Hiring is one of the most important tasks you have when you’re a manager. You invest a lot of time and money when you hire a new staff member. And if you get it wrong, it can cost even more.
So here’s five quick tips to consider when you’re facing that empty desk in your department.
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- Prioritize the hiring process. Time is tricky to balance when you’re hiring. You want to give it enough time to know your candidates, including good interviews and reference checking. At the same time, you want to be flexible and fast so you don’t lose your best candidates to other offers. The solution is to make hiring one of your top three priorities once you start the process.
- Don’t go it alone. Who will be most impacted by this hire besides you? Include a representative of those people in the hiring process. This might include people who will be supervised by this new hire, project partners, fiscal staff or even a client. You can be clear from the start that you will make the final decision but getting input builds trust and connection.
- Include behavioral questions in the interview. Behavioral questions are the ones that ask for a story from the candidate’s past. “Tell me about a time . . . .” “Give me an example. . ..” “Describe a situation. . . “ These questions are five times more effective than straight knowledge questions. Have the candidate tell you about their past behavior in a concrete, rather than a hypothetical, manner. Behavioral questions are not easy to answer so don’t make all the questions behavioral. Pick some key traits and ask the candidate what they’ve done in that area in the past.
- Listen carefully. Obviously, you want to listen to the candidates’ answers. Hear their experience, their qualifications, their enthusiasm. (Caution: Don’t confuse introversion for lack of enthusiasm!) Listen also for what you don’t hear. Ideally, you would have a clear idea of what you’re looking for with each question and if you don’t hear something you’re listening for, consider that. It may be important or it may not, but notice it. Listen also to their questions when it is their turn. Their questions will hopefully show thoughtful attention to the job and the organization.
- Hire for alignment. Alignment is bigger than fit. It allows more variance and diversity while still ensuring that the candidate is aligned with the mission, the culture and the work of your organization. Make at least one of your behavioral questions about alignment.
Have fun with the process. Let the candidate know the kind of manager you are as well as what the job is. Pay attention to these five tips and you will be more likely to get someone competent to work at that empty desk.