Get personal about performance while hiring

The role of recruitment and taking on staff is without doubt one of the most important parts of business and yet something that is fraught with opportunities to get it all wrong. What I have come to realise is that it is often the obvious and seemingly small things that can trip you up. That one thing you rushed over or chose to ignore is the thing that spoils the party.

Having worked as a manager within an organisation, acting as an advisor to a company or recruiting within my own business there are a couple of things that keep being identified as key.

1.     Know who you are really looking for.

2.     Performance based hiring should be the standard.

So how do I suggest you know who you are looking for? Well this starts by knowing who and what you already have. By you I am referring to the hiring manager, the person that the new recruit will be working alongside or reporting into. Too often we are inclined to appoint people similar to ourselves, with a similar skillset and strengths. You have to ask yourself, does the role you are filling really need your clone or are their gaps in your makeup that could be filled by someone else? We call this “getting REAL”. You can find what getting REAL is all about here

Don’t be lazy and just use an old job specification that has been the same for years. Make two lists with the first being what gaps you feel you have and could be complimented by a new hire. Now list all the characteristics associated with the role that you know are absolute priorities. The reason it is important to prioritise is that far too often I work with hiring managers who simply create a wish list of completely contradictory and often impossible to match criteria. For example it is highly unlikely that you will find someone who can plan longer term as well as cover short term details whilst being an attentive listener as well as a confident sales promoter whilst being business minded as well as showing compassion and care in every decision. Now I am not saying that this type of person doesn’t exist, I am simply saying that your odds of finding them are next to nothing. So prioritise!

You can then use interview techniques or as I would advise, a form of personality assessment during the recruitment process to check for suitable matches to your prioritised character traits you are looking for.

Now for the really practical part. Don’t ever take on someone without having them demonstrate their ability to do key parts of the role. By this I am talking about performance based hiring. For advice from an expert check out Lou Adler or his company

I see clients often make this mistake and I won’t lie, I have been at fault before in my own business. Don’t just accept that because a person has done something previously they do it to the standard and level of expectations you have. If you are taking on people who will be on the telephone for most of their day, get them in the office and making calls in your environment. If you are getting someone to carry out complex coding in your IT department, get them to work within your team on a short project and demonstrate their coding. If you are going to need someone to write content for marketing purposes, don’t just accept previous work, get them to work on something of yours relevant and both current. I could go on but hopefully you get the picture.

There are plenty of other parts to a fully robust and effective recruitment process. The rule of thumb is, don’t leave out any of the parts as it is invariably the one that you skip which comes back to bite you. Happy recruiting! 

By Grant Henderson, MD i3 profiling Ltd  

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