There are many barriers to a good hire. Previously, I wrote about Deadbeat Candidates and the challenges of poor communication and no follow-up. I later followed that post up with Deadbeat Recruiters, because I know that for every challenging candidate out there, there is a recruiter equally deficient in communication skills and initiative.
Let’s be honest; this is tough work. Some of our clients will even admit that they hate hiring. This makes me a bit sad because there’s so much good to be had in the process. And it’s vital to the success and health of a business.
Whether you love it or hate it, sometimes it has to be done. The question is, “Are you ready to hire?” The five areas listed below can serve as your checklist for hiring readiness. Let’s get started.
Timing is Everything
I always say that 50% of recruiting is timing. Beyond the skill and knowledge of a great recruiter, beyond the engaging culture of an amazing company, and beyond the spark and inspiration of a juicy new role, if the search is not timed well, it may still fall flat. Starting a search without having all of the right information and process in place will scream “DON’T WORK HERE! WE DON’T HAVE OUR ACTS TOGETHER!” to aI li qualified candidate. They can smell that stink from a mile away.
I recently spoke with a candidate who went in for an interview, and the interviewer did not have even one question prepared for him. The candidate couldn’t get out of that office fast enough. He knew that if they hadn’t put any thought into hiring him, then they most likely approached other important projects with that same cavalier attitude.
All too often, I see companies wait too long to start a search. Or, they launch a search ill-prepared. Both scenarios can cause issues and frustration. Whether the company I mentioned above was in the too late or too soon category is hard to tell. Too late indicates that they’re so bogged down and behind the gun with work that they couldn’t prepare. Too soon means that they haven’t given the proper thought and strategy to a big decision. In either case, would you want to join that team?
Finding that “just right” time is tough. I can’t fix an organization’s challenges with bandwidth or lack of preparation. I will say that you should make your best person — the one that sets up processes and follows through as quickly as possible — the point person on a new hire. Hopefully, that’s your recruiter, if you have one.
I say that you should always be pipelining. The more you are making great connections in your industry and in the fields that you hire for, the better. When it comes time to bring someone on board, you know exactly who to go to.
If that sounds like a luxury that you don’t have, fair enough. You have to be realistic about the time and availability you have and the tools at your disposal. Here are a few formulas I’ve put together to help you out:
Placement needed within 45 days = Active candidates (Post the job + interview qualified applicants)
Placement needed within 90 days = Active candidates + Passive recruiting (take a combined approach, but don’t weigh the passive recruiting more heavily than the active candidates)
Placements beyond 90 days = Passive recruiting
Pipelining = Always
Does the Role Hold Value?
When you launch a new search or create a new role within the team, you need to understand why this position is a good opportunity. And if you’re working with an external recruiter, that recruiter will need to understand why this position is a good opportunity. It’s that “why” will need to come through loud and clear to the candidate.
Ask + answer the following questions about the role:
- Why would someone want to work at your company?
- What opportunities will this position give them that they can’t get elsewhere?
- What engaging projects or responsibilities will a candidate be able to really sink their teeth into?
The answers to these questions are going to make the difference between finding an average employee or a top-performer.
How Does Your Organization Look Online?
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of employment branding. The high-level overview is this:
Talent WILL research your company online. You need to put some strategy around what they see and the information that is shared because it will influence whether or not they decide to interview with you, and will most certainly influence whether or not they decide to work with you.
If you’re reaching out via LinkedIn, you need to make sure that you have a LinkedIn company page with well-crafted messaging about your culture, your values, and your team initiatives.
The same applies to your website.
It is also wise to take things a step further and have your existing employees advocate for the organization. Give them the tools to develop strong LinkedIn profiles and website bios, and encourage them to share job posts and content that relates to your culture with their networks. Many of my best hires are referrals.
Having the proper planning in place will make things easier on your team and will leave your candidates with a favorable impression. As I stated above, truly talented people do not want to work for a company that doesn’t have its act together.
Here are a few key components to launching a successful search for a new employee:
- A well-crafted job description – be as specific and descriptive as possible. Job descriptions can be self-selecting; meaning that, if it’s written well, the qualified candidates will stand up and take notice while the unqualified folks will bow out. It makes the process easier.
- Identify your hiring team and the process for qualifying and selecting candidates – Who are the people that are going to help make the decision? Are they able to articulate and present the role well? Do you have a strategy for how to identify the right candidate? (Assessments, presentations, and assignments can all be a part of that strategy).
- Determine your plan and follow it – What does your interview process look like? How many interviews are required? Is it too many? (more than 3) Because if so, you will send passive candidates running.
Below is a checklist that you can use to ensure that you are ready to hire, ready to engage with a recruiter, and ready to present yourself well to talented professionals.
Hiring Readiness Checklist
- Time your search well – don’t wait until you’re overwhelmed and don’t launch a search without having the right plan + strategy in place.
- Assess your timeline and determine your strategy related to passive vs. active candidates.
- Make sure the role offers candidates opportunities for learning, growth, and rewarding work. If it doesn’t, then ask your team if now is the best time to be launching this search.
- Create and implement your employment branding strategy. Do this now so that it’s in place and working for you the next time you begin a search. Employment branding should include:
- Employment + culture content on company website
- Employment + culture content on LinkedIn company page
- Employment + culture content on individual team members’ profiles
- Weekly opportunities for team members to share content and culture initiatives with their networks
- Determine your process and make sure that everyone on the hiring team is ready to follow it. This includes:
- A well-crafted job description
- Building a hiring team and involving them in the planning
- Identifying candidate selection criteria
- Building your interview process
That’s a lot of work to do before you’ve even started screening candidates, isn’t it? Hiring isn’t easy, but by doing this legwork ahead of time, you are forging an unobstructed path toward your next team member. Make it count.