So, you’re hiring someone tomorrow and you’re scrambling to do it well.
First of all, we strongly suggest you not rush into hiring, due to the increased likelihood of making a mistake which results in lower performance, cultural misfit, and the extra expense of firing one employee and having to hire and train another. Rushed hiring is one of our seven most common hiring mistakes, and it’s best avoided.
That’s because you must lay the foundation for a successful hiring process, which includes:
Defining your corporate culture and values
Establishing and developing a compelling employer brand
Involving team members in the process of defining the role
Creating a unique job description that accurately reflects both the role and your company
Advertising for your position in enough places that it attracts a sufficient candidate pool
Vetting candidates through phone screening, assessments, face to face and team interviews
Done those? Congratulations, you’re ahead of the game. Otherwise, if you are committed to hiring someone tomorrow despite being unprepared, here are some last-ditch tips. These assume that if you are hiring tomorrow, your job description and the candidate search are already water under the bridge. Do the best with what you have now by using these pointers.
Last Ditch Tips to Make Better Hiring Decisions in a Pinch
Seek advice from other people in similar roles (within and outside of your organization), as well as the people who will report to this position and the person s/he will report to. Get a solid understanding of what is needed to succeed in this role.
Focus on the results you need to get from the person in this role. Be clear about the value this role has for your business and the impact of having someone who does or does not perform in it.
Create a list of solid interview questions (read more about how to interview well and the horrible interview questions you should steer clear of). Use the same set of interview questions for each candidate. Your goal should be to determine whether they can do the tasks required to succeed in the role and whether they will fit in at your company. (Granted, if you haven’t worked the steps of defining and articulating your company culture, it will be difficult to determine whether the candidate is a fit). If you can have a second or third party sit in on the interview to get their perspective on the candidate, all the better.
Put together a standard scorecard by which to grade each candidate on factors that you have identified as important to successfully filling your role. Complete the scorecard immediately after each interview while it’s still fresh in your head. If you have a second or third party helping you conduct the interview, have them complete their own scorecards, independently of yours.
Consider using an assessment. A well-designed assessment can yield important insights into your candidate’s abilities and fit for your role.
Don’t forget that in 2016, the interview process is a two-way street. That means your goal shouldn’t be limited to determining whether a candidate can “make the cut.” You also must sell the candidate on the position and your company. At every point, remember that what the candidate sees and experiences will reflect on their opinion of the company, and their desire to take the job. Make them comfortable and treat them with respect.
To offset the high risk of a rushed hiring process, it is especially important to hire on a trial basis, whether that is for a project or for a small period. A try-before-you-buy approach will give you and your new hire a greater degree of confidence in your mutual fit and the likelihood of a successful long-term relationship.
Hiring Traps to Watch Out For:
Most importantly: beware your gut. Though we often hear the exact opposite, to trust our instincts and that “first impressions are everything,” when it comes to predicting future success in a role, research has proven otherwise. That goes two ways. You may think someone is going to do well in a role, or you may think someone is going to fail in the role based on your first impression.
It’s important to recognize that these impressions are unreliable and prone to bias. The basis for your impression may be irrelevant to whether a candidate is best suited to fulfill the job requirements. Counteract your “gut instincts” by objectively evaluating candidates against your pre-defined criteria of what it takes to succeed in the role. Then, take another look at how the candidate stacks up. Gain further protection from the subjective nature of the hiring process by involving multiple parties.
Don’t hire before you check references and verify the resume, which is a marketing document (in the best case scenario, brimming with exaggerations).
Reconsidering that rush hire yet? It’s not too late to call the whole thing off. If you aren’t 100% sure about your choice then by all means, don’t make the hire. Don’t settle for your second best choice, don’t compromise on someone who simply happens to be the best choice from your candidate pool, and don’t choose someone because you like them and are hopeful that they might work out.
The right reason to choose someone is: you believe they will be successful in your role, and your belief is backed up by reasons why they can meet each of the criteria critical to succeed in the role.