People often ask me “what is the best way to hire in a tight market where top talent is in high demand?” Obviously there is no silver bullet, but by having a plan one can significantly increase their odds. Here are some considerations that one might consider:
• Define the position and understand the role - A hiring manager should understand why they need a new resource in the first place. Is the position a replacement to an already defined role or a new position that needs to be defined? Using a five year old description from HR will likely not meet your current needs. Also, no need for all the fluff in the job description; boil it down to the basics; role definition and skills to complete the tasks.
• Know the red lines - Understand what your must have skills and traits are. By doing this you will get a grasp on what is most important and what can be trained. For me, the four biggest traits I look for in a new hire is character, work ethic, passion, and accountability. Unfortunately these are among the hardest skills to screen for; but find someone who has all four...you're hired!
• Understand market conditions - It is imperative to have a keen understanding of current market conditions. Yes, the overall unemployment rate is still a much too high 7.7%, however the rate amongst those with college degrees is 3.8%, IT professionals are around 2% and within certain niche skills unemployment is at 0%. Are you able to pay what the market dictates? If not, you will need to refine the skill set to consider someone with less skills or less years of experience. This analysis should occur before you start the hiring process.
• Line up the ducks - This is an important step that is often put off until the very end; introducing all sorts of risk into the hiring process. Headcount, budget, and approvals should be in place before starting the hiring process. Skip this step and lose talent.
• Use resource partners - In this market, working with a staffing and consulting company like Kforce (pardon the plug) will significantly shorten the hiring process by providing unparalleled access to the industry's best
• Create a process - This is another area where most people have a serious weakness. It is important to invest the appropriate amount of time in order to significantly shorten the overall process. One will get out what they put into it; which should be an organized interview team, prepared screening questions, pre-scheduled interview times and a decision making process.
• Sell the position - In today's market the person you want most likely already has a job. What is going to make them leave their current opportunity? It is important to have a well defined value proposition that everybody on the interview team understands and can articulate. Not being able to sell the company or opportunity will result in an inability to recruit the highest caliber talent.
• Make a decision - Don't be too timid to make a decision. Managers are made to make decisions. The goal of each interview should be a "go, no-go" decision. Delay will not make your decision easier and will only amplify the challenges of the search. After all of the due diligence one should have the confidence to pull the trigger.
• Create a post offer plan - A lot can happen in the two or three weeks between an offer and a start; make sure to have a plan. I recommend bringing the resource in for paperwork as soon as possible. Provide them with reading or training material in advance. Meet the new hire for coffee and host a lunch with key team members. Have scheduled calls every other day to discuss planning and answer any questions the new hire might have. There is nothing worse than getting to this point, screwing up and having to start over.
Hiring is a very important decision for both the manager and employee; decisions made during this time frame should not be taken lightly but neither should indecision be a barrier. By having a well defined and easy to follow plan, one will be confident in their decision and increase the odds of a successful hire.