In a growing business, there is nothing as important as finding good people. Or more to the point, the “right” fit for your business. Like any lasting partnership, the “right” one is a tough person to find.
Here at Phase2 we find that the recruiting process consumes a great deal of time. But good hires are worth the time and effort and the consequences of a bad hire are unthinkable
As we move ahead with the recruiting process, here are some things we are doing to assure success.
1. Start with a good job listing. What you post and how you say it is important because it will weed out the unqualified and inspire the qualified to act . This means writing and re-writing your listing until it smacks of your culture and clearly defines the expectations of the job. Be clear, specific, thorough and honest.
2. Employ the right search tactics. You won’t ever have enough time or money to explore every hiring avenue. Decide up front what your strategy is – recruiters, job sites, referrals, etc. Then, determine what tactics will make these work – they don’t work just because you pay for them. Try a bunch of things, keep what works, throw the rest out, iterate through and see what works the next time. Like everything else in our business, we apply an agile approach to hiring.
3. Go for the best bang for the buck. We have chosen to employ a mix of job sites and referral based mechanisms.
We find the best places to list while keeping an eye towards cost.
4. Take the time to screen effectively. You can save a lot of time if you start by knowing exactly what you are looking for and what your expectations and minimum standards of consideration are. Also, know what constitutes over-qualification. Set up a review process that works for your organization.
5. Scrutinize technical experience. There is an awfully big difference between “yea I know what J2ee is” and I have the requisite experience to program in it on my own. Take that even further and you can distinguish whether someone knows the syntax or how to develop a working architecture. We have learned not to trust buzzwords, acronyms, certifications, coursework or self-assessments of proficiency as signs of technical prowess. Ask tough technical questions and be specific about your needs.
6. Make sure you get a lot of angles on a recruit. Different perspectives can help you see a recruit from the many lenses through which your people will be viewed as employees (by co-workers, customers, management, developers, partners, suppliers, etc.) Let your team ask questions designed to get a picture of how this person will deal with the various people they will encounter on the job. To do this you also have to bring in a range of different interviewers who have different styles. The more people you can get to ask good questions, the more likely you are to draw out hidden talent or uncover lurking issues.
7. Look for the cultural fit and always favor soft skills vs. hard experience. The obvious caveat here is that this only applies when you have the ability to hire a less experienced person and train/mentor them. Yes, sometimes you need that hard experience, but even then you can never sacrifice the cultural fit with your organization. Most times, the person that fits best in your culture – with your team, values and customers, is going to be the better hire even if he/she ends up moving into a different role for which they are better suited. After all if someone adds value, title doesn’t matter.
The most important thing I have learned is that these best practices come naturally when you hire the right people, because they in turn know how to find others like themselves. So get a few good ones, set up your approach and work together to find more of the “right” fits.