• Alex Wood

How to hire the best talent

If your business is successful and growing then you’ll most likely need to grow your team. Hiring the right staff might be one of the most important things you do to ensure the ongoing success of your business. So how do you make sure that you hire the very best person for the job?

It’s no secret that making a bad hiring decision can be super costly. As a people leader or business owner, the wrong staff member can mean lost customers, lost money and a loss of your precious time, resources and headspace.

To avoid the pain that comes with hiring the wrong person, here are some basic things to get right when you recruit.

Attract the best

First thing’s first - in order to hire someone amazing you need to have great candidates wanting to work for you.

Attract the best fit

To attract a candidate that will fit your culture, you need to work out what your unique employment proposition is. What makes your company awesome to work for? Do you do work that truly makes a difference to people’s lives? Do you have cool flexible and remote working options? Will your staff be working on the cutting edge of a new technology or service?

Get this nailed down and make sure it’s front and centre of your job advert. There’s nothing better than having staff that truly believe in your company’s purpose so allow people to connect with it!

Attract the best talent

So you’ve got a whole heap of people that want to work for you because your company is the only company that trains dogs for action movies, but do these candidates actually have the top notch skills you’re looking for?

There are a couple of important ways to make sure that the appropriately talented candidates get in touch.

First, be specific about the skills and experience you need in your job advert. That’ll help encourage only candidates with the matching credentials to apply.

Secondly, think about where people with the skills you’re looking for might hang out. Are they likely to be members of a Facebook group, a professional organisation or already in your Linkedin network? Make sure you also get your advert out to these places along with the standard job sites.

Evaluate candidates effectively

It’s all very well to have a chill company culture and not want to go through a stuffy, formal interview process, but hiring a staff member isn’t about just finding someone you really like.

Here are some things that your candidate evaluation process should 100% include.

Have set interview questions

This might sound like a drag, but here’s why it’s important. The only way you can fairly compare candidates at the interview stage is if you ask them all the same questions. This will make it so much easier to identify who has the best experience.

This doesn’t mean that the interview can’t flow organically and of course follow-up questions will differ depending on their answers, but overall, all candidates should be asked about the same things.

Having set interview questions also provides an opportunity to really nail down the non-negotiable experience and skills you need to find out about. It means you won’t miss the opportunity to hear about everything you need to.

Insist on specific examples

It’s all very well to listen to someone be passionate about a topic or project, but do they ACTUALLY have experience in this area? Insist on them telling you about a time they’ve actually performed this kind of work.

Don’t accept hypothetical answers “If I was in this situation, I would…” because most of the time, people kind of know what a good answer sounds like.

The best predictor of future success is past experience and behaviour so find out all about their actual experience.

Reference check!

This is non-negotiable! But the value of a reference check comes from speaking to quality referees, asking quality questions and treating it as an ongoing part of the selection process. Just because the candidate has made it to a reference check, doesn’t mean it’s a done deal!

The best referees are people that are currently or recently working with the candidate and can provide objective information about their performance (ie. managers or supervisors). Don’t get caught talking to their best work bud or a manager from 5 years ago. It might seem awkward, but if the candidate has been at their current workplace for 5 years, you need to insist on speaking to their manager there. If they are serious about accepting your job, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Ask open ended questions. If a referee says that the candidate’s performance is ‘great’ ask for details. Ask referees to describe the candidates strengths and development areas, to describe how the candidate gets along with teammates.

Also ask some point-blank questions like whether the candidate has ever had any interpersonal conflicts within the office and whether they would hire the candidate again.

If you have any lingering concerns from the interview process, the reference check is the perfect time to follow these up.

Following the advice above will go a long way to helping you hire the very best person for the job.

If you need a hand creating a job advert, interview or reference check questions or any other recruitment help, get in touch.


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