The unwanted resignation letter really is a double whammy. Not only does it mean that you are losing a productive and trusted team member. It also signals the start of an arduous and uncertain recruitment process. All too often resulting in a bad hire that absorbs yet more of your precious management time, energy and emotion.
Here are 5 tips to increase your chance of hiring fast and well:
Target good candidates before vacancies arise
Establish and maintain a network of rising stars who might make good team members. Take an interest in their careers, their lives and try to understand their aspirations. One leader we know makes a point of having coffee with at least one possible future candidate every month. He’s never struggled to fill a vacancy.
List the Non-negotiable Character Traits
Finding people who can do the job on paper is easy, finding the person who will be a good fit to the team and embrace your organisation’s culture can be much harder. By listing out these requirements at the outset you are considerably less likely to make a bad hire. Following a bad experience with a dishonest sales person one organisation simply added ‘liars need not apply’ to their next posting and saw responses drop but quality candidates rise.
Answer Every Answer with a Question
Weak team members can make good interviewees. The chances are they’ve had lots of practice. Get past the answers that sound impressive but lack substance by questioning every answer repeatedly. For example ‘I left my last job to go travelling’ may not be the primary reason the candidate left their previous employer. Drill down into what actually happened during their last 6 months in that role. Was there a huge leaving card with heartfelt wishes and offers to return after travelling? Or is the truth less impressive. Just the statement ‘Tell me more about that’ can illicit otherwise unspoken revelations.
Use an Expert to Gather References
Don’t be fooled into thinking gathering references in an administrative task. In fact never leave it to an administrator, ideally find a freelance investigative journalist and have them make telephone calls. Instruct them to ask challenging questions of the referees and as mentioned previously dig for the truth. You should expect to receive a list of your candidates’ strengths and weaknesses, if they are too positive ask for different referees and ideally be specific. For instance I’d like to talk to your boss at your last but one company.
Involve the Team
Some roles are best recruited not through interview but through audition. Invite the candidate to work amongst the team for a day, at the end of the day ask the team to comment and vote on the suitability of the candidate for the role.