Finding and hiring great people (Part 1)
As I write this, we’re in what we hope to be the tail end of the pandemic. Businesses are reopening and hiring (or if you’re in certain industries like Powersports, you’re having a record year). Several of my clients have asked me to either help them hire for a key position, or to help coach and train their team on effective interviewing and hiring. Over the years, and over countless hires (and even more interviews), I’ve tried to refine my hiring process to make it more repeatable and less error prone. Hopefully, you too are hiring, and this process can help you make your next hire a little easier. Here’s Part One – laying the groundwork and creating your job posting.
The groundwork – writing the job description and the posting
The key to successful hiring starts with a solid job description. Not only will it help you write a posting that attracts the right candidates, but it will help you build your interview questions. The job description needs to include:
- Primary tasks and duties
- Responsibilities and authority
- Reporting relationships (who will their manager be?)
- Qualifications and characteristics (what skills and personality traits do you need for this role?)
- Desired experience
- Organization level (Jr., Intermediate, Manager?)
- Education requirements
- Salary range
These bullet points give you all the information you need to write your job posting, but describing the job is table stakes. Despite what the media may tell you, qualified talent is scarce. Your job posting needs to stand out. Don’t be dry. Let the personality of your company come through. Tell applicants why you’re a great place to work, and what to expect from the culture.
Let your candidates help you screen the resumes
Screening resumes is a drag. With any luck, you’ll get dozens or hundreds of applicants, and trying to whittle that down to 5 or 6 people you want to interview can be really time consuming. Make this more manageable by having the candidates do this for you.
Whenever I post a job, I try to devise a way to separate the people who are genuinely interested from the people who are just carpet-bombing companies with their resumes in hopes of a hit. In the job posting, I include – in plain sight – detailed instructions of how to apply for the job. For example, I might say that we only accept applications through email, and that we don’t want a separate cover letter – instead, write us an email, and we’ll only accept resumes in PDF or Word format. Anyone who doesn’t follow the instructions, I immediately delete. It might sound counterintuitive, but that self-eliminates the bottom half of the applicants. My theory is, if you can’t follow simple instructions, or you can’t take the time to read the whole posting, I don’t want to work with you. From time to time, to test my theory, I’ll interview a candidate who has a decent resume but didn’t follow the instructions. In every case, the interview was a waste of time. The candidate either lacked attention to detail, had a sense of entitlement, or had a massive ego.
I’ll also make a second ask to help me narrow the field down further. If I’m hiring for a specific skill-set, say a designer or a writer, I’ll ask for samples or a portfolio. In other roles, I’ll simply ask them to write an email describing why they think they are a fit for the role, and why they are passionate about the industry. Another 10% of applicants won’t follow the instructions, which I immediately delete. For another 10%, their portfolio or samples won’t be up to par, or their email will be poorly written or simply sloppy (punctuation anyone?). Before even starting to screen resumes, you’ve already eliminated 70% of the work.
Where to post
Where you post your job depends on the type of skills you’re looking for. Overall, I find LinkedIn works best for knowledge-based roles and management positions, especially if you pay to boost the posting and broadcast the job to your LinkedIn network. Many of my clients have had good luck with Indeed, and for technician roles or entry-level positions, you can’t beat Craigslist. Make sure you post the job to your company website, and encourage your staff to share the job posting to their social media networks. Often the best candidates come from staff referrals.
In the next article, I’ll show you how to make it easier to screen and track resumes, and how the screening interview can save you a ton of time in the interview process.
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