Do you struggle to hire the right person? Here’s how to hire the right person, for the right job – every time.
Hiring is tough. About 1/3 of the time we get hiring right – we hire the right person. Another 1/3 of the time the hire is just “so-so.” We live with the hire. However, we know we could have hired better.
Hiring the right person – we get it wrong about 33% of the time
The other 1/3 of the time – it’s miserable. Where else would we tolerate such poor performance in our businesses? Hiring the wrong person isn’t only a pain, it’s costly. Studies estimate a bad hiring decision can equal around 30% of the someone’s first-year earnings.
That doesn’t even account for the opportunity cost a Rock Star could make in the position – or the other positions the hiring manager or CEO could be searching for.
Hiring: Difficult for leaders
Hiring people is one of the most difficult things leaders do, but if you do it right, it makes everything immensely easier. However, most of the time we get in a rush because we’re desperate for help and try to take the easy or quick way. Time and again, I’ve seen needless suffering come from this strategy.
I’d also encourage you to pause for a moment to make sure the most important next step for you is hiring at all. I’ve seen many organizations desperate to hire because they didn’t have the right systems and processes in place or there was no accountability. Make sure that when you are hiring, you are solving the root cause of the issue – not just trying to throw more bodies at the problem.
How to hire the right person: 3 key steps hiring the right person.
I know the temptation to water down the hiring process is very strong, but don’t! Follow through, because there’s nothing more important than getting the right people hired into your business. If you skip these steps, you will never be a superstar at hiring right.
1. Go Beyond The Traditional Job Description to Hire Right
Sometimes the wrong person is the result of a lack of alignment with the purpose of the role. If you never really agree on the right idea for the hire, you’ll never have the right person. Huddle up with the key stakeholders and discuss not only the job description but all of the following as well in the hiring process:
- What are the must-haves versus the nice-to-haves for this position?
- What are the non-negotiable personal characteristics and behaviors required for this role?
- If this person is wildly successful, what specific measurable and non-measurable results will we see one year from now?
- What would the right person in this role accomplish in the first 90 days?
- How do you expect this person to achieve these results? For example, will the person work with an existing team, command and control, or collaborate across the business?
Don’t settle for roles and responsibilities. Strive for outcomes and how the person will go about his/her role.
2. Get Crystal Clear Role Clarity to Hire The Right Person.
Learn how to write a job description. Source job candidates directly within your industry or related industries.
Ask, when writing the job description, if someone in your industry is a MUST or a WANT.
Offer a bounty for your employees to find the right person. You’ll automatically get someone that your own team recommends right away. I’ve seen companies offer thousands of dollars if an employee can refer a new hire. While that sounds like a lot, a recruiter is much more expensive.
Try asking your vendors for the right person. Reach out to professional organizations to see if they know anyone. Once you’ve gotten crystal-clear about the job description and have role clarity, the perfect candidate may just pop into your mind.
Reach out to your business network and place appropriate advertising. And recruit beyond your own network. It’s easy to hire people who are known, but you or your colleagues may not already know the best person for the job. Be persistent but patient… it is worth it!
Read the full guide on how to give role clarity by going beyond the typical job description.
3. Try dating before marrying to hire right.
Once you have narrowed the selection of candidates to two or three, ask each of them to prepare a plan of what they would do in the first 90 days to present to key stakeholders. Or have each candidate do a bit of role-playing. For example, if the candidate is going to be in a sales position, have your team play the client and ask the candidate to give a full sales pitch for your product. Or, if the candidate will be in a technical role, give him an existing software problem and have him present a solution. Get creative and have some fun, but do not skip this important step to hiring.
- Don’t be overly prescriptive about what you’re looking for in this hiring test. Give your candidates some flexibility to demonstrate their own resourcefulness, creativity, and ability to think independently. This will speak volumes about how they will perform if you decide to hire them. And don’t give them more than two or three days to prepare a presentation. On the job, sometimes all we have is a weekend or overnight to prepare for a meeting with a major customer, our team or the board of directors.
- Give your candidates the contact information for key people who can answer any questions they have during the process. After the presentation, find out if they talked to any of these people. Could their presentation have been better with more information? Did they use their resources?
- When you invite key stakeholders to the candidate’s presentation, make sure they have copies of the job description, including the must-haves versus the nice-to-haves. Have an honest conversation with stakeholders right after the presentation to make a decision based on facts and instincts.
- Make sure each candidate knows he or she will have 45 minutes to present, no more. Encourage them to leave time for questions during the 45 minutes. After the presentation, dismiss the candidate and have your team spend 15 minutes discussing the candidate and making a decision. If you allow people to start asking too many questions of the candidate, you risk your team trying to lead a candidate to give the answers you’re looking for. Remember: You want your team to look forward to these presentations, and if they drag on or if the process becomes painful, the value will break down. Keep them to 45 minutes and 15 minutes for Q&A!
- Test for passion. In the interview, it will be really clear if the person is passionate about the role, or just going through the motions. You’ll see if they are excited about the job. You’ll get insight into how they will approach the role. If they got the solution right or not is not very important. However, their passion is very important if you want to hire right.
One last tip about hiring the right person: Remove time from the hiring equation.
Too often in trying to hire the right person, we’re reacting to the seemingly insurmountable pile of work that must get done right now. It’s difficult to look beyond this short-term crisis and take the time to make the right decision, not just the short-term stop-gap decision. Remember, you hired the wrong person before, and it turned out to be far more trouble than any temporary work crunch. Don’t make the same mistake twice.
This sounds daunting, but, like everything else, good planning makes everything else a piece of cake.
Have you used any of these strategies in hiring the right person? Or have you skipped some of these steps and hired the wrong person? What else have you seen work well? Once you have the right person – do you know how to write a performance review.