of you faster and put hiring nightmares behind you.
 
Building a great team is a challenge for leaders at all levels, across all sectors. Do these tips resonate with you? Do you have other advice, or lessons learned (even horror stories!) you’d like to share? Share your thoughts, tips, even questions about how to hire smarter in the “Comments” section below. I hope to see you at WPC!
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