How To Hire The Person, Not The Position

 It can be hard finding the right person to fit an open position, especially if your past company hires were not necessarily successes. The hiring process is an internal investment in time with the average time to hire taking 43 days according to recruiting software company Workable. With a competitive pool of professionals searching for jobs, it can be difficult to differentiate who will be the best option for your company. 

One of the most common mistakes that HR departments make is ranking a resume (a piece of paper) above the actual person. More often than not, the person is not adequate for your company culture. To avoid this, here are 5 Easy Tips to hiring the right person from HR expert, Sarah Cooney.  

1. Look For A Match

Yes, hiring the resume over the person is the wrong way to go, however, the right person will be a fit for the company AND the position. There are plenty of individuals with great experiences on their resumes, and now with technology, it is easy to filter out the ones you want to further review. Again, do not stop when you think you find someone with better qualifications than the other candidates, as a resume is not the only criteria that goes into finding a great hire. Sarah Cooney, who has over ten years’ experience in hiring people, once believed that a resume was the most important criteria. “Early on, I would be so impressed by someone’s resume; that I would focus solely on their credentials and wouldn’t give the cultural fit its proper importance.  More times than not when just focusing on an impressive resume, it ended up not being a successful hire. When the components don’t match what you as a company stand for and the person you hired, you find yourself spinning your wheels trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole.”

 

2. Call First

A preliminary phone call should not be conducted like an interview. The call is to help get to know the candidate and for them to get to know your company without the added pressure of answering interview type of questions. Cooney reiterates, “That initial phone call serves a two-fold purpose; it allows me to provide a high-level overview of the job and company for the individual to understand what we do and what we are about.  It also allows me to find some personal common ground to make it a more conversational back and forth discussion. This really gives me the opportunity to gauge some aspects of their personality- i.e. does the conversation flow easily or is it hard to pull answers from the person? Will they fit in with our company culture? etc.

 

3. Find A Connection

Hiring someone is a lot like dating, you need to find a connection before you agree to a second date. In this instance, finding a connection over the preliminary phone call is a great start, and once that connection is established, then bring the person in for an on-site visit. The on-site interview gives multiple employees a chance to gauge the first impression of the candidate. Part of a great first impression, according to Cooney, is when a candidate does their homework on your company or industry. “Nothing impresses me more than when a candidate can tell me what we do as a company instead of me having to explain it, even if it isn’t 100% spot on. I thoroughly appreciate the effort and always take note of their diligence.  Some industries can be confusing- especially in tech, but showing that you have done some homework really does go a long way. Come to the table with ideas during an interview. I LOVE seeing initiative in candidates.” If a candidate doesn’t even have the inclination to research before their interview, are they really a right fit for your company?


4. Decision Time: Qualifications Or Likability

Making a decision could be the hardest part of the interview process: who to choose? When trying to choose between two or more candidates, always go with your gut. Qualifications aside, likability of a candidate and their ability to ease in with other employees takes precedence over all other factors. Cooney’s experience with her intern program confirmed that hiring the person with the better personality fit than the qualifications works. “All of the candidates I meet are highly qualified, so tuning into how they will fit with our company culture becomes the key determining factor.  I have had some really hard decisions when it comes down to the final two. I have definitely had instances where the final hire really came down to the person that has the best personality fit for our culture even if the other option looked like the better fit “on paper” because I knew the one that fit in with our culture would be a successful internship for them, as well as us.”


5. Are They All Talk And No Show?

Finding the right candidate does not stop after the interview process is over. The process continues into their first couple of months at your company to ensure that they were the right choice. Individuals can look great on paper and talk a big game in person, but still not live up to the expectations of the position. “I have had candidates that looked fantastic on paper- they had all the right qualifications and experience needed; but after we brought them on and took them through our orientation and onboarding program, it was very evident it just wasn’t a good fit….and then came the hard conversations.” In addition to the hiring process, onboarding is also an important part of the journey for both employees and the employer that should not be overlooked according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Cooney  trusts in her onboarding program, because without it, it would have taken longer to draw that conclusion of an employee fit with the culture. “That is what makes a solid orientation and onboarding program so important, it allows you and the employee to really find out if this is the ideal opportunity for you both.” Continue to track the employee’s fit, especially in the beginning, to ensure you made the right choice.

Interviewing and hiring can be a difficult process but following these 5 Easy Tips for Hiring the Person, Not the Position bring some clarity to the process and help make things a little easier.