Recruiting the best people for your business goes hand in hand with running a successful business. There are other factors in play, but recruitment is one of the most important and also one you can control the most.
Here are four tips for successful hiring:
1. Recruit people who are motivated and driven to succeed
Motivation and a drive to succeed are often far better indicators of long-term potential success in a position than academic results and previous experience.
Good academic results are an indicator that a person is driven, but they only prove they possess the drive to achieve good academic results (for which the motivations might be parental approval or peer competition).
A common assumption is that experience is the most important factor to take into account when it comes to recruitment. Obviously, to recruit within a technical area, a minimum level of technical knowledge and skills is required by a candidate, but an alternative approach is to hire a less experienced person with a larger amount of drive and hunger for success, than a more experienced person.
2. Look for people who are willing to experiment, fail and learn from their mistakes
Regarding failure as a learning opportunity rather than an embarrassment is critical to rapid development and the likelihood of someone using their initiative.
NASA asks people in interviews to discuss in detail a time that they made a serious mistake and what they learned from it. People willing to experiment will be happy to do this, people unwilling to do so generally try to excuse the failure by blaming external factors (or won’t have a failure story at all). You can’t learn from your mistakes if you don’t accept you are making them.
3. Don’t rely on interviews: introduce practical tests and competency-based hiring
Interviews are a very poor way of choosing people and companies tend to hire confident people in preference to capable ones. There is also a tendency for the hiring manager to recruit people similar to themselves.
Assessment should, therefore, be made more practical. This is easier for some jobs than others, but the very least you should be doing is a competency-based interview: very specific questions designed to work out if the candidate has the actual skills (and motivations) you need. Make sure you ask for specific examples where they demonstrated that they had the skills you want and applied them in a real-life example.
4. It’s a two-way process
Think carefully about the candidate experience – what is it like applying to you? Is it a simple and transparent process, do they get good feedback? Make sure you put as much effort into selling your company as a place to work as you do to giving people hurdles to get over and create the interest first of all.
Finally, be prepared to move fast for the right people. The best people will have many options; make sure you have your offer to them first. You will not look desperate if you have followed a rigorous selection procedure.