Making the right hiring decision is hard work. There are so many things to consider and steps to take. It can feel totally overwhelming, especially for first-time managers or small business owners doing their own hiring.
But having a super helpful process makes all the difference. Equipped with practical tips, you can totally nail bringing exciting new talent onto your team.
In this post, we will dive deep into 9 tried and true methods for making fabulous hiring choices. Read on to become a hiring pro!
Step 1: Define the Role Clearly
First things first—take time to clearly write out the role you need to fill. Outline all the essential duties like a master list. Consider must-have hard skills that are totally non-negotiable.
Next, list any specialized expertise or experience that would make someone stand out big time. Get mega specific here—detail even small things that would be dealbreakers if missing.
Speaking from experience, this step is crazy important for setting up success down the road. It helps you advertise the job opening accurately to find truly qualified candidates. It assists big time with developing intentional questions for interviews and assessments.
Pro tip: Pull in a few others at your company to review the draft role description. Get their special insider input since they may think of extra qualifications or day-to-day needs. Aligned understanding in the beginning prevents head-scratching comments like “I thought we wanted someone who could also do XYZ specialized analysis” halfway through the hiring process. No fun!
Step 2: Hiring Table Ideas
Next up, think through who else beyond you truly cares about this role. Who would this person be working closely alongside? Whose team would they support or collaborate with? Identify those folks early and initiate conversations.
You would need a hiring group.
Getting their input sets things up for success since they often have super valuable perspectives. Think through hosting a meeting with the key players to form an informal hiring group or committee. The finance manager might care deeply about precision and attention to detail.
The sales director might hope for someone with an entrepreneurial spirit who takes initiative. Capture all those unique wants and needs now so you can refer back later. It ensures everyone feels heard and gets on the same page about the kind of talent that would thrive.
Step 3: Research Comp Ranges Before Posting
Before officially posting the job anywhere, take a beat to thoroughly research expected salary ranges, both generally and specifically at your company. Reach out to peers at other similar-sized companies to ask what compensation they offer for comparable roles. Study a few reputable industry reports showcasing wider market rate data points.
If pay seems way off base or lower than the market rate, that could be a red flag. Stingy salaries often mean missing out on the best talent that has multiple options to consider.
On the other hand, shelling out sans research can blow your budget quickly. Do your homework to determine parameters for making enviable yet responsible offers.
Step 4: Get Creative in Sourcing the Best Possible Talent
Now you’re ready to start sourcing and spreading the word about this fabulous job opening! First step—lean on your networks and ask around about referrals or recommendations. Reach out to colleagues, friends, or contacts who might know qualified candidates open to something new. Make some phone calls or send a few emails to find out interest and fit.
Don’t stop there through! Get your job post in front of as many eyeballs as possible by deploying a multi-channeled sourcing approach. Research the best niche job boards frequented by professionals in your industry and post there.
Spruce up your careers page and company LinkedIn to highlight the opening. If you have some budget, paying to boost high-potential posts can increase the quality of applicants.
Consider contracting with niche external recruiters. They are known for successfully placing specialized roles like yours. And don’t forget good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. This can be done by asking happy employees to spread the word to friends who may be curious about opportunities.
Step 5: Thoughtfully Screen All Submissions
Review each application carefully. Reach out by phone or video chat for a short screening call with applicants that seem promising but you have lingering questions about.
Come prepared with a list of 5-10 crucial questions that give insight into must-have abilities, experiences, and workplace values. Listen closely for signs of alignment…or misalignment you want to probe further.
Document these screening conversations immediately after in your tracking sheet. Note standout strengths mentioned as well as any potential red or yellow flags you want to keep exploring in an interview.
Step 6: Develop an Interview Process that Intentionally Assesses Cultural Fit and Skills
Start by outlining key themes, talking points, or assessments you want to cover. Having a basic discussion guide ensures you probe areas that matter most to your team like key specialized abilities, working style, collaboration skills, or problem-solving approach.
Come up with a few situational questions that tease out how applicants might respond when faced with realistic challenges on the job. Work toward quantifying past successes, responsibilities, budgets, or teams managed to gauge true experience.
And don’t just rely on your own perceptions alone! Invite a handful of colleagues the candidate would work closely with to join in assessing culture match. Compare notes after about performance indicators that felt strong vs. concerning.
Did amazing feats totally wow or did you notice disconnects in work style or problem-solving approach compared to your company’s values? Did answers feel well-considered or did you have lingering doubts?
Step 7: Check References Seriously to Confirm Past Performance and Fit
You’ve identified one or two standout prospects and are leaning strongly toward an offer. Not so fast! Now is the moment to check references thoroughly. Set aside at least 30 minutes for calls with 1-2 former managers if possible.
Come prepared with a list of questions that dig into specifics about past performance and projected fit with your organization’s needs. What undiscovered strengths or growth areas might you uncover related to the role? Does the candidate’s explanation for leaving positions match the reference’s recollection?
What can you read between the lines about work style or personality when asking, “What kind of employee is Mary?” Listen closely for faint praise or neutral comments that lack enthusiasm that may indicate concerns not stated outright.
Step 8: Make a Warm, Clear Offer That Makes Saying Yes Easy
You’ve made your choice! Time for the fun part of presenting an enthusiastic offer. Walk the candidate through the key aspects of the role that seem like an especially strong fit based on their background and the places they lit up talking about during the interview process.
Discuss development opportunities they seem excited to grow into and how those build longer-term career potential. Clearly outline the next steps if they say yes and get the ball rolling fast on any needed paperwork so you can both celebrate!
Step 9: Set the Stage for Success with Thoughtful Onboarding
Set your new hires up for success from the start by preparing for a thoughtful onboarding experience. Give colleagues a heads-up about the great new addition to get them excited.
Make sure their desk or workstation is fully equipped and ready to go. Order any needed equipment like laptops and supplies. Create a robust yet achievable week one agenda introducing them to key team members and early priorities. Over-communicate in the beginning until the new hire gets fully oriented—it shows you’re invested in them ramping up well!
Also, remember onboarding is an evolving process, not a one-and-done moment. Continually seek feedback about what’s going well and what could be smoothing the transition.
Check-in regularly about progress on key efforts or relationships that are crucial for excelling in the role long-term. Refine aspects that need polish so your investment in this new team member pays dividends for your whole crew.
There you have it! Nine practical tips for you to make great hiring decisions that build incredible teams.
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