10 Steps for Hiring the Best Every Time
https://marketingforbes.com/ No amount of art or magic will help you consistently hire top people. A bit of science, however, might just do the trick. By this I mean a series of steps that if everyone in your company follows will allow you to hire more top people on a consistent and repeatable basis.
Over the past 30+ years I’ve been involved in thousands of searches, worked with hundreds of different hiring managers, trained 3,000 to 4,000 recruiters, and worked closely with dozens of major companies. Following are the common threads among the best techniques, processes, and tools I’ve seen and used. Collectively, they add up to a business process for hiring top people. While Performance-based Hiring provides a simplified high-level summary of these, it’s the details and execution that will ultimately determine success.
As you review these ten steps, evaluate your company’s hiring processes to see where you stand. Although the steps by themselves aren’t overly complex, getting everyone to do them all for every job represents the difference between consistent success and maintaining the status quo.
Underlying this hiring process is the idea that hiring a top person requires a company to consistently reinforce the message that it’s offering career opportunities, not just jobs. At every step, including every ad, interview, and conversation, this must be clearly communicated. You’ll clearly see this theme in the steps below, as well as the idea that consumer marketing, the latest Web 2.0 advertising techniques, and consultative selling are essential tools to get this message out.
10 Steps for Hiring the Best People Every Time
- Offer WOW! jobs. Traditional job descriptions listing skills, qualifications, and experience are not marketing tools, nor are they predictors of job success. These lists must be diminished in importance. In their place job descriptions must emphasize what the person will do, learn, and become. As part of this, clearly describe the impact the person can make. From a marketing standpoint eliminate internal, non-descriptive titles. “Not-for-Profit CEO – Back to the Future” was a title we used to find the head of a major charity. In the ad we described the five-year impact the person would have on the inner city. For bank tellers to fill a mid-day shift we added the tagline “Are You a Desperate Housewife?”
- Get everyone on the hiring team to agree to real job needs. Before you can offer WOW! jobs you need to get the hiring manager to clearly describe what the person will be doing and what needs to be accomplished on the job. By forcing the hiring manager to convert skills and qualifications into the real performance objectives of the job, you increase both ownership and understanding. Start by asking the hiring manager how he/she will respond to a candidate who asks “What am I going to be doing on this job and how will my performance by measured?” Top people ask this question every time, so everyone on the hiring team, including the recruiter, must understand the performance objectives of the real job. When you don’t know real job needs, the interviewing process is less accurate, everyone substitutes their own assessment criteria, and top candidates get confused and turned off.
- Make it about careers, not compensation. The ad copy must clearly emphasize the challenges in the job, the impact the person can make on the company, and some of the growth opportunities. For example, “Help us launch a new Blue Tooth headset line” is far more compelling than, “Must have five years of RF product marketing experience.” When recruiters first contact candidates – whether they’re active or passive – the emphasis must clearly be on influencing the candidate to evaluate your opportunities as career moves, not just as another job for more money or one closer to home. This will help ease the negotiating process and minimize the threat of counter-offers and competitive offers.
- Implement an “early bird” sourcing strategy. At a basic level it’s essential to write compelling job ads that are easily found. This requires complete knowledge of search engine marketing techniques to position ads high in any type of search, whether it’s Google, an aggregator, or on job boards. From a more advanced perspective, it’s important to recognize that top performers don’t enter the job-hunting market ready to hunt and peck for a job that matches their skills and experience. Instead, they tip-toe into the market, first contacting former associates and doing some top-down industry and company research. If this is fruitless they’ll then expand their search efforts through aggressive networking and Googling for jobs. Sourcing programs need to target these early entrants by positioning ads in the right places and proactively expanding employee referral programs to ensure that the best people contact your employees first.
- Allow candidates to “just look” rather than buy. Most company hiring processes and career websites are designed based on the premise that candidates are ready to apply for a specific job. This is a fundamentally flawed concept. The best people, especially the early entrants, are just looking and comparing options. To accommodate these people, recruiters must not push the process too fast, and managers must be willing to talk or meet with candidates on an exploratory basis. Career websites need to allow candidates to chat with a recruiter in real time and look at groups of jobs, rather than specific requisitions. The focus of all of this must be based on the idea that while early entrants start by just looking, they are willing to move forward in a logical sequence as long as they obtain the proper information at each step. Ensuring they get the proper information is key to managing this pipeline of top performers.
- Use consultative selling techniques to develop a candidate/recruiter partnership. Changing jobs is a big deal, and in today’s high-pressure work environment, time is a precious commodity. Recruiters need to instantly engage, not take “No” for an answer, develop relationships, uncover the candidate’s pressing career issues, obtain referrals, and offer career solutions. Too many recruiters ask the wrong questions, lack understanding of real job needs, come across as superficial, and dial for dollars to make their numbers. In a highly mobile and extensively competitive market, recruiters will take on an increasingly important role. Just like in sales, this requires extensive training, a complete understanding of the market, and a true partnership with their hiring leaders. Jazz digit