The Seven Steps to Hiring - Part 1

When we spoke with Sally De Rosa on the #Leadership101 Podcast we covered how to grow teams whilst maintaining your culture fit.

I had a lot of great feedback from our listeners that this was a really relevant topic and something that many managers face, especially when working within fast growing businesses. Having a background in Executive recruitment and a passion for creating great places to work, hiring for culture, fast, whilst maintaining ‘fit’ is something I spend a lot of time thinking about.

At the core, it’s people that really make or break a business. Yet often, managers are given the responsibility to hire without any direction, training or education. On the surface, the steps to hiring someone can look relatively straightforward;

  1. Identify needed resource/skill set.
  2. Summarise need in a written job description.
  3. Post job description and engage in specialist to expand the network (optional).
  4. Review CVs.
  5. Interview qualified applicants.
  6. Deliberate.
  7. Hire.

What could go wrong?

Well, in essence, everything.

Here’s what happens most of the time and how you can avoid making bad hires:

  1. Identify needed resource/skill set…

…when you actually needed them yesterday and it becomes super urgent and rushed. As you have not had the time or headspace to do the due diligence, this often leads to bad hires. Build a talent roadmap, yes it will be agile and will change, but by identifying potential roles/profiles you can start building up your talent pools NOW so when you need the resource you aren’t starting from zero. I like to advise my clients on being strategic on how they bring in skill set into their team. I break it into 3 categories; 1) which skills are you committed to building in-house (who can you train up as part of their development), 2) which skills are we going to invest in by hiring a full-time person that will add value to the whole team, and 3) which ones will you engage on a freelance basis, you may not need that skill set 100% of the time but essential in order to deliver.

This approach ensures that internal talent are continuing to learn, grow and adding value to the organization. When the pace is fast it can be tempting to hire externally for all new roles, but this can make the internal team feel under-appreciated and can create tension between ‘old’ and ‘new’ employees. Don’t create a ‘white knight’ scenario where you can’t move forward until the ‘new people’ come in. You are setting them up for failure as well. It also avoids the typical ‘AH 😱 we need someone who can make this happen ASAP’. This leads to a mad rush in hiring, you find the person that does that one thing well, only to discover you needed that one thing done well, a couple times a year. They then spend a large part of their time looking for stuff to do. Unfulfilled team members are not good for overall team vibes.

Look ahead and identify which skills/perspectives your team will need going forward, start thinking about which ones you can train up, which ones are freelance, and which ones are a dedicated hire. Try to balance between all 3 categories.

2. Summarise need in a written job description…

Which often leads to describing what I call the ‘Unicorn’ candidate. They have all the things and have done all the things, and they work for the competitor, but they’ll be happy to take a pay cut to work with you. 🙃 reality is, they don’t exist. This happens because you have a wishlist of experience, background, personality and education and since you’re rushed, you don’t have time to really think about the necessities to do this role. Instead, you look for the person that seems to have it all and never end up finding them, so you hire second best. 🤦‍ Avoid. Filter it into 5 Drivers. These drivers will help you filter candidates appropriately and constructively. They should be balanced, three should be skill based and two should be behavioural/motivational (what are they motivated by). For example;

  1. They must have experience in building relationships and closing deals💰💰.
  2. Can evangelise the brand, demonstrated by speaking externally.
  3. Boundless energy and has the scars to show from doing team transitions and change.
  4. Experience working in fast pace companies and knows what it means to work without a lot of process/procedure, isn’t afraid of rolling up their sleeves and driving the solution.
  5. Is motivated by making an impact not hefty pay-checks, titles, bonus potential

Yes, this is challenging I know, but it forces alignment amongst the hiring team and plays a massive part in Step 5 (Interviewing).

3. Post job description and engage in specialist to expand the network (optional)…

I’m going to split this one into two parts; 1) Posting Job Description and 2) Using Recruitment Specialists

  1. Posting Job Description

You can’t expect to post it on your website/LinkedIn/job sites and expect to find the winning candidate 🙌 Yes this can happen, but in my experience, it is often the exception not the rule — OR — you have an exceptional internal recruitment team managing the process for you. If you’re brand a) doesn’t have a community of people wanting to work for you or b) isn’t very well known and/or c) doesn’t have a long list of people engaging with it, then you are going to have to put in a lot of effort finding the right candidates. This means scheduling time into your calendar and prioritising it over things. Keep that in mind. Good recruiting does not just happen on the sidelines. It has to take priority over all your other tasks, treat it accordingly.

2. Hiring Recruiters

You can’t ‘outsource’ building a great team. It’s like when founders get annoyed when salespeople don’t sell the company as well as they can. Using recruiters is a great way to move a process forward but don’t wash your hands of the process. They don’t work for your company, they are not part of the culture, and they have unlikely ever done the job. Their role is to expand your network and spend the time finding the right people to put in front of you. ‘Selling in’ the role and the company is your responsibility. A good recruiter will rightly force the internal hiring team into alignment, many recruiters do not. Those that do not are the ones that end up wasting everyone’s time, but don’t blame them for you lack of preparation. Do the work up front, write the job description (do not outsource this step), be clear on what are the needs and wants, explain the culture and what kind of person would thrive within it. Hiring is one of, if not the, most important parts of your job, do not passively outsource it to someone else.

Part 1 done. Part 2 will follow. I will cover how to;

4. Review CVs.

5. Interview qualified applicants.

6. Deliberate.

7. Hire

Reflect on the first 3 steps and identify what you could be doing differently or better. Share what has helped you most when it comes to hiring in the comments 👇

Until next time. Sign up to our Newsletter to get weekly #Leadership101 digest.

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Gillian Davis