13 Oct 2020

What do you need to make smart hiring decisions?

Every day we have the privilege of playing matchmaker with great clients and candidates throughout the Waikato and across New Zealand. There is nothing more satisfying than making clients really happy when we find the perfect person for a role they are trying to fill. Similarly, it’s wonderful to offer someone a new job and make their day…..we can literally hear the smiles at the end of the phone line! However, before we get to that happy place; there is a lot of due diligence that needs to take place by both parties. The impact of just one new employee joining your business can be significant. With no room for error, you need to make the right hiring decision and choose someone who can hit the ground running. Many business owners who realise they’ve made a poor choice often find in retrospect they skipped steps they should have taken. Here’s our top tips to make sure you make smart hiring decisions.

1. Be really clear about what role you are filling

The point of this is to ensure you are searching for what you actually need. You must prioritise the skills and experience that are essential to success on the job. Don’t underestimate the benefit of a job description. Not only as an information source for your candidates, but as a planning tool for you as the hirer! It’s an excellent foundation for your hiring process. Occasionally you may have to compromise on your must-haves. If you’re unrealistic in your standards or essentials, you may end up with a very narrow pond to fish from.

2. Do you hire for skills or personality/fit?

Hands down – you can teach skills but it is significantly more difficult to change inherent personality and attitude (some would say impossible!). It’s especially critical to find people who mesh with your culture. In fact, it can be even more important than formal hiring criteria. One poor match can alter the entire team dynamic and create problems. Business owners will often interview for skills but forget about assessing personality and fit. This is where psychometric profiling can be extremely helpful. Consider what extra data will help you make the best hiring decision. The investment in personality and work preference assessments pay substantial dividends in the long run.

3. Don’t underestimate the value of interviewing – more than once!

Most people tell me they know how to interview people. However, I would suggest that even the most seasoned recruiters and evaluators of talent have been fooled in job interviews. An applicant presents himself or herself one way in a first meeting and then acts in a whole different manner after being onboarded…..sound familiar? Or perhaps a candidate was having an off day and didn’t live up to your expectations – but potentially was the best person for the job. By spending quality time with an applicant on several occasions and using robust interview questions, you and your team can make the most accurate assessment about a candidate’s fit. Employing a strategy of conducting multiple interviews also lets you obtain second or third opinions from other colleagues when you include them in the decision-making process.

4. Check, check, check

Once you’ve made your hiring decision, invest time in a thorough reference-checking process. It may be tempting to skip this step altogether. DON’T! If you really expect to find the right person for the job, it’s worth the extra effort to try to obtain these insights. These days there is a host of information in the public domain which is wonderful but be careful about relying too heavily on information found online. Entering someone’s name in a search engine to see what comes up may yield inaccurate or irrelevant information, including facts that are illegal to consider in a hiring decision. Whereas validated information such as Police checks, pre-employment medicals, financial checks and visa checks are robust and accurate.

Lastly, don’t be tempted to make hurried hiring decisions. One word…RESIST!