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Hiring the Right People

December 05, 2012

Kris Brault
Managing Director, Executive Recruiting
Creative Financial Staffing

Lauren Becker
Managing Director, Temporary Staffing
Creative Financial Staffing

There is a function that every manager has to do regardless of industry, company size or economic conditions.  There are many who are very good at it, those who are not and others who make the same mistakes time and time again.  This function is hiring.  What’s even more important is understanding the difference between hiring and hiring the right people for your organization to build a winning team.  Let’s consider a few questions:

  • How would having a team of engaged, top-performing employees improve your organization?
  • Have you ever hired someone and quickly regretted your decision? 
  • Have you interviewed someone, and then once they started working they were not able to do the things they claimed in the interview?

In this article we will discuss how to avoid the pitfalls that can lead to hiring the wrong people and give useful tips to help you hire the right people for your organization. 

Have Well-Defined Objectives

You can’t select the ideal candidate without first outlining the objectives you would like them to accomplish.  We see organizations, all too often, utilizing outdated or poorly written descriptions to fill critical roles.  Your organization may not have formal job descriptions for all functions prepared, or the bureaucracy involved to make changes to an existing description.  However, this can cause organizations to miss out on top talent that may become disinterested in what they see in the description and decide not to pursue the opportunity. 

It can also be challenging to identify the best candidate for the role when there is not a clear understanding of the position.  We often find that when people are unhappy early on it is typically due to a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the role.  A well-written job description outlining expectations and skills, along with a thorough interview process, helps to alleviate disappointment on both sides.  Once you have the description defined, you can move forward with identifying the right people.

Use All Sources to Get the Best People in the Marketplace

A common approach most companies take when hiring is placing an ad on an online job board —and then they stop there.  As a result, you are only getting job seekers that happen to look at the job board that week.  Once a few days have passed your ad will be so far down the list that most applicants will not see it anymore.  This approach is limiting and does not give a true assessment of who is available in the marketplace and will likely only get you the most aggressive job seekers.  Usually the best candidates are less active in their search and are the more passive job seekers.  By utilizing the steps below, you will be assured to identify the best candidates in the marketplace:

  • Effectively Use Your Network:  Contact former colleagues, your business network, top clients or industry networking groups to let them know about the job opening. Oftentimes, some of the most qualified candidates come through referrals from your own network.  Also, be sure to post the position on LinkedIn, which allows a much larger group of people to see and share the opening.
     
  • Use Industry Related Groups:  Many industries have associations with online communities, blogs and websites.  Do some research to find the one that is applicable and post your position within these groups.  A good example is if you were seeking a human resources professional, there is an organization called Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) that would be a good fit.  They have a place on their website where you can post jobs to reach top HR candidates and you can also search resumes of candidates that are open to new opportunities.
     
  • Engage a Contingency Search Firm:  Contingency search firms will have access to the passive candidates in the marketplace.  They work with the candidates who are not going to be applying to positions online, and who are not in your personal network.  One advantage of reaching out to a search firm is they do not charge anything for you to evaluate and interview the top candidates they are representing.  They only charge a fee if you hire someone they recommended to you.  They are incentivized to put the best candidates in front of you, and you have the chance to compare these candidates against the ones you have through your own efforts to ensure you make the best hire.

Conduct a Successful Interview Process

Once you have several strong candidates to include in your interview process, it is important to have a well thought out game plan for conducting your interview process.  This will reflect the professionalism of your company to prospective employees —just as prospective candidates are selling their skills and abilities —you also have to sell your company and opportunity to them.  A successful interview process will have the following:

  • Timely feedback to candidates after the interview
  • Communicated expectations on where they stand in the interview process
  • Standardized questions so you can compare each candidate on an equal playing field
  • Have your team involved in the decision-making process
  • Second interview for the top candidates, but not too many interviews, as that can be a turn-off to highly qualified candidates
  • Completed references and background checks

Involve Key Employees in the Hiring Process

It is also important to have your key employees on board and happy with the new employees.  There is nothing more toxic to a team than when co-workers have animosity or are not engaged in the success of their colleagues.  One great way to achieve a winning team environment is to include your most important employees who would be working closely with the new hire in the interview process.  Have your employee meet briefly with the top three candidates you are considering.  Let them know their opinion is important to you, and you want to make sure the new addition would work well with them.  They will be more apt to be engaged with the new employee, help them get acclimated and care about their success within your organization.  It also goes a long way in making current employees feel valued.

Take Your Time to Find the Right Fit

There are many hiring managers that go into panic mode when they lose a key employee.  Most organizations run so lean these days that any open position causes hardship for the team.  Many managers will rush and make an offer to the first seemingly qualified candidate thinking only of the short-term workload that needs to be completed.  In rushing to find a replacement, you may not devote proper time to utilizing your network, and all the sources that may lead you to the best candidate. One way to avoid a desperate situation when you lose a key employee is to utilize a temporary employee.  They can take on the most time-sensitive tasks, keep the work flowing so that you can take your time to find the best candidates, and when your new employee starts they will not be overwhelmed with a backlog of work.

When a Hire Does Not Work Out Even When You Followed the Right Procedures

Even when you have followed all the proper procedures, you may still occasionally hire the wrong person for the role.  When this happens, we often hear hiring managers or the candidate express that they should have listened to their own gut instincts.  Sometimes this can be just a feeling you receive in the process that something does not add up or make sense.  It can be difficult to articulate this feeling when the person on paper is ideal, the interview went well but you just have an uneasy feeling about proceeding. Often in a desire to fill the role, we can move forward when it does not feel 100% right to do so.  Hiring is not an exact science; we take chances that in hindsight realize did not make sense.  When this happens you need to evaluate your process.  It is easy to place blame at this time, but the key is to learn from these mistakes and then move forward.

Complimentary Interviewing and Salary Guide

CFS is an affiliate of BlumShapiro and specializes in the placement of accounting and finance professionals on a temporary and permanent search basis.  We also provide complimentary interviewing questionnaires and annual salary guides with local market data.  Please feel free to contact Kris Brault at kbrault@blumshapiro.com or Lauren Becker at lbecker@blumshapiro.com to receive our interviewing or salary guide.

 

Advisors | Auditors | Consultants | CPAs - Blum Shapiro is one of the premier public accounting firms in the northeast and a Top 100 CPA Firm in the U.S. Our professionals serve businesses, individuals and organizations in Boston (MA), Hartford (CT), Cranston (RI), Shelton (CT) ,Quincy (MA) and Newton (MA) with audit, tax and business consulting services. Our firm has developed practice areas in automotive, construction, education, government, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, nonprofit organizations and professional service firms. New Haven CT, Fairfield CT, Norwalk CT, Waterbury CT.