Whether looking for a reliable business partner, a responsible tutor for your child, the love of your life, or your next amazing hire, you can’t escape the age-old question: How do I find the one?
Chances are, if you’re a leader, you’ve probably made a bad hire at some point in your leadership career that has caused you a headache (probably an understatement); those people who have seemed so perfect on paper and ‘wowed’ you in a first interview, and yet once they were hired, caused you trouble from the moment they walked through the doors. On the reverse, you’ve most likely also had those employees who surprise you by completely exceeding your expectations and becoming one of the most beloved members of your team.
We want to help you take some of the chance out of the hiring process. While there is no magic formula because we are working with human beings, there are some keys that have been acquired over our 10 years of recruitment that will have you pulling in the golden hires more times than not.
Here are 3 things to keep in mind when looking for a keeper:
Know your team
- Beyond the specific skills and requirements of the role that need to be filled, what are the personality traits, communication style and characteristics that are going best suit the mix of people you already have in your team? Do you have a management role that requires the person to be able to motivate the staff? How would they go about this? A good idea can be to present a scenario of a previous situation that arose and ask about their response to that scenario.
Learn from the past
- Here are some really strong questions to ask: Who has previously succeeded and failed in the role? What were their qualities and character traits? What soft skills did they possess? Were they extraverted or introverted? How did the team respond to them? These questions are not to put the role in a box, but to provide insight that will help to take emotion out of the picture and focus on what the role needs when it comes to the interview.
Look at behaviors over words
- Most of us don’t like to think we can be wooed by a smooth talker, but someone who knows what to say and how to say it is naturally going to capture our attention. Unfortunately, just because someone oozes confidence, does not mean they necessarily hold substance. The key is to read beyond the words. In the case of hiring, we don’t have the luxury of time that we might have in other scenarios to get to know a person so it’s important to be listening for the right things in an interview and also create scenarios in which a person’s behaviors can be demonstrated in a half-hour to hour-long interview. Harvard Business Review gave an interview example of people who describe themselves as a team player: do they actually credit other people when discussing their work? Do they point to collaboration or just try to emphasize their own contribution every time? When asked about past failures, are they quick to lay blame or do they take ownership? A good question to ask is for them to describe a co-worker or manager they struggled with; Do they place labels or show the understanding to describe core reasons behind why things weren’t working and a more complex perspective?
Doing some of this preliminary work can really help to have the right focus when it comes to the interview process. Have confidence in what you need and what you’re asking for and be sure to be aware of the less obvious clues when interacting and listening to the answers of the applicant.