October 1, 2013

(Published on Page 6 of the Deer Valley Times newspaper - September 2013 

Hiring the right person is not just about someone who has the skill set to perform the tasks associated with the role.  For most jobs, skills can be taught.  What is more vital and sometimes overlooked is the how a candidate will fit into the cultural of your company.  Every business has a corporate culture – whether it is consciously designed or not.  Aspects ranging from policies to behaviors to seating arrangements all contribute to the culture.  Ensuring your new employee fits into the culture will increase the likelihood of them being motivated to contribute a high level of energy to their work and stay with the company for a long time.  When you take into consideration the cost of employee turnover, which can range from 50 – 150% of the employee’s salary, hiring the right person is a smart and cost effective strategy.

1.  Document your corporate culture and provide details to your values.
Small business owners take their corporate culture for granted.  Most of the time what they think their culture is, differs from what others – especially their staff think.  Unless you are intentional and conscious about your culture, you run the risk of it being misinterpreted and therefore lacking the effectiveness you want it to have.  Your culture is the defining aspect of a business.  When you are clear about what it is, you can then work to find a candidate that not only fits into the culture but gains motivation and energy from it.

 2.  Create a checklist of essential characteristics, skills and knowledge required from the candidate.
This checklist should be used during the interview and assessment phase to track which candidates have the qualities that are most important for the job.  Remember that finding the right person is not just about having the technical knowledge to do the work but also about having the personality and values that fit your culture.  This will ensure they connect positively with your clients and staff.

3. Use geography and movement to help learn more about potential candidates.
Have you ever noticed how a conversation takes on a different feel when you are sitting at a board room table versus sitting in a cafĂ© versus walking down the fairway of the 16th hole of your favorite golf course?  Using different environments and movements are fantastic ways of expanding your conversations and questions with potential candidates.    Meet in the lunchroom or walk through the warehouse.  Lean against the wall in a casual way instead of sitting behind a desk.  These variations will open your questions up to gain wonderful insights that will help you make the right candidate choice.

4.  Create opportunities to get feedback of candidates from other company employees.
The recruiting process is a huge responsibility.  The cost component of recruiting is significant.  If the person you choose ends up leaving the firm shortly after they start working, your investment goes down the drain.  Enroll other members of your company into the process by having two people in the interview.  Create an opportunity where all your employees can meet the top candidates at a happy hour event, or at an afternoon company baseball game.  Stand back and allow your employees to connect to the candidates and see who they respond to.  In most circumstances, it will be them who will be working the closest with the new employee, so you want to make sure it is someone they like to be with.

5.  Listen to your intuition

We all get those gut feeling or intuitive hits.  However, we don’t always spend enough time reading, understanding or effectively reacting to them.  If your intuitive feeling doesn't make sense to you do some more research.  If necessary, call back your key candidates and ask more probing questions to see if that gnawing feeling becomes clearer or if light is shed on the uncertainty.