SmartRecruiters Blog

6 Human Resources Leaders Explain How to Hire

What do top human resources professionals consider when hiring? Recently we published an article “5 CEOs Who Hire for Personality” which highlighted some top executives and their approach to hiring for personality fit. Depending on your business and the type of employees needed, there are other things which trump personality. Now we are focusing on experienced HR Leaders who have made a range of hiring decisions, from frontline employees to other executives. Here’s how they hire:

Steve Browne, LaRosa’ Pizza Executive Director of HR

“We have a mixed approach. We use an online application with assessments which we can customize for our industry. This has helped us to interview less while hiring more applicants. It’s also freed up hours of time making it more efficient. Here’s where it’s different, we shifted our focus to retention and away from turnover. The long term goal for us is to determine average tenure and forecast when we may need new employees. Knowing this information, we can stretch retention from 24 to 27 months and save thousands of dollars.”

Melissa Fairman, Service Partners Senior HR Manager

“Assessments aren’t always accurate and they can be costly and time consuming in order to create and test them. I hire for a small organization so I am able to take a “hands-on” approach to hiring. I like to behavioral based interview questions. Specifically, I’m looking for experience first, and then culture and personality fit.”

Jay Kuhns, All Children’s Hospital VP of HR

“First, never assume you have the candidate experience figured out. Complacency breeds shoddy work. Focus on promoting the employer brand first and open positions second. Integrate your HRIS, social, specialty journals, publications and a clean website into the recruitment process. Understand fully what your candidates have to go through in order to apply, interview and onboard. Use behavioral based interview questions and include a combination of leadership and frontline staff to ensure fit and buy-in. We follow the same process for all our positions including leadership roles.”

Dave Ryan, Mel-o-Creme Donuts Executive Director of HR

“For our frontline associates we look for organizational fit and assimilation to culture. We use behavioral assessments but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. For our exempt or leadership positions we focus on personality, behavioral based questions and instincts. With over 25 years of experience with the company, I understand culture and the type of person who would fit in. Also we pay close attention to geography; we are a local company, we focus on local talent.”

Ron Thomas, Al Raha Group GCHRO of HR

“There is a Greek saying “Know thy Self.” I remember that saying when it comes to hiring – every recruiter, hiring manager and VP should know thy company. You must know what and who will survive and be successful in your company. I am not a big fan of assessments. A lot of companies recruit using a “warm body” approach but talent should be paramount. Some companies are even moving away from focusing on degrees and looking at a candidate’s talent potential and fit with the organization. Know thy company.”

Sarah Williams, Luihn Food Systems Director of HR

“It really depends on the position. For entry level and 1st level supervisors, we rely heavily on our recruiting software because we have so many positions to fill. For mid-level, we promote from within rewarding those that have worked hard and earn opportunities. At the senior level we focus more on fit. Fit and team culture are more important for our leadership candidates.”


Notice that each one of these hiring experts mentioned “culture” and “personality.” Fit came up quite a bit as well. As these human resources leaders pointed out, it’s important to remember that you know your company’s culture better than anyone else – or at least you should – and use that as your first step to hiring.

Chris Fields

Chris Fields is an HR professional and leadership guy who blogs and dispenses great (not just good) advice at Cost of Work & ResumeCrusade.