Road Map to Hiring Great Employees

Blog Road Map to Hiring Great Employees

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Here is a simple strategy using cost-effective assessment tools for hiring good people. First, allow me to offer you a simple strategy that will make your life easier and produce results. The following scenario can show you how to take advantage of cost-effective aptitude and competency assessments.

Seven Steps to a Good Hire

Scenario: You need to hire an outside salesperson to represent your product or service and get new business. This is a critical role for growing your business. If this person doesn’t generate at least $6,000 per month in revenue, they are costing you money.

1. Create a Strategy

Be open-minded. Write a performance-based job description to avoid disqualifying candidates for the industry-specific skills they can learn on the job. Remember you are going to hire people who are smart, fast learners.

2. Post Your Job Ad to as Many Job Boards as Possible

The goal is to cast the widest net possible. If your first impulse is to say, “But I don’t have time to screen all those resumes or talk to all those people”, remember: you don’t need to spend a lot of time screening resumes. Have a checklist of items you are looking for by the time you get to the third resume you’ll have it memorized.

Once you have selected your first group of great applicants put them in a pile and review them again to make sure they meet your needs, then start contacting them. Put 20 minutes aside to make calls or send e-mails.

Remember to check out: Indeed, CareerBuilder, Craigslist, industry job boards, LinkedIn, and local classifieds.

3. Use a Basic Skills Test Upfront

Send your best applicants a short, inexpensive 10 minute skills test or integrate the skills test into your ATS platform. Have them take the skill test before you schedule an in-person interview, so you don’t waste their time or yours on an unnecessary meeting

4. Phone Screen Your Best Candidates

Spend 20 minutes, no more, no less, phone screening the candidates with the best resumes and the ones that scored well on your skills test.  You will probably have five to ten good applicants at that point, so your time investment is minimal.

5. Interview the Top Five Candidates

You should have five, or fewer, candidates who look pretty good at this point. Bring them in for a 30-45 minute interview. To figure out all the reasons why they shouldn’t work for you, see our article on “Common Mistakes Made by Interviewers.”

If you still like the candidate in the interview, have him or her take a more in-depth aptitude assessment and a competency test.  If you find disqualifiers early in the interview, cut it short. You are not doing anyone any favors by going through a full interview if you know the person isn’t a good fit.

6. Invite the Top Candidates to Meet With Your Top Management

Bring the best two or three people back (you might only have one at that point) to meet other leaders in your organization. Spend a few hours with this person to clarify all of your unanswered questions about disqualifiers. Spend time finding out how these people might add value to your business. Discuss real business scenarios to learn how they would solve these real business problems. By now you should have a clear picture of whether this person is a great fit or not.

7. Check the Candidate’s References

Have the top candidates provide you with references from their direct supervisors (get at least three references). Make sure the candidates permit their references to talk to you. If they won’t, that is a red flag.

Confirm the candidates’ successes and weaknesses with these references. If the comments made by the references don’t match up with what the candidates have been saying about their qualifications and experience, ask the candidates for clarification, or move on because there is a problem.

This process can be completed in 2-4 weeks. If you are really serious about finding the best people, you may discover other candidates along the way. Start the process with those people, too. Don’t stop looking. You never know who you are going to find.

4 Ways to Find and Identify Top Performers

Sourcing isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes planning and forethought and, oftentimes, a list of keywords or Boolean search strings that help you narrow your search in finding the perfect candidate. Sourcing for candidates that fit your profile may not be as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack, though it does take some time and expertise. You know what you want in a candidate, but where and how do you find them?

Here’s a failproof list of ways to catch your next top performer:

Career Sites

CareerBuilder, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter, are all excellent sources for identifying talent. Oftentimes, job seekers have posted their resumes on these boards, allowing employers and recruiters to more easily find those that are looking for a job. Most candidates who are actively searching will list their contact info on their resume as well, which makes getting ahold of them easier.

LinkedIn is another excellent source for identifying talent and learning a bit about an individual’s achievements. While you may find candidates who are actively searching for work on LinkedIn, this resource is mostly used to forge connections with other professionals who are in your similar field. LinkedIn is also a great source for finding passive candidates, as you are able to determine more or less if a candidate has the right experience and work history that you’re looking for simply from viewing their profile.

ZoomInfo is another site where you can browse various company profiles while narrowing your search results by industry, company size, and employee role within the company. This allows you to essentially identify and source anyone from any company and easily obtain their work email and phone number.

Job Descriptions

Sometimes top performers look for new opportunities on their own. This is equivalent to a lion prancing through the crosshairs of an expert hunter. When you see a top performer candidate has applied to your job, you want to jump on that!

Make sure you catch top performers with compelling job descriptions. Instead of listing a million attributes and skills, the candidate must have, list a million objectives that must be accomplished within the first 30, 60, and 90 days.

To a top performer, a job description full of required skills sounds like parents and teachers talking in a Snoopy cartoon. Get candidates excited about the challenges within your company and the opportunities for growth available to them. You’ll definitely net more good quality candidates this way.

An Intuitive Application Process

No one wants to sit through an application process that forces them to enter all of the same information that is outlined beautifully and painstakingly on their resume. Make your career page user-friendly and idiot-proof. Ask for a few fields of basic information and include a space to upload a cover letter and resume. This should provide you with enough information to at least decide if the candidate is worth a second glance.

Finding top performers requires a bit of creativity, whether you’re sourcing them from job sites or vetting them by posting a job. Make sure your application process and job descriptions cater to the best candidates.

If sourcing candidates, ensure you follow sourcing best practices by utilizing effective search strings and compelling pitches to engage candidates upon first contact.

Pre-Hire Assessment Testing

One of the best ways to identify top-performing talent is to assess candidates using a battery of competency and behavioral assessments.

These are great tools for helping you narrow down your talent pool once you’ve selected a great group of potential new hires. Assessments can help you weed out the good from the bad and identify any potential issues that don’t necessarily show up in interviews, like attitude problems or dishonesty.

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