Looking for that Special One: How to Hire the Right Person, Every Time
“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.” – John Foster Dulles
If you are looking to grow your organization, finding the perfect candidates for available positions can be a long process. Hiring the wrong person can be costly to the company’s health, culture, and pocket book. Getting it right the first time should be the goal of the recruiting team, and there should be very few “Let’s just see how it goes,” hires. Making the right hire, in my opinion, should be one of the most important priorities your organization has. Making the right hire shapes the culture, drives your success, and solidifies the future.
Chris Fields, in his article, Every Hiring Manger has the Same Problem, states, “To avoid making a bad hire and going back to negative square one (where you started minus the cost of a bad hire), you must pay attention to the details of hiring; success is in the details of everything in your process: the input of your colleagues, the resume reviewing, the cover letter reading, the background checking, the interviewing, the assessment tests, and your gut.”
The four tips below can help in the process:
Define What is Most Important
It’s common to want the “super-human” of candidates. They are highly organized, detailed, outgoing, hard-working, they have perfect experience and qualifications, are passionate, creative, follow directions to a tee, rescues kittens from burning buildings, etc. In reality, not everyone is going to have every quality you could ever dream of. Perfection doesn’t exist, and looking for it either drives you to disappointment or to hire someone who pretends to be something they are not. Lack of “perfection” is what drives professional development and growth. If your candidate doesn’t believe he has room for growth, then he will probably believe your organization doesn’t have room for growth either.
The key is to clearly identify what your role requires. If you are hiring someone to manage the company’s finances, it’s likely you are looking for someone who is detail efficient, organized, and passionate about the “numbers.” The first two because it means they will get the job done right, the last quality because it means they will be happy doing that job. (Which in turn means, hopefully, you get to keep them forever). You may not think this person has the best sense of humor, or can lead the charge of the party planning committee, but ask yourself, do those qualities mean anything to this role? If they don’t, then stop expecting to find that in a candidate.
Look for the Red Flags
They are always there. If a candidate tells you they are highly organized, but then shows up late to your interview, with no resume, pens, notes, anything – that’s a red flag. If a candidate tells you that they are perfect for the sales position, but then come off so dominating and intimidating you want to crawl out of the room yourself – that is a red flag. A candidate needs to treat each interview like it will be the only interview they will ever have. That commitment and passion says it all. If they cannot remember how they even came to find the job, what the position details are, or why they applied in the first place, that is a red flag. Even the smallest details are there if you look for them. The key is to be perceptive without having ridiculous expectations. It is not about perfection, but it is about the perfect necessities for the role.
Align Your Priorities
This goes along with the first two tips. Finding a candidate whose priorities align with the organization’s priorities is key. Hiring someone who understands the vision, culture, and core values will fight to protect those values. If they don’t align, the employee can end up causing angst among the ranks because they “just don’t get it.” Finding out what motivates a candidate, and having that align with what motivates the team can only strengthen the organization.
Lastly, Trust Your Gut!
Your gut instinct should never be underrated.
The Culture Counts blog is a discussion of law firm culture and legal innovation, including topics such as effective leadership, employee engagement, workplace culture, ideal work environment, company core values, and workplace productivity.
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