Recruiting the best people into your organization is the easiest way to get the best performance.
Starting off well, is by far the quickest and simplest method of having the right employees in the right places. So here are a ten steps to getting it right…
- Be Clear on What You Want: Having a vision for what you want from your organization, business or team is vital in the first instance. Then you can get really clear on who you are looking for, what they will bring to complement existing team members and how they will be a step (or two!) above the people you’ve already got.
- View Existing Employees Objectively: Whilst you may have befriended some of your existing people (well, it’s nice to be liked, isn’t it!), built great rapport and made some progress in developing them, don’t be tempted to go easy on candidates from your existing pool. If you want to make giant leaps, you have to do it firmly and very, very honestly. This is no time for getting soft. Internal promotion of the wrong people is the biggest reason for businesses under-performing – and the biggest reason for discord.
- Be Clear on What’s Not Happening: With the vision you have and the people you’ve already got – check with yourself – what’s not working right and who am I looking for to make that happen? What experiences will they have? How will they behave? What key questions do I need to hear answers for? What will they bring that will be different and much, much better than I have already?
- Dump Your Assumptions: When interacting, and even interviewing, keep objective. You have to be really strict here with yourself (in fact you are probably the biggest problem you have, but that’s another piece altogether). Be factual and dump any prejudices you have. In fact you might not even realize you have preferences, but you have. Now is the time to recognize absolutely what the role needs, not you personally. Though you might also defer to 11 (yep, there’s an 11!), below.
- Concentrate on ‘I’ Make sure that when you are hearing answers from your potential recruit, that they tell you all about them. Keeping them to ‘I’ answers is far more revealing than ‘we’ or ‘they’ or ‘us’. It is in your interest to dig at this and ask them precisely how they were involved themselves. Then you start to find some of the real truth. This enables better judgments and consequent decisions.
- Be Supportive at Interview: Yet you want to get the best from them. Take time to put them at their ease through a few general questions to get them talking. You are not there to catch them out – you want success for you in recruiting well and for them to show you truly what they’ve got to offer. This is your job, not theirs. So often interviewers get this the wrong way round.
- Listen Hard & Question Deeper At interview, most of your time will be listening closely to what they are saying. If, in an interview situation, you catch yourself saying more than them, you have the balance way wrong – it needs to be you 30% max and them at least 70%. And when you listen, listen out for the things they say and notice where there is a moment you would want to know more. This comes up several times in a response. All you need to do is note these and pick a few in relation to the role offered – and ask a little more! ‘You mentioned x, tell me a little more about that…’
- Pick for Difference: It’s easiest to pick people like you. You get better with people you like and you tend to like people, like yourself! Yet sometimes it is a wonderful asset to have someone who grates a bit! Someone who has a different philosophy. Someone who is not afraid of you or to challenge and question back. Sometimes, challenging for you though it may be, it is a risk worth taking. And a very valuable asset.
- Keep on the Lookout: By developing great ways of building rapport with people, you create intelligence networks in your own workplace, that frequently serve to provide solutions close to home – often from unexpected sources. Sometimes, if your natural state is to relate well with others, you’ll spot people outside your own business who will fit exactly what you need. Make the best of this – it is a huge asset and you will build your ‘perfect team’ quicker and more efficiently.
- See Them in Action: Where you can, work out a way of assessing them in action if possible. Use your eyes and ears to absorb how they perform in an experiential situation. Get clear what you need to know and let them do their thing. In a work experience it’s hard to fudge, so you get to see more.
- Go With Your Gut: Despite all the myriad of psychometrics, experiential based assessments, handwriting and facial analysis etc. that you employ, remember that sometimes you have an instinct worth listening to. Don’t be frightened to go with it sometimes. It generally pays off more times than not and is a risk, through experience, which is worth taking.
It takes a lot of effort to get the right people. It takes a whole lot more energy (and focus and bitterness sometimes), to manage poor performers; square pegs recruited for round holes. Taking time, when you have the opportunity, to start from scratch is an opportunity not to be wasted.
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