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  • Writer's picturejana tulloch

How to Hire Great Talent

Hiring great talent doesn't have to be a daunting task but it is more than just filling a position. It's about finding someone who aligns with your business's culture, values, and long-term goals. For small businesses, each new hire can have a significant impact on productivity, morale, and the bottom line, so getting hiring right is critical. In this blog, we'll walk you through the steps to attract, evaluate, and secure the best candidates for your team.

Crafting the Ideal Candidate Persona

Before you even post your job opening, it's crucial to know who you're looking for. Creating an ideal candidate persona involves a deep dive into the characteristics, skills, and qualities that your perfect candidate possesses. This persona should encapsulate not just the hard skills necessary for the job but also the soft skills and personality traits that would make someone a great fit for your company culture.

The Art of Separating Job Descriptions from Job Postings

A common mistake in the hiring process is treating the job description and the job posting as the same document. However, they serve different purposes. The job description is an internal control document that outlines the responsibilities, necessary skills, and qualifications for the role. Think of it as a detailed user manual for the job, one that helps inform hiring, performance, and compensation.

On the other hand, the job posting is your opportunity to sell the position and your company to potential candidates. It's the advertising piece that should highlight what makes your company an attractive place to work, showcasing the benefits and opportunities that come with the role. With a job posting, you can more effectively communicate both the demands of the position and the allure of your company. Candidates want to know 'what's in it for them', and why they should chose your company over another. Make sure you're positioning your company as an employer of choice!

Conducting Effective Interviews

The interview process is your best opportunity to evaluate how well candidates match your ideal persona. However, to truly gauge a candidate's fit, interviews must be standardized to some extent. This means preparing a set of core questions that explore both the competencies and the skillsets required for the job. It's not just about what candidates have done in the past but how they've done it and how they approach problems.

Behavioral interview questions can be particularly revealing, as they require candidates to provide examples of how they've handled specific situations in the past. This approach helps you understand their thought processes, problem-solving abilities, and how they might perform in your company's unique environment. An example of a behavioral interview question around the ability to handle stress could be, "Tell me about a time when you felt really overwhelmed; what was going on,and how did you get through it?"

The Importance of Conducting References

Reference checks are a critical, though often overlooked, part of the hiring process. They provide an opportunity to verify the information shared by the candidate and to gain insights into their work style, strengths, and areas for improvement. When conducting reference checks, it's essential to ask open-ended questions that encourage detailed responses. Instead of simply verifying employment dates and titles, delve into the candidate's performance, their relationship with coworkers and supervisors, and their overall reliability.

It is also critical to obtain references from past managers, and recent ones. If an individual cannot provide two professional references from managers, you should likely pass on hiring them.

In Summary

Hiring great talent for your small business takes a bit of practice and a bit of standardization. By understanding the importance of creating a detailed candidate persona, effectively separating job descriptions from job postings, standardizing interviews to evaluate competencies and skillsets, and conducting thorough reference checks, you can streamline your hiring process and increase your chances of finding the perfect fit for your team. Remember, the goal is not just to fill a vacancy but to enrich your company with individuals who will contribute to its growth and success. Poor hires cost you more in the end than taking the time to do it right at the start.

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