From our perspective as specialists in people development, rather than specialists in recruiting people, this article discusses things to think about when hiring. It is our take on making the right hire to fit your need, as well as pre-planning how to maximise the performance and wellbeing of your future colleagues.
It is difficult to quantify the impact or success of recruiting the right person for a role, but there are a number of elements to consider when hiring for a position within an organisation, team or project. Performance and wellbeing start at the point of recruiting which, in itself, begins well before you interview any candidates!
Not just Experience
We would always encourage people to strongly consider the person and their skills when hiring, as well as looking at their experience. The skills element can be verified through interviews, references and tests, and it is important to identify the skills you require in advance to ensure fit and cognitive diversity; for example, don’t just hire people you like who are like you, but who don’t bring anything different to the organisation or fill the skills gap you have.
Regarding personality, one thing we suggest is to get one of your model employees to take the candidate on a tour of your facilities. Granted this might be more difficult at the moment, but if you can involve an ideal employee in some way – one who lives the company values and who is highly tuned to its purpose – they will often be able to give a very good steer on whether the person will fit into the desired culture of your organisation.
Clive Woodward often talks about rocks and sponges, i.e. people who think they know it all versus people who are passionate about their subject and keen to learn and innovate (essentially people with a fixed mindset vs people with a growth mindset). Does the candidate invest in their self-development and continuous improvement? If asked about past failures, do they blame others or do they accept responsibility and have they thought about how they could now do things differently?
Purpose has been shown to be a key consideration for prospective employees, particularly for millennials, and finding a fit will help to boost the employee’s sense of meaning. Having a job that gives someone a sense of worth, development opportunities and which is a cultural fit, will help to boost the wellbeing of the employee and the organisation.
Build a Bank
To avoid having to find someone (anyone!) to fill a gap, you could consider building a bank of prospective employees. There is no harm in interviewing someone if you don’t have a role immediately available – as long as you are up front about this when arranging the interview – then keeping that person on file for when the opportunity arises. If you have an effective plan for business growth, you can map out who you are likely to need and when, at least for the short-medium term. Building this candidate bank when you find people you believe to be the right fit, even if at the wrong time, can help you when the time does arrive.
Of course, there is no guarantee that the person will be available when the time comes, but if you start the relationship earlier it can build rapport and, at worst, help you identify what you are and aren’t looking for to fill any given role.
If you do have an urgent vacancy that you absolutely have to fill and can’t find the ideal candidate, consider setting up a temporary contract so you aren’t committing long-term to someone who might not be quite right for your organisation. The contract can always be extended if things work out.
Know your Team
All of the above highlights how vital it is that intentional preparation is done before hiring someone. Knowing your purpose, vision, values, etc., is critical. Understanding the skills and personalities in your team, knowing what gaps exist and being very clear about your candidate specification, will make the recruitment process far more effective. Tools like psychometric and behavioural profiling, such as Myers-Briggs and Belbin, might be challenged by some as not having sufficient scientific validity to be perfect. However, they can help guide a conversation that enables you to better understand the make-up of your team, how you work together and which gaps it would be beneficial to fill.
Onboarding & Opportunities
It is worth noting that everything we’ve considered so far is merely a starting point for the next step of the journey. Having made what you believe to be the best hire, what will you, as an organisation, do to nurture that person’s passion for growth? Ensure a pre-planned onboarding process is in place and that the development opportunities discussed at interview are available. Often, developing a meaningful programme of self-discovery can be far more productive than simply providing the traditional tour around departments, especially when coupled with the support of an experienced mentor.
From a candidate perspective, enquire about development at the interview stage so you are clear too. Note, this doesn’t mean ask how quickly you will get a promotion, but find out what learning programmes and development opportunities exist and how the company will support you in taking them. Remember, this role should be the right fit for you as well as for the company!
There is undoubtedly a lot more to consider, but hopefully this will give you something to think about beyond a simple 'task list' job specification and a list of standard interview questions. Our next article will focus on employee engagement, performance management and how the relationship with a manager plays a critical role in performance and wellbeing.
Performance Teaming Foundations
Our Performance Teaming Foundations programme supports your team in building stronger connections and creating the habits of brilliant teaming. It includes exercises which help you understand the strengths, personalities and behaviours in your team, and identify potential gaps that can guide you when considering future hires. It will also enable your team to collectively set key foundations, such as your team purpose and values, that will benefit your hiring decisions and enable you to work more effectively together.
You can learn more about the Performance Teaming Foundations programme at https://www.pmsystems.co.uk/teaming.