Is there a key to hiring the right candidate? I recently spoke with our resident hiring experts. He pointed out a clear insight that many companies fail to actually do… even though it seems like a very obvious way to hire effectively. I’m talking about hiring for what you actually need. Going beyond the interview or beyond the job description to select candidates based on the qualities, motivations, and particular skill-sets that will equate to success and performance.
We say that business is about the bottom line…so what is the bottom line for hiring? The equation is actually pretty simple, though it’s incredibly hard to get right. You need the right combination of motivation, aptitude, attitude, and experience to align with the skill requirements and cultural elements of a particular job.
In today’s knowledge economy, there’s rarely a company that can simply hire the same kind of position over and over again. Think about a position like account management. Our company has numerous account managers; they each bring something unique to the position. Each time we hired someone, we sought a distinct set of characteristics that would complement those of the current business development team. We needed account managers who were driven by collaboration to be partners with our clients. We also needed other account managers who were focused on problem-solving and finding new avenues of business.
Same position- very different requirements and needs. So what would have happened if we’d simply hired for an account manager without creating a specific job analysis? Chances are only certain candidates would love the work and excel in the role. Others would either fall short of expectations set before them, or they would leave, being unsatisfied or unfulfilled with the work.
If you’re a hiring manager, how can you think differently about selection and hiring the right candidate? Start here:
- What are the requirements unique to the specific role for which you are hiring? Go beyond the skillset you need and think about the team the candidate is joining. Think about the culture of the organization. Think about the day-to-day needs and what will be most important functions they’ll need to perform in order to being successful in that role.
- What will motivate a person in this job? There are all sorts of positive qualities that you can look for in a candidate. However, you need to think about what should motivate someone in this job. What qualities are most critical to the job? Might the candidate be looking for certain features and benefits that you are not including (or aren’t naturally associated) with the position?
- How can you most effectively understand what a candidate will bring to the table? Think about interview questions, situation simulations, and other critical and experiential ways you can test out whether a person has the motivation, skill and experience to do what you need. You can use the same qualities and foci in your interviews, resume searches and reference checking as you do in a pre-hire assessment. If you need someone with attention to detail…then ask questions that require a candidate to explain how they have a strong detail orientation.
The key to hiring the right candidate– meaning hiring smarter– starts with knowing what you want as an employer. If you begin there and assess your candidates based on those specific qualities the potential for great, productive, and lasting employees will be even higher.