I guess you could call me the original “Smart Recruiter.” After all, as the first Head of Talent here at SmartRecruiters, it was my job to quickly ramp up to scale our business – more than doubling our global team from 70 to over 140 in less than 36 months.
It’s a bit ironic, of course, because our company’s very mission centers on giving recruiters like me access to innovative tools to compete for the very best talent, plus partnering with our clients to share our strategic best practices for making great hires.
Do I follow the best practices we preach? You bet. I discuss those topics below, as well as in our new whitepaper, “Making the Right Hire,” with four best practices to adopt as 2017 dawns.
Start off smart: a vision of success > a list of skills
One of the best practices described seems straightforward enough, but it’s a bit tricky. Each job requires a job description, so you start by defining the skills you’re looking for, right?
Nope. That’s totally backwards. Stop and change direction immediately. (See, I told you it’s a bit tricky!)
If you have a job to fill, you’re looking for someone who can actually accomplish something – not merely possess a specific skill set. So first define what a candidate is expected to get done, and then use those objectives to determine the skills and experience needed to meet and exceed those expectations.
Think about it from the candidate’s perspective: are really talented individuals going to be inspired to join your team based on a list of skills? No, that’s a poor job description. Top talent will be far more impressed by how you express your vision for success, and how they can participate.
(Hint: Those who aren’t motivated by such a vision aren’t top talent.)
A meeting of the minds: synchronize expectations
Skills come in many flavors. As a recruiter, I want to make sure a candidate has certain “soft skills” that fit our culture. On the other hand, hiring managers look for “hard skills” specific to a job. Therefore, both need to work together to make the best hires.
So one of our best practices at SmartRecruiters is to kick off the process with a meeting of the minds that always includes a recruiter and hiring manager. That’s essential. If you two don’t agree on what someone needs to accomplish in a new job, how can you possibly know what skills are needed? You’re stuck! You can’t even write a job description, let alone know where to find the best talent without collaboration and clearly defined goals.
The consequences of taking short cuts at this stage are very painful. If you start hiring people without a vision of what you want them to actually do, you waste months of time and bring people onboard who won’t stay with you very long. That’s costly – and certainly no way to quickly scale up.
If you aren’t already following these best practices, make a New Year’s resolution to do so. Be sure recruiters and hiring managers start the process with a meeting to define expected accomplishments and use that as a basis for developing a list of core skills – not the other way around.