When Ernest Hemingway was once asked what the greatest tool of a writer was, he replied, “A built-in, shock-proof s*** detector.” That advice seems to have served the writer well, and it might also be a good tool for recruiters. A combination of trusting your judgement of human character combined with your knowledge of job demands will mix well to select the candidates who are most qualified to work for the company you represent. This article will serve as a primer to finding and selecting those people.
Before You Start Looking
It is imperative, when beginning your search for an employee, to determine exactly what the needs of the position are that you are attempting to fill. After all, recruiting the right person to fill a job is much like Lewis Carrol’s advice in Alice in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you are going, any path will take you there.” Likewise, without a clear vision of what the job entails and what type of person will best fill it, anyone could fill the bill. Unfortunately, this rarely works so you must be specific in your search.
Select Your Destination
Once you have the type of person who would best fit the job you have to fill in mind, you will need to determine where you would find such a person. If, for example, you need someone who has a certain type of degree with years of experience, you would probably not want to show up on recruitment day at a local college. Educated minds will be there in abundance, but most frequently without completed degrees and without the kind of experience you need.
In many cases, finding the exact person you want to fill a position will take much more than a general recruitment or a Help Wanted ad. It will take some digging. Fortunately, recruiters are often well versed in where to find people when it comes to hanging around clubs and professional groups. These types of gatherings are rich in talented and well educated people, often who might be willing to give a new opportunity a try.
Perhaps one of the most valuable assets that recruiters should exploit in their efforts to find good job candidates are their own proclivities about people. Recruiters collect people the same way some people collect stamps or coins. The best recruiters have massive files filled with people they meet in the normal course of a business day. Further, regardless of where they are or what they are doing, they’re not shy about reaching out to anyone who they feel might be a good person to know in the future. Nowhere is off limits, and with a business card firmly in hand, good recruiters aren’t shy about asking people about themselves and what they do, only to keep those responses for the future.
Things to Remember While on the Prowl
A recruiter should have in mind the type of person he needs and roughly where he can find them. Before he reaches out, he will need to keep in mind four types of people and what motivates them to work.
Technical. Technically minded people like details. They are motivated by their ability to get into the thick of things and solve problems or create opportunities with their know-how.
Managerial. People in managerial roles know how to recruit, train, and motivate other people. They know how to direct subordinates so that their efforts can contribute to the overall mission of the organization.
Entrepreneurial. Entrepreneurial minded people, or what many call “Intrapreneurs” when they are found inside of an organization, like a quick pace. They are the ones that are up to a challenge, large or small. They are the ones who want to make things happen, quick. Entrepreneurial people can most often be found in organizations functioning as salespeople.
Visionary. Visionaries function best when they are providing the grand vision of a company and where it is going in the world. These are the dreamers, the pie in the sky folks who give the company direction for the future.
As any recruiter will tell you, there is much more to having an employee function well in an organization than to have the proper credentials. Working effectively also includes fitting into the company culture. Besides degrees and experience, if a person doesn’t otherwise fit into a company’s culture, they probably will not work in a given role. If, for example, a company’s culture embraces innovative thinking and a candidate’s background revolves around a tight and buttoned-down approach, that person might not be a good pick. A person whose personality and qualifications made them shine in a job with Disneyland might not function well when placed in the tight constraints of an organization like IBM or NASA.
Hiring Practices of the Best
A recent survey by Development Dimensions International and the recruiting resource Electronic Recruiting Exchange (ERE) revealed four hiring practices of the most successful companies. These include:
* Job interviews where candidates are asked to tell of their top skills.
* Automated resume screening.
* Assessments that evaluate factors of a candidate’s skills and how they do things as compared with the company’s values.
* Simulations that evaluate specific job-related abilities and skills.
Tests and other methods are fine for determining certain things, but when it comes right down to selecting the best person for a position, the best criterion doesn’t involve tricks, gimmicks, or even the latest scientific analysis. After all, you are attempting to hire a person, someone who is unique and different than anyone else in the world. When all is said and done, making a determination as to someone’s fitness for a position in your organization comes down to one question, “Do I believe that this is the most qualified person I have who fits a job requirements and who will fit inside of my company’s culture?”
If the answer you give yourself about the person who is sitting in front of you is yes, hire them. Otherwise, keep searching.
Additional resource: Intro Guide to Interviewing Prospective Employees