The following is part two of a transcription from a webinar we hosted with Purple Squirrel Advisors.
In terms of developing a good hiring process, we’ve talked about this a little bit already, but building the consensus once you’ve determined that you need to hire for a position. Next, you will want to evaluate the search process; do you want an internal team that can handle the search or do you need to go external? Be prepared to fully articulate the position and your company’s vision, challenges, and opportunities. One thing we are huge on during the interview process is transparency. I think sometimes there is a misconception that companies need to sell their position to the candidate, but in our view, talking candidly about the challenges the company has faced is going to make for a better hire. The candidate who takes on the position will find out about those challenges anyway, so why not talk about those during the interview process so they can be prepared to tackle them once they start.
In terms of attracting talent, one of the key things to think about is how to tell your company’s story. Some things to think about:
- Why do people enjoy coming to work every day?
- What areas of your company culture are you trying to improve?
- When was the last time you lost an employee that you would have liked to retain?
- What are you most proud of about your company’s story?
- What do you do to develop high potential talent?
- What motivates your employees to come to work and work hard?
Thinking through all of these components will help you better articulate your company’s story and attract talent.
LinkedIn has really been a game changer in the recruiting industry and I’m sure many of your companies are already using LinkedIn, but just some things to think about - the company page can be a great place to showcase your company culture and to talk about things you’re doing in the community or even things that you’re doing internally with your workforce. We have found that posting pictures and videos and real content versus a blog can be valuable in engaging with your target audience. We’ve tried many things ourselves; we’ve got a blog on our Purple Squirrel Advisors company page, but we found we get the most traction when we post something more personal like pictures. You should also put your jobs front and center with detailed and intriguing job descriptions. Job descriptions that ask questions that allow for more insight into your company tend to get a better result than more traditional job descriptions. It is really important to add a career page to capture the full essence of your employer brand and company culture. Also, your management team should have a pretty robust personal profile to reflect your company’s brand.
When you’re considering how to go to market for a particular position you should be aware of a few things.
- The difference between a retained search and a contingent search
- Are you aligned properly with your search partner?
- Recognizing the human element
- Focus on the candidate experience
- Preserve your company and employer brand
In terms of the interview process itself, it is so important to make a great impression and to show the candidate that you have spent time to prepare for the interview. To welcome the employee you should start by explaining your role, the history of the company, and why the position is open. This is a great way to warm things up and start the interview process. We always tell the candidate to tell their story in 3 to 5 minutes and it is always interesting to see what they focus on. It’s important to go beyond the resume to understand other things about the candidate that would be helpful to know. Another thing to think about is introducing the candidate to other people during the second or third interview. Even walking the candidate through your office or plant is a great idea because it allows them to ask questions about the set-up. This really gives you an opportunity to speak on your culture and to gauge how curious the candidate is about your business. It’s also important to talk about that next step and give timely feedback. Sometimes the interview process does take some time, but as long as the candidate is aware of the timeline you can feel comfortable with that.
Somethings to think about and be prepared to ask for candidates to inquire about:
- What do you like best about working at ____?
- How did you make the decision to join this company?
- What is the profile of the most successful person on your team?
- What is the profile of someone who has not succeeded in the company environment?
- What results are expected?
- What specific problems are you hoping to solve during the six months?
- What happened to the person who had this job before?
- What is the biggest investment that the company will undertake in the next 12 months?
- What are your goals for the department?
In terms of the fit, this is something we talk about a lot, but it’s important to think about the company culture. In most cases, 50-60% of an employee’s annual salary is lost when turnover occurs. Many times turnover happens not because of a bad technical fit, but a poor cultural fit. Company culture is a blend of values, beliefs, taboos, rituals, and those intangibles that make up company culture. Not factoring those into your hiring decisions is one of the most expensive mistakes you can make. I’ve heard people say it’s better to hire for potential, than for skill because if a person has potential and you can close that skill gap, you’ll get more out of them when they’re aligned with your culture and beliefs. One thing to be aware of is the concept of first impression bias. Statistics say that an interviewer knows whether they will hire a candidate within the first five minutes of the interview. Be cautious about making a quick first judgment. Even 30 minutes may be too short a time for a decision. Look for people who are motivated by the role's challenges and how they may fit in the organization’s culture. Think about behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values, environment - we refer to this as the ‘brave’ acronym. This is a good way to judge the fit and we do believe that over 50% of the fit is based on culture and not technical background.
Behavioral interviewing is a technique used by employers to learn about your past behaviors in particular situations. Or, how you would respond to hypothetical scenarios. The goal of behavioral interviewing is to:
- Assess personality and validate coping and management skills.
- Understand communication style, interpersonal skills, team leadership strengths, flexibility, global perspective, and organizational awareness.
- Vision, strategic thinking and decision making skills.
A great perk of behavioral questions is the candidate really can’t have a ‘canned’ answer, so you get to see how a candidate thinks on their feet and learn a little more about their background.
To uncover a cultural fit we talked earlier about taking the candidate through different types of interviews. For a second interview, a boardroom style may be suitable as well as having them meet key team members. Taking the candidate out to dinner can be helpful, too, especially if you’re adding an executive member to your team. There is also the option of adding assessments; assessments can be helpful, but in most cases, we recommend using them for validation or in onboarding and not necessarily as a decision-making tool. It is also recommended to prepare for other scenarios as you’re getting closer to closing the deal. Asking your candidate if they have other interviews that are nearing an offer stage is a great way to prepare yourself. You only have one chance to make that first exciting offer so make sure to think about it beforehand. We encourage our candidates to be competitive with their offers. We don’t recommend offering a lower salary to see how the candidate responds. This can be offputting for the candidate and could impact their decision.
Onboarding is a piece we see our clients miss as well. This happens more when bringing on a new executive. Things like do they have a clean office, laptop, phone, and other basic elements. Onboarding can also happen before they start; whether it is meeting a key team member for lunch or sending an email to the team and asking them to set time aside during the first week the new employee joins to get them acclimated. Companies with strong onboarding programs see 2.5 times the profit growth and 1.9 times profit margin than those that don’t.
A few closing thoughts:
- Be proactive in making key hires and develop a role analysis.
- Develop a hiring process and make sure you have internal consensus.
- Keep the momentum and maintain enthusiasm
- Perform a role analysis to ensure your team is on the same page
- Be prepared to tell your company’s story with authenticity.
- Focus on culture fit by asking the right questions.
- Develop a strong onboarding plan.
- Create a positive, lasting impression.
“The will to win is not nearly so important as the will to prepare to will.” -Vince Lombardi
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