Finding the Right People

Business is shifting. From technology to telecommuting, not much remains in the business world that hasn’t had to adapt to the changing times, and that includes talent. While most companies used to hire based on skills and education alone, it is no longer the only factor that a business owner needs to look at when adding a new member to its team.

The best applicant for the job on paper may not be the best candidate for the position in person. Today’s businesses need to look at not who is best, but who is right.

Of course, you want the best, but hard skills can be taught, learned, and improved. It’s the soft skills that will make or break your company’s culture. Every company is different. One business may want a quiet, reserved office boasting constant professionalism, while another may have weekly happy hours, a kegerator in the breakroom, and a ping pong net that fits the table in the conference room. If you hire the most qualified person with the wrong personality or workplace preferences, you may end up wasting time and money when you or that employee is unhappy, and turnover becomes inevitable.

Lori Winters, Founder and CEO of Thread, and author of Engaged Employees Drive Business Success, has come up with a few critical steps to attract the right people when growing your firm’s family.

Develop a structured hiring process

To hire the right people, you need a strong foundation for your hiring process. Lori suggests the leadership of the company sit down together and determine the top five character traits and skills essential for each job.

She explains,“Knowing that very few people can embody all of these desired traits/skills, the team should rank the top five traits in order of importance for that role.”

Once your team has established what these five things are, Lori says coming up with interview questions should be easy, and when in doubt, there’s always Google!

Half of your interview needs to be around hiring for culture

This point is a big one. You need to ensure that your company’s mission, vision, and values are genuinely put front and center during the hiring process. You will need to make sure that the candidate sees what your company is striving for, its goals and its purpose.

Lori warns, however, “do not confuse hiring to core values with lack of diversity. It is imperative to have a diverse team, but this diverse group of people needs to have similar core values to what the company values most.”

Including this cultural necessity in your interview is part of the aforementioned structured hiring process. Lori has determined, “The only way to ensure the company culture can last at scale is to systematize the core value piece of the hiring process. Half of the interview time should be to determine if the candidate aligns with these core values.”

Develop a great candidate experience

The interview process is a two-way street, and just as you don’t want it to be stressful and drawn-out, neither will the candidate. You want to showcase how incredible it would be to work at your firm, allow them to meet with other people in your office, and make an argument for why this should be their top choice. It’s more than a job; it’s a way of life.

Lori recommends treating recruiting in the same manner as sales or marketing. Be warned though, just as overselling a client will backfire, so too will overselling a prospective employee if you cannot back up what you are selling.  “We all understand how important it is that the prospective client has a great experience with our companies, but it is equally important for a prospective employee to have a great experience.  Some of the reasons for this are tactical (Glassdoor) but a great candidate experience can help small companies compete for great people because many companies do not do this well.”

Use an assessment to benchmark your best people against

While many businesses use an assessment of some kind when recruiting new hires, how many of them know what that assessment is saying? Beyond the surface, does the assessment’s depth help you understand if a candidate is a good fit for your company? To know who will work well in your organization,

Lori believes everyone needs to take an assessment.

There are usually no perfect answers when it comes to assessments but where the magic happens is when you use the same assessment on all of your people.  Over time you will generate a great benchmark for comparison. You will see trends and combinations that fit your successful employees and likewise, combinations and trends that fit those that did not do as well.  These assessments are not perfect by any means so using gut instinct and references are essential, but they can be invaluable if used correctly.

When you implement these steps, you will be much more confident regarding your hires and much less fearful of costly turnovers. Whether your office resembles a library or a backyard BBQ, it will benefit from hiring people who are right for your company, not only concerning skill but regarding cultural compatibility. Your employees will be more productive and engaged when they understand and agree with the values and vision of their new workplace.