Successful Hiring Process - How to Win a Great Team and Not Just to Hire Employees?

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This article will take you through steps of the hiring process for gathering the ideal team. The first thing you need to keep in mind is that hiring is no walk in the park. It is often done in a rush when a new project comes up, or a new office opens but it is a very stressful and challenging process. To get the best employees to work for you, start by being a leader that everyone would want to work for. Hiring extraordinary people enables a leader to fix strategic direction and entrust incremental decisions to capable and smart team leaders.

HIRING PROCESS – STEPS TO WIN A GREAT TEAM

Step 1: Spend a little while to think about your organization’s values, goals and vision

Before you get started with the hiring process, you need to devote some time to identifying and defining what your company’s vision, goals, and values are. Communicate the same to your hiring team. Following that, it is up to your hiring team to find candidates that match that vision and those goals and values. The more the number of facets of a person’s personality that are in harmony with your company and your team, the better for you.

Step 2: Identify positions

After step 1, you need to discuss with your co-founders the decision-making strategy to be followed within the startup. An example would be: you being the marketing whiz and your co-founder being the technical expert. This itself will help you figure out the foundation and structure of your startup. After that’s done, you have to decide on the necessary positions (project management, programming etc.) to create and fill so that your existing workforce is complete.

Keep in mind that you have to prioritize the positions and get people with talents that your existing workforce doesn’t already have. If you don’t, the situation would be like hiring five account management executives without even having one project manager.

A second point to keep in mind is that if you’re a startup, it may not be necessary to employ full-time employees at the very beginning. Hiring part-time or on a contract basis in the beginning and then shifting to full-time is an ideal strategy to take advantage of a complete skill set for your business. One suggestion to find part-timers is to go for an industry event or else, look for industry-leading blogs which could assist you in finding talented advisers (whether technical expert, industry celebrity, domain expert or personal coach).

The benefits of keeping part-timers include them:

  • being better focused,
  • having a go-getter attitude because their employment with you is a second job, and
  • being less of a hassle to let go.

Some sources you can consider for prospective contract employees are eLance.com, oDesk.com, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Facebook and local newspapers.

Step 3: Create a detailed job description

Make sure your job description is comprehensive, specific and lucid. Some general instructions for the same are given below:

  • Be clear and detailed about the day to day labor expected
  • Provide timelines and anticipated daily time requirements for each work segment
  • Incorporate video or audio clips or screenshots of what the hires are expected to do
  • Furnish channels where the candidate can put forward questions and feedback pertaining to his duties and responsibilities as a new hire

Secondly, before providing the job description, the manager heading the hiring project should think about:

  • General information: This includes basic position and information about pay.
  • Reason behind the position: This has to do with the unit’s role, the department’s role and/or the organizational role. It summarizes the position’s necessary functions and how they are essential with respect to administering, supporting, or handling the activities of the organizational unit, unit or department.
  • Crucial functions: This involves delineation of the responsibilities and duties of a position.
  • Minimum requirements: These are the criteria or qualifications that were determined beforehand and publicized with respect to potential candidates. They should be pertinent and relate to the responsibilities and duties of the job. Soft skills may be included here.
  • Preferred qualifications: This comprises the experience and skill preferred along with the fundamental qualifications and may be utilized to reduce the pool of applicants. The expected knowledge, skills, competencies and abilities can delineate a more competent stage of performing the essential functions.

Step 4: Come up with a hiring/recruitment plan

The first thing you can do is consider whether anyone already working in your company would be suitable for a promotion to the vacant higher post. As far as possible, before posting them anywhere else, post the vacancies internally. This would have a positive impact on your current employees who would feel like their company recognizes and appreciates their capabilities, talents and accomplishments.

  • For posting period, you can provide number of days, “continuous recruitment” option or an “open until filled” option.
  • Analyze and update your placement goals and come up with a recruitment strategy that would help you achieve those goals.
  • Choose from various recruitment sources including advertisement on your website, internet job boards, job fairs, social media, print advertisement, resume banks and networking.

By proactively interacting with passive candidates, you can “pipeline” them for future opportunities. Whenever you have to fill a position, taking advantage of pipelined talent will help you concentrate on the fit and quality of the candidate as key factors in your evaluation.

Step 5: Advertising post and implementing recruitment plan

Make a sketch of the ad, with information about the position and chief qualifications required. There may be applicants who would pay no heed to these requirements but still respond. So, incorporating this information would assist you in restricting the number of unsuitable applicants.

Publishing the job posting/advertisement in the media would give you the greatest likelihood of reaching your target potential candidates. No doubt, the internet is the main venue for publishing job openings. However, in the haste to post openings in this medium, don’t forget to take advantage of local newspapers and industry applications.

Step 6: Check out the applicants and shortlist

Candidates will start applying after they see the job posting. If a candidate sends in an application after the application period, he may not be viewable/given serious consideration by the search committee.

It is acceptable to have a minimum of two committee members assess all applicants for specific recruitments where there are widespread applicant pools, to cut down the pool in the best possible manner. Alternatively, the HR department can carry out this role. Each committee member can furnish comments pertaining to each applicant’s credentials as they pertain to the minimum requirements the post calls for.

It may be a good idea to carry out a phone screening to gather information such as salary requirements, availability, confirm minimum requirements and to find out whether the person can carry out shift duty (or satisfies any other special requirement). This is so that you need only shortlist those candidates who emerge successfully at this screening.

Step 7: The Hiring Process – Interview

The interview is the most significant step in the process of choosing a candidate. It provides a chance for the employer and potential employee to confirm information provided by both, as well as get to know each other better.

Proper preparation is essential for the success of the interview as this would provide an occasion to assess the competencies and skills of the candidate. Select a question or two from each minimally required competency and skill to come up with your interview questions. Evaluate the applicant’s resume or application and note down any issues you would have to follow-up on.

Before starting the interview, the committee should settle on things such as:

  • the interview’s format,
  • questions that should be posed to all applicants,
  • weighting for each of the questions and order in which they will be asked,
  • who will ask which question,
  • the optimum date to join for the post, and
  • other details that you may have to share with the candidate that were not mentioned in the position description.

Questions for the interview should be of four types:

  1. behavioral,
  2. creative thinking,
  3. problem-solving, and
  4. fact-finding.

Speaking of interviews, three types are discussed here:

  1. Panel interviews: The panel interview is an interview situation characterized by 2 or more interviewers interviewing the candidate. Typically, different kinds of people who carry out various kinds of business functions in the organization (such as managers, HR personnel, and supervisors) would interview the candidate.
  2. Virtual interviews:  The type of interviews is an alternative to an in-person interview and helps to save time and money.
  3. Critical incident interviews: The critical incident interview is a kind of interview that asks questions pertaining to particular past events as a foundation for recognizing a person’s capabilities. It involves cascading questions. So, you must begin by asking about an actual happening/situation and then delving further into it so as to get a picture of the person’s judgment, thought process and the way he copes with a situation such as that. For example: you can ask the candidate whether there was any time when he disagreed with his superior on a specific area of a project, and then proceed to ask what he did about it, how he made that decision, did he think he made the right decision, and the outcome.

When you interview, watch for non-verbal cues that can tell you something about the candidate’s personality. Also, as you interview, your opinions about including or excluding certain requirements may change. If necessary, make the change. It is possible that some of the candidates you thought unfit before may now be ideal as per your change in requirements. You can also conduct skill tests appropriate to the specific position.

Look for someone that:

  • complements the team (in experience and/or qualifications) and is not a duplicate of any member;
  • doesn’t mind a low initial pay;
  • has a recommendation to support him (you know him, or someone else knows him);
  • loves your product;
  • is a match for your company’s values and goals;
  • has a great personality (includes having a positive attitude, being a people person and a go-getter and motivated) and not just skills.

Step 8: Do background and reference checks

If you don’t already know the person, make sure to carry out background and reference checks. These are essential to gain information pertaining to a candidate’s work performance and behavior from previous employers and that would have a bearing on your decision, irrespective of their knowledge, abilities and skills. Past performance is undeniably a wonderful indicator of future success. So, it would be wise if you get references from previous and current supervisors who can converse with the candidate with respect to his job performance. A recruitment mistake is expensive in terms of time, money and energy. Reference checks should be carried out after short listing and before making an offer.

Step 9: Make the choice

Give preference to the strongest candidates, discarding the weakest and even medium ones as far as possible. The strongest candidate is, of course, the one who best matches the updated job and character requirements for the vacancy (ies).

You can consider having a trial period for new hires. So, supposing the trailing period is 30 days, and the hire doesn’t meet your expectations, you can send him off within the two week period.

Step 10: Making the offer

Initiation

The offer should be reviewed and approved by the person in charge (organizational HR coordinator or other personnel) before offering the position verbally.

Negotiation

Whenever you can, let the first offer be the best offer as this shows proper internal equity and market practices and makes the applicant have faith in you. In the course of making the offer, discuss salary and the whole compensation package such as retirement benefits and paid time off. Present a picture of enthusiasm and excitement at his joining the team as you make the offer.

Countering

Even if your offer is ideal, the applicant may decline, and the reasons may be beyond your control. If however, the reason for declining pertains to salary, consider making a new offer that is within suitable guidelines for the department and role. With respect to paying, remember that if you have the ideal candidate in your hands, it is worth offering a pay that’s better than what any of your competitors currently or would offer. A good pay is not only necessary to attract great talent but to retain it as well.

Step 11: Confirmation

Following acceptance of the offer, the designee or Committee Chair makes the same known to the Departmental HR Coordinator and asks him to send the offer letter. The Coordinator prepares and sends it and makes certain whether the offer has been accepted in writing or not. Individuals not selected are contacted by letter or phone. Contacting by way of phone should be documented.

Step 12: A Note on the Post-Hire Period

After hiring, you can need to do the onboarding. Also, carry out some post-hire assessment. This would include incorporating strategies for training, promotion, and development of the hire’s career. Your team would appreciate these incentives. Start by giving the hire small projects and as he makes progress, move him to bigger projects.

A combination of great hires makes a great team that in turn paves the way for enduring business success. So don’t compromise at any step; you’ll be grateful you didn’t.

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