3 Ways to Improve Your Hiring Process

by Ryan Kohler

If every employee has the capacity to either raise or reduce their organization’s productivity and prosperity, it stands to reason that every employee should be carefully vetted and selected based on how much they can contribute to-not detract from-that success. Yet many companies still take an amateurish approach to hiring new employees, equipping themselves with little more than some hackneyed questions and a bit of hope. If you want to make hiring the best people a priority (and you should), treat the process with the same professionalism you would any other aspect of your strategic plan. Avoid another bout of hit-or-miss hiring by following these three steps.

1. Define the position and its requirements precisely.

Every job description should be outlined with care and purpose. At the very least, it should highlight the key skills a successful candidate must have to carry out the particular job and the practices or habits that will enable him or her to excel at it. You should also specify the education, experience, and behaviors potential candidates should possess before applying.

The key word in this step is “precisely,” which means taking extra measures to ensure that the job description-and your own understanding of the position-are unambiguous. This could take the form of gathering information from current and former employees who’ve held the position, staff members who work within the same department, and possibly clients about what they require and appreciate from the person in that position. Are these great lengths to go to for every position? Maybe, but the result is being able to clearly identify whether or not a candidate has what it takes to help your organization thrive. It seems a worthwhile investment.

2. Test candidates to verify their skills.

The purpose of the hiring process is to prove-both to the hiring organization and to the candidate-that each party will benefit from a potential union. What better way to find evidence of that than a test (or, depending on the level of the position, several tests)? Some jobs lend themselves more obviously to testing: give a teacher a sample class to teach and a coder something to code. Others may require a bit more creativity. For example, if the person will need to sell something, simulate a scenario and ask them to make a pitch. If you’re looking for a marketing professional, ask them to develop a marketing plan for XYZ campaign. Consider including at least a small written component in every test because most roles involve written communication in various forms, including email.

3. Use a hiring panel to gain insight and perspective from other people.

Hiring based on one person’s opinion is a missed opportunity; a hiring panel of at least two people ensures multiple perspectives of what a potential candidate has to offer. Create a diverse panel that includes, if possible, and HR professional, the position’s supervisor, and employees that will work closely with the position. Getting feedback from multiple sources gives you better insight.


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