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Episode 18: How Do You Hire the Right One?

hiring podcast Apr 26, 2022

Hiring the right person is really tough right now. What do I need to know to hire right and how do I find the right person?

Hiring right now is no joke. Even before the pandemic, hiring was hard work. Finding the right person – especially as a small business or nonprofit – is challenging. You’re in a hurry to get that new candidate in place to do the job. It can be more like … hurry up and wait … as you work to find the right one for the job. 

What You Need to Know First?

Slow down and get your answers to a couple of key questions BEFORE you dive into all the activities of hiring.

What are the qualifications and qualities for success…specifically?

You need to know specifics – but not just big bucket words like, “organized” “detail-oriented” or “good communicator” or “great at building relationships”. This list is great as “identifiers” to help candidates self-sort >> but not great to help you evaluate. 

  • Look at the job description. Pick 3 qualifications you can’t live without
  • Then identify 3 culture qualities based on your team values (check out ideas HERE on Patrick Lencioni’s Humble, Hungry and Smart)

What is your criteria for evaluating top 3 qualifications and culture qualities? 

Develop your own system of criteria to prioritize resumes or sort out top candidates after the first round of interviews. Articulate them before you start to create a more objective backdrop to your evaluation of candidates. Try a (1-5) rating system for each quality. 

5 - experience fits and the candidate will be able to jump in with minimal training

4 - experience is adjacent (similar) and candidate will need some training

3 - experience almost meets requirements, but could develop skills

2 - experience doesn't seem to be in place, but you have some questions

1 - experience is not present in resume or initial interview

You can’t evaluate the culture qualifications in the same way – they most likely won’t show up on the resume, but you could create a similar system of evaluation post interviews that would help you evaluate using a 3 point system or it might even be a pass/fail situation.

Ask Interview Questions Based on 3 Qualifications and 3 Culture Qualities

Then, you need to ask interview questions that help you evaluate your 3 qualifications and 3 culture qualities. It’s easy to skip over this part and just ask generic interview questions, like “what’s your greatest strength and weakness”. Your questions should look and sound like the qualifications or qualities you are hiring for. 

  • Review the job description and your top 3 qualifications. Craft questions that ask about examples of how they have accomplished related tasks. 
  • Use scenarios – especially if it can be a real challenge you are facing as an organization. Invite them to share how they might approach the situation.
  • Get samples of previous work to demonstrate a skill – like writing or public speaking.
  • For those soft-skills kinds of questions, invite them to share a story, ask what they learned about themselves in the situation – that’s what you really want to know.

It can be hard to take the time to do this with everything that’s on your plate, but over time you will create sort of a library of questions you can use now and with future hires. 

Example: The chart below is a starter chart for demonstration purposes. You can create your own with the specific qualifications of the job and the culture of your organization. The questions below are idea starters rather than a complete list of possibilities.

How Do You Find That Right Candidate?

Let’s say you’ve done your homework. You have your top 3 job qualifications you can’t live without; the 3 critical culture qualities that help people succeed AND you’ve got your interview questions ready to go. Now, you know what you need to know to tackle the “how to”.

Document or Talk Through Your Evaluation

After you have completed all your interviews and gotten to your final selection or top two or three, it can be easy to jump back into going with your gut to make a final decision. Taking some time to document a comparison of candidates can help you make a more thoughtful decision.

  • Try just a simple table with a column for your 3 qualifications and your 3 culture qualities
  • Then, make a column for each candidate 
  • Drop a word or phrase on your reflections on each candidate as compared to your top 3 
  • Go back to the rating system we talked about – the scale of 1-5 and make changes

You might be a verbal processor vs. a documentor – so find someone on the team and do the same thing by talking through each candidate. 

Check out this example based on the interview question table above. Use it to jot your observations or as a guide to discuss candidates. 

Seek Wise Counsel

Hopefully the process will make it more clear, but if it’s not you might want some outside guidance.

  • Bring in a board member as a sounding board
  • Add others in the organization as interviewers
  • Consider hiring assessments to compare final candidates and explore job fit
  • Spend time praying in through with moments of quiet reflection

I fear I may have overwhelmed you! It was a broad question and it’s a broad answer – but narrow it down? 

  • What is most important to you as you head into your next hiring decision?
  • What do you think has been the sticking point for you in the past?
  • What connected most on what could make a difference for your team?

Start with ONE thing you want to try with your next hiring decision. Save this blog or listen to the podcast and come back to it afterward and glean some more for the next time. And, don’t be shy – send me your questions! I’d love to learn more about what is connecting to you and what is still a little “sticky” and unclear.

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