Finding the Gems

I can see how hard it is to hire good people. Got any tips?

 

Thoughts of the Day: When searching, make sure every tool works well. Use interviews to find out if soft skills are present. Know your culture. Set aside plenty of time for getting to know the candidate. Avoid blamers. Look for drive and ambition.

Check your company’s profile on Glassdoor. When it comes to current employees who are listed on the company’s website and anyone who will interact with the candidate, be aware of how they come across in the virtual world. Savvy candidates will check you out as much as you are checking them out. They want to see websites that are up to date, social media posts that are informative and relevant to the business, people they would benefit from affiliating with, and an active, accurate brand representation that is worthy of their time and effort.

Emotional intelligence and ability to focus are intertwined. Can candidates demonstrate a high degree of both? Do they stay on point and keep their cool as they try to learn more about your company and tell you about themselves?

Use a detailed job description to check for learned skills. But balance the search for hard skills with the need to find people who can contribute to your company’s culture. If you’re not sure what your company’s culture is all about, turn to current and former employees, clients and vendors for help. Make a list of key words that describe your culture. See how many of those key words your candidates use.

Think through your company’s style of working. Do people arrive and leave early or late? Long or short lunches? Long or short meetings? Information and updates delivered orally in large group meetings or one-on-ones, or circulated in written reports? What kind of work environment have candidates done well in? How does that compare to your company’s setting?

Consider the peers this candidate will have to fit in with. Are they formal or informal, fast paced or slow? Are they quick to reach conclusions or more deliberative? Do they collaborate and inform, or take leaps of faith and apologize later? Keep in mind that diversity of background and approach can be valuable. If you’re looking for a disrupter, make sure they also have leadership ability to bring others along with them.

Everyone tends to let their hair down in social settings. Go out for lunch or dinner to get to know candidates better. Have multiple people do interviews.

Look critically at references. Do they really have an accurate picture of the candidate? Are they willing and able to share what they know? Make sure they understand you’re trying to help this candidate find the best opportunity for them as well as for you.

Avoid blamers. Some people will not look below the surface to find out what’s holding them back. That gets in the way of learning and making progress. If it’s always someone else’s fault when bad things happen, steer clear.

Look for people who have done unusual things to get ahead. Whether it’s taking on extracurricular activities in school, or extra projects at work, look below the surface. What kind of work did they excel at, what motivated them? Did they take on risks and additional workload because it was imposed on them, or because they were self-motivated?

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