What to look for when hiring?

Dotan Sagi

As in life, so in workers’ selection and recruitment, it’s all about matching. Selecting talent who are right for your specific needs makes life great. Choosing the wrong people makes life complicated and frustrating. So how can we achieve that peace of mind knowing we hired the right CEO, the next Head of Marketing, Compliance Manager, or Sales Executive?

Is there a magic x-ray scanner that would unveil a person's true capabilities, personality, leadership skills, and cultural fit without spending 50-70 days and yet having a shred of uncertainty?

We'll look at a few potential ways to solve this challenge below.

Recruitment experience for hiring managers and candidates

Let's be honest - in a fantasy world - we would have been taught how to select the best fit for our team. Companies would invest time and money in training their hiring managers in the mystical arts of finding a person with all the right qualities and characteristics. However, selecting the best person is not just a matter of how well she or he knows how to do the job; ultimately, it involves a general fit to the entire organizational system - its culture and vibe. Here, several challenges might emerge: first, does the person fit the job, the team, and the organization? Second, how will you measure this fit in terms of selection tools?

As teams and processes are not structured the same in every company or department, here is an example of how these challenges become a reality when selecting and recruiting a new employee: People are individuals and different from each other. That's what makes us unique! So if a team is made of distinctive individuals, finding one person who would bring the ultimate balance to the system is near impossible (more on that later). Promoting someone is actually moving them from a role that they excelled at to a new one which does not guarantee their success. Also, there is still doubt and the succession challenge of filling up their previous role. Does past success on a job or in an organization guarantee success at your organization with YOUR people? 

Now, let's look at this challenge from a different perspective - the second challenge. In case you would like to examine this fit to the organization - should a traditional interview, computerized cognitive aptitude test, and/or recommendations be enough? One might argue that these are actually irrelevant measures. For example, will an excellent and distinguished salesman be a good salesman’s department manager? We know he knows how to sell, but does this guarantee he knows how to manage?

Here we suggest that the selecting tools should include not only an abilities test or motivation, it should also include a simulation of the new role’s requirements and sensing the soft aspect of the role, which might include working with teams,customers, meeting strict deadlines, and handling red-tape assignments. 

The cost of hiring the wrong person

The US department of labor says hiring the wrong person costs 30% of that team's productivity in terms of profit. Other articles suggest that profit margin drops when a person is missing just a few capabilities that may have gone unnoticed in the interviewing process entering the team.

But what about morals and fit to the organizational culture and team vibe? These aspects are difficult to define, whatsoever measure, yet, they have a significant effect. This outcome affects - in terms of both the performance and the mental state - not only the team and the hiring managers but also the person who just got hired. If there is no fit, it might take a few months (or even weeks) to evaluate a hire's true capabilities and a vicious cycle of dissatisfaction, unfulfillment, and decreased motivation. Stress is created for all parties involved.

As much as the hiring process is long, stressful, and tiring, in the larger picture, it's only about 10% of the process when hiring the wrong person. The remaining 90% is all about fixing mistakes that followed that hire - and in most cases, beginning the entire recruitment process all over again.

The ability to detect those small nuances is near impossible and often impacted by bias, overconfidence, and inaccurate self-developed frameworks.

What to consider when making a hiring decision?

After we've learned what we should not do to avoid bad hiring decisions, and once we've collected our "finalists" for a particular position, we arrive at a splitting decision regarding which one to hire.

Here are a few points for you to consider while contemplating the subject:

1. Will this person be able to do the job?

Here we are referring to the person's capabilities in how they will perform in everyday situations, how they will interact with others under pressure, and the quality of their work.

It takes every individual about six months to fully adjust to their role and produce high-quality outcomes. Still, a good practice is to hold real-life simulations with candidates and current team members to see who does what and how well, measuring response time, multi-tasking, etc.

Pro - You can see and learn how candidates will perform in real-life situations and see if they are a right fit as far as capabilities are concerned.

Con - If assessing candidates from multiple locations, bringing them to different locations and monitoring them all will be complex and expensive.

Also, data upload, storage, and maintenance in such matters could prove difficult.

   2. Will this person fit our organizational culture and team vibe?

So what is a cultural fit? In general, a candidate will have a cultural fit with a company if they share common values. Organizational values are usually manifested on the company's website or in the job description under the who we are section. However, how these values are translated and reflected in daily routines and behaviors is another story. Before hiring, organizations should first deep-dive into their organizational norms, symbols, language, and rituals - the main components of culture - to understand ‘who they are?”. Then it would be easier to examine with candidates how well they accept these characteristics, believe in them, and stick to them.

Pro - A cultural fit could cover some missing inadequacies as long they do not contradict the candidate's core values (and vice versa). The hire will undergo a socialization process in the company and with colleagues. Having a cultural fit also indicates that everyone in the company has internalized the values and norms, and a person that fits that category will most likely get along just fine with others.

Con - Candidates will not always be fully transparent about their habits, working norms or values when needing a job. When such a case happens, it could potentially backfire in a later stage after investing time and resources in a new hire.

3. Will we fit in this person's life?

What are the candidate's plans for the near and far future? What is their current living situation? Could this be a good fit for them personally? Expectations such as options for remote working, private office vs. open space, number of days off, meeting preparations norms, formal and informal communication patterns, and even dressing codes are all critical personal and organizational “crossroads” that must be figured out during the hiring process.

All points mentioned above are essential things to remember in each hiring process we start. A wrong move could lead to unfortunate results.

Tools, methodologies, and best practices for recruitment

Many tools could help with this process. Each could perform a great job in some aspects of recruitment, from sourcing techniques, ATS platforms, interview methodologies, outsourcing, aptitude, personality, and evaluation tests, questionnaires, and more.

You could google or go on youtube and start searching right now. The possibilities are endless.

As outlined above, what needs to be considered are your needs and awareness of the process. Knowing first who your organization is will allow you to pinpoint your recruitment needs and choose the tools and solutions accordingly. Making the hiring process cost and time effective is just the first start. The ultimate goal is, of course, to find the person who will contribute most to your journey and success.

Are you looking to streamline your talent acquisition process and get the right talent for your needs? Click on the "Get in touch" button in the navigation bar.

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