Hiring the perfect person for your team isn’t easy. It is both an art and a science as I explained to one of my recent clients. What’s the secret? How do we layer the practical needs with the requirements of building a strong and engaged team?
Hiring the Perfect Person
Right from the start, I knew the candidate sitting across from me was very bright. She had an excellent background and I knew that she’d be able to understand the work quickly. There was an edge that I couldn’t quite identify that was making me worry. In hindsight, I realize she gave me clues that her personality was passive aggressive but I ignored the warning signs and hired her. Soon, I was dealing with a very smart person who was also killing my team spirit. It was an energy drain for everyone.
I had a different situation with a candidate who didn’t fit our usual hiring process. He was clearly smart and engaging but lacked some of the experience we hoped for with a hire. I recall explaining to my leader why I wanted to take the chance. It was one of my best decisions as he was an excellent hire and has gone on to become a senior leader in our company.
Finding that perfect candidate isn’t easy. It is both an art and a science as I explained to one of my recent clients.
What’s the secret?
How do we layer the practical needs with the requirements of building a strong and engaged team?
Don’t settle and just fill the position.
My team handles escalated complaints and it is challenging work. I don’t want to put somebody into this role unless I believe it is a match because of the challenges it causes for everyone including the new hire, the team and me.
If the identified challenges are too big, keep going. However, also recognize that sometimes, it is worth the investment like the example above.
Visualize the perfect candidate and write down the skills that person would have.
There are lots of job descriptions you can work from, but start with the basics. What skills would the ideal person have? Make a list.
Ensure interview questions include questions that ask for examples and stories that help you get to know the candidate.
Build questions from your wish list and mix them up to include both specific questions that outline experience and stories. Watch for the tone and energy level as experiences are shared.
Include questions that ask the person to tell you how they’d handle specific situations.
This gives you the opportunity to see their natural response to a situation and assess if it would meet your needs.
Have expectations for each question that remind you what you need to know from the candidate and ask follow up questions if you’re not getting what you need.
This takes away the guess work and ensures that you have the relevant information to reach a decision.
“Tell me more” – “Can you elaborate?”
If the candidate doesn’t answer the question the first time, give them a prompt. If they still don’t answer the question, then you’re receiving valuable information even if it isn’t what you’re looking for.
Consider whether testing would help measure specific requirements for a job.
There are specific skills that may require some testing before an offer is made such as writing, math or computer skills.
Ask yourself if you can picture giving feedback to this person and are they a match for your management style.
This is a great time to see if you and your team are a match for this person’s expectations so include questions to help you assess this information. Better to find out now and then objectively assess whether it is a fit.
Use a scorecard to evaluate each candidate.
This scorecard is great when two people are interviewing because you can complete separately and compare. It is always interesting to see what someone else observed.
Even if you’re interviewing on your own, take this step to help you critically assess the results of the interview. It brings you back to your original wish list and challenges you to stay true to your goals and be realistic about challenges.
Check references and ask specific questions around areas where you feel the person would need to develop. Always ask if the person would hire the individual again if they had the opportunity.
This is your chance to ask important questions. At least one person should be a previous leader so find out the relationship to the candidate and then get specific. Ask about the area that you’ve identified as their greatest challenge. Ask if they’d hire the person again.
Need some support to put these ideas into action, I’m here to help!
Contact me and let me know what you need.