For small to medium-size businesses, hiring a new employee represents a significant commitment of time and money. The right employee, whether for an entry level position or an executive management role, can increase productivity, improve company culture and ultimately grow the bottom line.
Employees also play a key role in succession planning and can be viable buyers of the company through a management buyout (MBO). A company’s valuation and ability to access financing will also improve as lenders and investors view the depth and breadth of a strong management team positively.
Consider these factors when going through the hiring process to improve your chances of hiring the right candidate:
#1. Clearly define what you need. Outlining an accurate and concise role description based on the needs of the business will help attract more relevant candidates. While being generic does provide a wider pool of talent, it also means more time meeting with prospective employees and potentially increases reputational risk. The hiring process represents a significant commitment of time by candidates as well and providing a positive experience, whether or not they are hired, can help attract high-caliber talent for future positions.
#2. Stick to the plan. You might meet candidates that would be a great fit for the organization, but not necessarily for the position you’re hiring. Focus on who you think will be the best candidate for what you need now. Keep in touch with potential hires and continue to review their fit against the strategic objectives of the organization. It can also be a great way for both sides to get to know each other better and make for a more efficient hiring process when positions become available.
#3. Recognize confirmation bias. Managers tend to view candidates with personalities similar to theirs favorably. While hiring yourself may result in increased compatibility and allow you to implement your ideas and suggestions more quickly, you may be foregoing benefits to the organization at large. Hiring employees with diverse character traits and dissimilar personalities can allow companies to reduce group think and lead to better decision-making – positively impact company brand, and attract a broader range of customers.
#4. Take your time. While there can be pressure to fill a vacancy immediately to alleviate current demand, in the long term it’s beneficial to ensure you find and hire the best candidate for the position. The right employee can be transformative to an organization, while settling may have you back reviewing another round of applications within a short period of time. Get to know your short list of candidates and don’t be afraid to go back to market.
#5. Get a second opinion. If unsure on who to select consider having your candidates meet additional company employees. While they may not be directly involved in the hiring process, or have detailed knowledge of the technical requirements for the position, they can provide valuable input on how a candidate may fit within the existing corporate culture. Certain employees may also have gained experience hiring talent with previous organizations – make efforts to leverage this knowledge.
Your odds of hiring the best available candidate for a position can be increased by utilizing a structured process that is collaborative, leverages previous experience and focuses on driving forward key strategic objectives.