One of my favorite parts of life is recruiting. I loved it undergrad when organizations were bringing in new members (for me that was club volleyball and fraternity life). It is even more pleasant in a professional setting.
When we’re looking for the right people, we’ve got a few steps we like to follow:
- Have a clear problem.
- Figure out how they can win early in the job.
- Write a position description.
- See how they do on StrenghtsFinder.com.
- Have them interview with the people they will work with.
Hiring before you have a clear problem doesn’t work for anyone. If you haven’t worked the problem yourself, it is tough to understand the tools a new hire will need to be successful. This goes hand in hand with figuring out an easy early victory your new hire can experience. Providing someone with a task or project they can do well with in those first few months as they are learning an organization puts everyone on the right path.
Position descriptions are a mess, but it helps to understand what the ‘Perfect’ candidate would look like. Ideally your hire could be that person at some point, perhaps 5 – 10 years into the job.
Nobody is good at this job until they’ve been doing it for 7 – 10 years.
When I worked in the investment management business, one of the founders of the firm I was with advocated that it took 7 – 10 years to get good at the job. That isn’t unique to investment management. That position description will have way too many requirements, but it will give you a template for what you hope that person could grow into over the next decade.
Strengthsfinder is a book and online test that is part of a methodology that assesses an individuals skills. It’s like doing Myers Briggs (I’m ENTP), but with some additional context. Having worked with this method since 2000, I’ve got a great .xls sheet that lets me look at everyone whose ever shared their results with me (and yes, that includes my wife). The test doesn’t have ‘right or wrong’ but it provides a great framework for talking about strengths that makes it easier to talk about personnel issues over time.
Interviewing, like the job itself, is a team sport. Recruits should speak to the key people that they’ll be working with. If there are objections, it is better to surface them prior to bringing someone on than afterwards. If several candidates are coming in, getting the different perspectives will clarify who is the best fit and the short and long term needs of the business.
Then, get them on board and see what happens.