Choosing talent successfully will be the differentiator for your business in 2013. Success in the hiring context can be defined as minimizing cycle time to place great candidates and enabling those people to stay long-term in the environment.
Let’s put things in context. In Silicon Valley and Austin, my home town, the technical job market pendulum has already swung back to the candidates’ side. Things aren’t getting better, they’ve gotten better and it won’t get easier to find talent any time soon.
Qualified candidates have choices, just as you do, so don’t make assessment harder than it needs to be by following failed routines.
Over time I’ve seen successful hiring managers focus on three things exceptionally well over and over.
The top three?
We’ve all had experience of placing strong talent only to be disappointed when they leave prematurely. Or worse, qualifying someone who can really help us yet who withdraws from the hiring process. See? Not success.
Why? Confusion and mistrust number among the chief reasons. Something was misstated, omitted, glossed over, etc., in the hiring discussions. Something probably attributable to the hiring manager. (While recruiters make communication mistakes too, quality candidates put far more weight on what hiring managers say.)
Assessment accuracy is dependent on clarity in hiring priorities, company needs and the work environment. Imagine how you’d feel as you interview for your next role if the manager was able to iterate succinctly those same things. Now, contrast that with the fuzzy enterprise-wide stories many candidates sit through with glazed eyes as managers repeat a rote script.
Candidates weigh the fit with their potential manager as much if not more than the attractiveness of the company itself. And no one wants to work for a manager who’s vague, inarticulate or unclear about priorities. Get your needs clear, and share them.
Engagement is perhaps the easiest of the top three to solve right away. Its simply a matter of focusing on each person on their own merits. Countless candidates have been lost because hiring managers were too busy, unorganized, stressed, etc., etc., to bother to prepare for the interview.
When the interview is approach a task – and not an engagement – your top candidates see and react to that viscerally.
The message you send when you don’t prepare is that the candidate really isn’t that important. Um; they think they are. And they should. Would you work for someone who couldn’t engage with you intelligently in an interview?
Engagement is preparation and execution. You know this stuff: read the resume, review the job qualifications, converse with (don’t grill) the candidate, talk less than half the time.
This is not new; recruiting is not rocket science.
Again and again, successful hiring managers honor candidates with real engagement to enable more objective assessment.
Finally, think ahead. Yes, there’s a role to fill today but where are you headed tomorrow? What are the things that keep you up at night?
Successful hiring is not just filling today’s need but in building an organic team that grows and adapts with changing circumstances. Looking for skills, interests and qualifications beyond the current need to identify candidates who have this capacity for personal growth. Forecasting some of tomorrow’s challenges prior to interviewing can sometimes spur that synchronistic bridge that lets you see more of a person’s value long-term.
Don’t just hire for today. Hire for tomorrow.
That’s it. Three things (clarity, engagement, forecast) when done well, over and over again, will soon become habit. This’ll empower you to make better assessments – and better hires – in 2013 and beyond.
Christopher de Mers, SPHR has been practicing human resource management for 20 years including leadership roles with Apple, Dell, P&G and The Home Depot. He holds an MBA in Liberal Arts, is lifetime certified as an SPHR, and has taught HRCI certification at the University of Texas at Austin for ten years.