As promised in our last article, we are going to be examining the search-evaluation-hiring-retention process over the next few months, and sharing almost half a century of Executive Search insights by answering the following 6 questions:
- Who am I REALLY looking for?
- Where am I going to find them?
- How am I going to evaluate them?
- How am I actually going to hire them?
- How am I going to successfully “on-board” them?
- How am I going to retain them?
In this short article we are going to be looking at the first question, “Who am I REALLY looking for?” We have found that a successful long term hire must start with identifying who you REALLY are looking for. It is also our experience that this step is usually overlooked, or just simply assumed.
We all have 3 page job descriptions with 20+ responsibilities, a dozen ideal character traits, and skills/educational requirements, but at the end of the day what are the 5 key deliverables of the job, and what kind of person is going to have the right fit in your culture?
You need to start by asking the question “What do I need to get done?” (the “Job Specifications”) before you can determine “What kind of person could do this?” (the more traditional “Job Description”).
Once you are crystal clear on the task, you then need to identify educational background, work experience and personality/character traits necessary for someone to be successful in the role.
It’s all about the fit!
Actually, once you know who you are looking for, you will easily be able to screen prospective candidates in terms of education and experience right from their resumes. What you can’t get from a resume is this fuzzy construct called “fit”. Consequently, firms often hire on the basis of education and experience, and fire 6 months later on the basis of fit – “Smith just didn’t work out, although I don’t know why”.
2 Tricks to figure out “Fit”
Here are 2 techniques to help you get a handle on “fit”. First, think back to the best person you have ever had in that role, and identify what you liked about him/her. Similarly, think back to some of the failures, and identify why they just didn’t make it.
The other technique is to imagine yourself writing your successful new hire’s glowing first annual review, and complete the following thought: “Smith worked out really well because…”, and think about the underlying character traits that made him/her so successful.
If all of this sounds daunting, do not despair. It gets easier with practice. And remember, help is just a phone call or email away.