How I Hire: Finding ‘The One’ vs. ‘The One Who Got Away’
This post originally appeared on LinkedIn as part of its How I Hire Series.
Hiring is often the most critical – and stressful – thing we as leaders need to do. It’s like a work version of “The Voice”: Just like the coaches on the show turn their chairs for different performers, aligning on the candidate across a hiring team can be a challenge. There are five key steps to landing and ensuring the success of a new employee for your organization. As the hiring manager, you need to be actively invested in each of these to find the next superstar:
- Know what you want. You can’t make an effective hiring decision without clarity on the role, its responsibilities and how you will measure success. A year from now, what will the impact be from hiring for this position? Many roles are abandoned during a search process when hiring managers can’t find what they are looking for. While the market is competitive and it can be difficult to find that “perfect hire,” more times than not it is because the hiring managers didn’t know what they wanted to begin with. Invest the time to really determine the keys to success for the search.
- Look within. Too often, the default is to open a position and set your sights outside the company. We call this the buy vs. the build. As the leader, you should be considering how you might source someone internally instead. Internal candidates already have demonstrated one of the most critical success factors – they know how to work in your company. Actively invest in internal recruitment, ask team members and colleagues for insights on effective people who could be successful in the role, and evaluate the potential development of existing team members for the role.
- Prepare the team. Once you have the position outlined and know you need an external hire, now you have to field a hiring team that can help select the best candidate. As a start, ensure this team is diverse – gender, experiences, tenure and perspectives to provide different vantage points on a candidate. They must understand the role and what their contribution needs to be in the interview process. One person may be great at probing on experience; one have a good instinct for testing team fit; one for describing the team dynamics.
- Buy and sell. When you recruit, you are both “buying” and “selling.” This is a big investment, so you need to know what you’re “buying” relative to a candidate’s capabilities. But every interaction also reflects on your personal and company brand. Regardless of whether candidates wind up being selected, they should feel like it was a great experience to meet you and your team. And when you have your candidate selected, you need to make sure that they are sold on why your position is a great opportunity (without being oversold). Handling this piece right pays dividends for your success rate and your future talent pipeline.
- Invest for success. When a candidate signs an acceptance letter, it’s tempting to sigh with relief and think the hard work is over. But hiring is only the first step in a long journey of building a successful employee. If a great candidate is not integrated effectively, provided with an outline of what is expected, and supported with feedback early, all of the work in finding “the one” will result in “the one that got away.” As a manager, you need to build a plan beyond finding the candidate and be focused on the individual’s success.
If you play the game right, your own work version of “The Voice” will mean you have a breakout star on your team and in the company.