Recruitment is a human function. Gut feel still plays a major role in most hiring decisions, despite the many attempts to put science around it. Skills based performance testing, psychological assessments and the like certainly have a valid role to play in the recruitment process, but at the end of the day recruitment is about people. You won’t always get it right and making a bad hiring decision can be an expensive mistake, however there is much you can do to attract the right people in the first place, then run a recruitment process that gives you a good feel for your potential future employee (skills and behavioural traits), whilst mitigating risks along the way (identifying warning signs).
What you need
I’m of the belief that before you think about how you’ll recruit for a position, it is really important to have a clear picture of what you want. What business opportunity are you trying take advantage of, or what challenge are you aiming to overcome? Examples could be sales growth, compliance or process improvement, strengthening the leadership team etc.
From here, consider the technical skills that are required to fulfil the position and whether you already have them in your team or if they are particularly unique to your organisation. Can the skills be learned on the job and do you have the capacity to train or do you need to bring in expertise from another business? These considerations will allow you to start building a position description.
Secondly consider the behavioural competencies that will, both, align with you organisational values and also match the job.
Then consider how you will measure performance and what will successful performance look like. This will give you the KPI’s and KRA’s as a basis for performance management.
Now you know what you need, ensure you have the budget to make a hire (if you haven’t done this already).
How to find the right person
How to find the right person is a separate blog topic in itself, so I won’t spend too much time on it here. However, there are numerous options available to you ranging from employee referrals schemes, job board advertising, direct headhunting, professional recruitment agencies, competitions etc.
The method you choose will largely be driven by what you need and where you’re most likely to find what you’re looking for.
Making your decision – the things that really matter
Ok, so let’s skip through the screening and interviewing process. Now it’s decision time!
Will it make the boat go faster?
Olympic gold medallist Ben Hunt-Davis writes about the idea of focusing on what really matters in his book,Will It Make the Boat Go Faster? The idea behind the book being that every decision you make should support your overall business objective. This is also a great mindset for making hiring decisions.
In his book Winning, Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch wrote of “the four E’s” to consider when evaluating how potential employees might complement the company:
Positive Energy – “People with positive energy just love life”.
The Ability to Energise Others – a combination of knowledge and skills of persuasion.
Edge – “… effective people know when to stop assessing and make a tough call, even without total information”.
Execute – the ability to get the job done.
Whatever your approach, at some point you need to make a decision and I have no doubt gut feel is still the most important determining factor in hiring decision making.
Go with your gut
Steve Jobs from Apple Inc. summed this up simply when he said “you have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down…”
Hiring a person means bringing another human being into your business. They will bring with them their lifetime of experiences, their values, opinions, ideas, skills, attitudes, moods and a range of behaviours. No-one is perfect so you will get the full suite of great and not so attractive attributes that reside in us all. Trust your gut to tell you if it feels right.
Ben Walsh – General Manager; Recruitment