Every company has a list of priorities that they consider when looking to hire a new member of staff. Usually, this list will include professional qualifications, role-specific knowledge and prior experience within a similar role. It is at interview stage when it is then assessed whether or not they are a good fit for the existing team. But has it occurred to you that the candidates are almost definitely doing the exact same thing? When job hunting, they will be looking for roles that match their knowledge and skillset and that will help them progress in their chosen career path. If and when they get to interview stage, they will then be analysing if they can visualise themselves working and growing within the company. An alignment in values is something that is of equal importance for both parties.
So how can you help to ensure that the candidates you are attracting to your vacancies are going to be a perfect match for you?
Take Park Street People as an example: we are a relatively small and close-knit team, so therefore we have a very team orientated environment. As a result of this, whenever a new member of staff is interviewed for our business, each of us are given the opportunity to meet with the interviewee for a brief chat. This is a positive experience for all involved: our directors gain a wider opinion as some of us will ask things that they may not have thought of, the team feels involved and as though our voices are being listened to, and the interviewee has a clear view of exactly the type of team they will be stepping into.
Now, this approach will obviously not work for everyone. If you are a large company, it would be almost impossible (and not to mention very time consuming and very daunting!) for every employee to meet with every interviewee. However, if you are looking to hire new staff because a team is expanding, or because you have taken on a new project that requires more heads, it is very beneficial for both the interviewee to meet with the team that they will be working with and for the team to meet with the interviewee that could be joining them. This is especially profitable if the team will need to be working very closely together, as you do not want there to be any conflict or difficult personality clashes further down the line. This also has positive repercussions within your existing team, as not only is it sending a clear message to them that you will take their opinions into consideration, but it also promotes staff retention as you are continually working to develop a strong team that are a good personal and professional fit.
Prioritising what is important in a new employee
If you are a company that has particularly strong company values, it is a good idea to ask more personality based questions when interviewing to ensure a good cultural fit. Asking a candidate things about their goals and ambitions, personal as well as professional, and giving them internal examples will better help both parties to ascertain if they are a good fit for one another. A happy worker is always a more productive worker, and you do not want to hire someone that is going to become dissatisfied within the first few months because their values do not align with the company’s.
Everyone is different and requires different things in order to produce their best work and be most productive. Some people need a corporate environment that requires a suit and tie (literally and metaphorically) to keep their mind focused; others may feel that this stifles them and are therefore unable to produce their best work in these conditions. Look at where your company falls with regards to its level of formality and try to adjust your interview process accordingly. If your interviewee starts cracking under the pressure of a high profile, formal interview, this could be a warning sign. Similarly, if you are more of a relaxed and informal company in nature, your interviewee may not know how to respond in an interview that has more of a conversational tone to it.
Look at your hiring process
Another thing to consider is how stringent your hiring process is. Are you being strict enough, or are you being too strict? When looking to hire a new member of staff, there are certain questions you must ask yourself. If you are looking to replace a member of staff who has moved into a new role, think about what they did really well in the role and the skills they had that their replacement needs to have. Then, think about how the role could change to benefit the company, the team, and the new member of staff in terms of development. If the person you are replacing has moved on to a new role with your company, it is a good idea to have them have a hand in finding their successor. They will know better than anyone what the challenges of the role are and the type of character that will excel in the position. Utilise this knowledge! If you are looking to hire for a brand new role, think instead about what exactly it is that you are hoping to get out of this new position and what you would like to have achieved within the first year of making the hire. Having a clear goal for the role will help you massively in finding an employee that can achieve it.
Something else that is worth thinking about is how you go about gaining proof of a potential employee’s skills. Sometimes, the claims they have made on their CV can fall short in reality, which leaves you in a difficult position. Carrying out testing interviews is a good way of combatting this. If there is specific software knowledge that is needed in a role, for example, is there a way you can physically test this as part of your interview process? If the role is going to require a lot of interaction and the ability to build a rapport with potential clients/ customers, could you host an assessment centre to see how different candidates interact? This is also another good benefit of panel interviews: you will see how they respond to a variety of personalities and how they behave in a group conversation. This is another thing that can improve staff retention as it increases your likelihood of hiring good candidates that are going to benefit the business in the long-term.
You want to make hires that are going to best benefit both your company and the individual.
Overall, every company wants to be making hires that benefit the business and the team, and allow the chosen individual to flourish in their new environment. Your company culture is unlikely to change around one person and by our nature as individuals, it is difficult for us to drastically change key elements of our personailty to fit with an environment that just plain isn’t the right one for us. By assessing your hiring process and ensuring that it reflects your company as much as it can, you are more likely to attract the perfect people for you and have a higher first-time success rate.