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Don’t rush into making the wrong hiring decision

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When it comes to recruiting new team members, most hiring managers fall into two buckets: 1. they’re either so busy that they find it hard to even find the time to prioritise hiring, or, 2. they’re so busy they simply can’t wait to find a replacement for a recently departed employee, as swiftly as possible.

Worryingly, both scenarios can lead to an unnecessarily rushed hiring process, with the wrong person consequently being recruited. But why?

Are hiring managers too busy to hire?

We are now busier at work than ever before. It is estimated, for example, that more than 281 billion emails are sent every day worldwide.

And if that wasn’t enough, meetings also seem to suck up a similar amount of time. There are said to be as many as 36 to 56 million meetings taking place every day, with upper management spending approximately half of their time in them – an astonishing figure that, even for middle managers (who are often the ones doing the hiring) only drops to around 35%.

And with managers already more time poor than ever before, imagine how it feels when they finally leave yet another meeting to go straight into the next in which a member of their team hands in their resignation? These moments stir negative visions of mounting, unmanageable workloads, and make the prospect of working even later an unfortunate reality.

So in this situation, surely the simplest, swiftest, most obvious solution is to quickly advertise the role, start interviewing as soon as possible and hire the first person who vaguely meets most of your needs. After all, this new employee will, eventually, fit into the ethos, vision and culture of the organisation, won’t they? In theory, and with a great deal of optimism… possibly. But, unfortunately, when it comes to hiring, reality is rarely this kind.

So, whatever you do, resist the urge to do this. Instead, consider that by putting in a little more time and effort now (and I know you feel like you don’t have the luxury of time at the moment), you will save yourself a whole lot of pain, further down the line.

What are the steps a busy hiring manager must take?

So, if you’ve found yourself in a similarly stressful position and are one (or more) people down, resist the urge to fix the problem right now with the first candidate who is available. Instead, take a more strategic approach to your recruitment.

1. Clearly define the role
First things first, honestly ask yourself what you’re looking for.

Use this precious time to reassess what you actually need a new hire to deliver. For example, perhaps there are tasks that the incumbent performs that no longer add value to the business, or maybe the lower-level job responsibilities could be automated, freeing up time for a new hire to perform higher-level duties.

Before deciding upon your requirements for the role though, take a moment to challenge your previous assumptions. If you’ve been looking at ‘X’ years in a similar role before, consider where else the same skills could exist.

Think the same way about qualifications – how imperative is it that this box is ticked? Could relevant work experience and attitude work more effectively? What transferable skills could make a candidate suitable?

Now is the perfect time to reset and re-evaluate what you need from this role, both now and in the future.

2. Craft a strong job description
Now, with a clearer idea in your mind around what it is you’re looking for, it’s time to detail your requirements in the job description. But remember that word – detail. Don’t simply update an old job description. Instead, tailor it to stand out to the person you’re trying to attract.

Start with a description of your business. The majority of job descriptions don’t include any details about the organisation that is hiring. But, remember, recruitment is a two-way process – if you want to hire the best, you have to sell your organisation to them. So, describe the services or products your organisation offers, success stories, your ambitions or your growth plans. Crucially, describe the culture of your organisation and the type of person that thrives in your workplace. By thinking through the latter, you’ll identify the essential soft skills and cultural fit new hires require to succeed in your organisation.

Then, go on to provide an overview of the job before focusing on the responsibilities involved in the role, the essential technical and soft skills and those that would be an advantage, and previous required experience. Don’t forget to mention the benefits you offer, including any training and development opportunities.

Avoid over-used jargon too – ‘progressive’, ‘open and collaborative culture’, and ‘sociable team’ are just buzz terms and have little meaning in the real world. Notice how we didn’t advise you to ‘think outside of the box’ earlier? Such terms mean far less to people than openness, integrity and interest when it comes to hiring.

For more information and advice on how to craft the perfect job description, read this blog by my colleague, Jane McNeill.

3. Work with a recruiter
Many organisations find the task of finding and engaging top talent a challenge. And understandably so. If you are a time poor hiring manager, who is struggling to pin down exactly what you need or have advertised for the right person and been inundated with unsuitable applications – or, conversely, have received minimal response, then building a close working relationship with a recruiting expert will really help.

Communication is key, and part of our role will be to ask the right questions to you, too. Remember, the right consultant will help you to streamline the hiring process – not least by boosting the pool of ideal candidates.

4. Plan your interviews
To avoid rushing into the wrong hiring decision, it’s essential you take the time to conduct detailed interviews that will allow you to make an informed hiring decision. This requires proper planning, which of course, requires more of your time.

Before the interview, spend half an hour creating a list of set questions that you’ll ask every candidate. When designing these questions, ensure they will allow you to gain an understanding of each candidate’s competencies. Don’t forget to add questions to assess their soft skills and cultural fit.

In the interview, make sure you stick to your list and ask each candidate the same questions. Don’t skip any, otherwise you’ll be unable to compare the candidates equally and you will allow your unconscious biases to have a greater impact on your hiring decision, possibly leading to the wrong choice.

Make sure you schedule enough time for each interview too – you don’t want to rush this crucial part of the recruitment process.

And, lastly, after each interview, review your notes and summarise your thoughts on each candidate. This will help ensure each one stays fresh in your mind, especially when other priorities take over again.

By putting more time, effort and strategic thought into your interview process, you will be better equipped to fairly and accurately assess each candidate’s suitability, thus increasing your chances of making the right hiring decision.

5. Don’t stop work once the candidate is hired
So, now that you’ve put in the time and effort required to find the perfect candidate, you can rest up a little, right? Well, not quite. As with anything in life, the first impression you make as a manager, and the organisation makes as an employer, has a big impact.

So, take the time to set up a thorough, relevant and engaging induction process, and send it to your new starter before they join your business. Prioritise spending the time to coach and bring them up to speed with their new responsibilities. Organise regular check-ins to find out how they are getting on, and if there are any concerns or training needs which need to be addressed.

No matter how busy you are, it’s important to realise that by spending focused time with your new hire when they first start, they’re more likely to get up to speed quickly, and thus you’ll find yourself feeling confident in delegating tasks to them. Not only that, but they will be far more engaged and connected to you as their boss and therefore more likely to stay in the long run.

My colleague, Matthew Dickason has written a great blog on how on onboard your new hire, and it’s worth a read if you want to ensure the time you’ve invested in making the right hiring decision isn’t wasted.

The hiring manager’s formula for repeated success
Apologies for the buzz-phrase, but taking the time to think through your recruitment process more strategically rather than rushing the process and hiring the first person who ticks most boxes certainly qualifies as ‘progressive’.

I’m sure you’d admit that you may have originally viewed the resignation of a staff member and the resulting need to recruit as a threat to your time. But I hope I’ve outlined to you, how, by prioritising time in your busy schedule and really focusing on the recruitment process, you’ve created a framework for ongoing future recruitment success.

You’ve given yourself the time to think, plan and reflect on the process, both professionally and strategically. In other words, you’ve given yourself more time to manage your team, the way you always intended to.

About the author

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Nick Deligiannis

Managing Director

Nick Deligiannis began working at Hays in 1993 and since then he has held a variety of consulting and management roles across the business. In 2004 he was appointed to the Hays Board of Directors. He was made Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand in 2012.

Prior to joining Hays, he had a background in human resource management and marketing, and has formal qualifications in Psychology.

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