Hiring the right person for the job isn’t easy. The world of work has changed considerably, and we must change our hiring and support processes to meet the challenges of those changes.
So how can you ensure you are making the right hiring decision? The three keys that we use to help support better hiring practices are Passion, Ability and Cultural Fit.
Key #1: What’s their Passion?
Let’s face it: people who love what they do, do it better. They're happier, more productive and more engaged. The best strategy is to have candidates identify and relate powerful stories by asking insightful and open-ended questions. This will also allow you to assess their communication style.
Here are a few examples:
· What did you enjoy most, and least, about your last workplace?
· Tell us the story about your most satisfying project.
· Tell us about your favorite and least favorite managers.
· What is an example of a failure that you learned the most from?
Asking candidates about their hobbies can give you even further perspective. For example, if you find out a candidate writes poetry, the person is likely to be highly literate and creative. If they run marathons, there is a good chance they are highly disciplined and persistent in their training, which could possibly translate into a disciplined employee with a competitive streak.
When asking these questions, pay close attention to a candidate’s responses. They can provide subtle insight into the person’s overall character. For instance, when asking about a past professional mistake or error, you may find out how the candidate handled the issue, but you may also see how the candidate handles being asked about their errors.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to not monopolize the conversation. Give the candidate a chance to ask questions. This can provide understanding into what's important to them, how perceptive they are, and possible concerns they may have about the position.
Key #2: Put Abilities to the Test
Comprehensive questions are ideal for gathering information but putting candidates into action can be just as revealing. Getting a sense of how they perform on the spot can reveal if a candidate is really prepared for the job. If the job involves answering phones, for example, have the candidate answer a mock phone call.
If you’re looking for a writer, throw out a topic idea and have the person outline how he or she would tackle such a writing assignment. You could even give them some time to complete an assignment to get a sense of their writing style. One thing we've found valuable is asking our prospective marketing candidates to come up with five different ideas for blogs. After coming up with a list, the candidate is required to write one of those blogs, giving our current marketing department a chance to see how the candidate writes. Another way to uncover organizational skills and creativity is to ask for a PowerPoint and/or portfolio that includes highlights of their career journey.
Key #3: Assess the Cultural Fit
We always recommend assessing if the personality fits the position, and we do this using the Birkman method. While having the right skills and abilities for a position is important, the right personality for the company also plays a part. Skills can be learned and refined over time, but the core personality traits tend to be stable. While there are benefits of all personality types, look at the traits that would mesh well with both the company and the position.
The ideal candidate should have the personality and passion to feel at ease in their role. Just as importantly, they should have a real interest in the functions and tasks of their role.
Using the Birkman as a personality assessment as part of your talent selection process can be a great help in this area. The Birkman assessment can provide you with information about a candidate’s interests, strengths and possible stress reactions. When those needs are met, and personality traits are aligned with a position, both the employee and employer reap the benefits. An employee who feels passionate about their work and comfortable in the culture will bring their best traits to the job.
The ability to demonstrate a well-rounded hiring process should model the expectations of the culture fit. The approach of getting to know an individual before officially hiring is a best practice for not only allowing the individual to achieve a better organizational fit, but to allow the organization to save a tremendous amount of time up front to support a better fit overall.
Remember, employees are your most important commodity, and it pays to do your due diligence when hiring new talent. Utilizing these three traits can give you the information you need to make the best hiring decision for your organization.