On first examination, recruitment seems like a rather simple process – you’re hoping to hire the best people for the job, at a competitive salary, and give them the incentive to stick around for a while. It’s as easy as that. Or is it? The hiring process is actually much less straightforward and seriously impacts your ability to implement success strategies and grow your brand.
After all, most people would agree that evaluating the average person is far from simple, but a complex situation involving people with many different desires, skills, and strengths. If you want to run a successful enterprise, you absolutely cannot think of our people as robots who can be poked and prodded to be productive in the right ways you’re looking for. After all, hiring the wrong person can not only be a waste of time but sometimes damaging to your brand on a wider level.
It’s worth asking, then, if we’re thinking about whether our hiring process is “all wrong” or not. Even if you find that certain aspects of your approach to hiring have been working well, placing those systems under a microscope allows you to think more critically about your approach to the hiring process, and make improvements for a more successful hiring process.
It’s the goal of this article to help you achieve this. Without further ado, please read on!
The hiring process right or wrong?
Rethinking traditional job descriptions
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to attract interest in your position. If you have a good job available, and communicate that clearly, then you will get applications. It’s important to remember, however, how job descriptions are changing in comparison to changing cultural norms.
For example, Gen Z won’t even apply to a job if the salary isn’t listed along with other key benefits. Does that mean they’re lazy, entitled, or too demanding? Absolutely not. It means they know what their time is worth and want to invest themselves in companies that will be candid with them.
In other words, transparency is key. If your job has the possibility of remote work, say that and you’ll get a much wider pool of candidates to choose from, especially among Gen Z and women. Your salary shouldn’t just be “competitive,” it should be researched and attractive to someone with the amount of experience you’re looking for. If you can put your best foot forward and show you’re a company willing to extend that first positive reach, then you’ll be amazed at the quality of candidates you get in response.
And, let’s talk about the education and experience portions of your job description. Make sure they fit the salary and the demands of the job you’re hiring for. Many businesses are eliminating the requirement for a college degree as they’re finding it better to train employees once they’ve hired them. Also, if your job is for recent graduates based on the salary, recognize they won’t have a lot of experience.
Sometimes, you may even want to outsource your hiring with the best staffing and hiring platform out there. This can help you subvert the entire concern about the process and connect with people quickly.
The importance of a solid cultural fit
Diversity is very important when hiring staff, although of course, hiring people solely on immutable characteristics is wrong and in many cases, illegal. It’s much healthier to think of your culture, and how people respond to it.
Does that mean a Japanese individual has no place working in a Hispanic restaurant? Of course not, that would be ridiculous, uneducated, and irresponsible to think. Thankfully, human diversity is much more complex than personal identifiers. Think about the culture of your workforce, your goals, your company, and what you’re aiming for. How is that represented in a good candidate?
The kind of person working at a hip inner-city gastropub most likely has different current priorities than someone applying to be a paralegal at a law firm. That’s not to say one couldn’t perform the other’s role given enough time and the right circumstances, it’s to say that assessing if the person in front of you knows your culture, how to navigate it, and what its norms are can be a great benefit. This also means learning a little about them.
A great example of a hiring process that failed is when Apple hired a former high-level employee who’d shown great success in driving sales at Pepsi (I’m being intentionally oblique but you can Google it to find out more details if you’re interested). He failed at Apple and the directors were forced to re-hire Steve Jobs to run the company. That’s because running a consumer products company is VERY different from running an innovative technology company.
In other words, hiring someone passionate about skateboarding in a skating shop will sometimes win out over the person with all the right qualifications, and lateral experience, but no real interest in your sector or culture. Keeping that in mind can offer true diversity, and you won’t have to discriminate to get it.
There’s also something called corporate culture which reflects the way your business operates on a personal level. Some businesses are bureaucracies where supervisors guide employees while other companies expect employees to operate with more independence. Some companies expect employees to work scheduled hours while others are flexible as long as the work gets done. Some companies are filled with camaraderie while others aren’t. You need to hire the people who “fit” with the type of business you operate. Even the best employees will fail if put in the wrong environment.
Moving beyond standard interview questions
It’s easy to watch any ten-minute YouTube video and come away with a range of answers to the most common interview questions, such as where do you see yourself in five years (which I always thought was a dumb question). In other words, a candidate could have very different attitudes than the ones presented in the interview but they watched some advice in the waiting room and knock their interview out of the park thanks to a little confidence and some pre-prepared lines.
That’s why it’s good to ask creative questions that make them think and give an honest response. For example, asking how they’d manage an upset client, what they’d do in the case of a safety hazard at work, and what their thoughts are regarding the current state of your market can all benefit you in your efforts to understand whether the candidate is right for your business.
Candidates don’t have to provide a perfect answer to every creative question you ask but, remember, it will help you learn how they think and what they prioritize. Sometimes, that’s more valuable than knowing what kind of animal they’d be or whatever icebreakers you may feel tempted to throw in to start the interview. However, don’t let us take questions like that away from you as those questions can be fun.
Seeing your candidate in person is absolutely worthwhile, of course. That being said, you can interview a much larger pool of candidates from further afield if you schedule remote interviews, at least as a first step. These interviews are much less expensive, which means you can interview more candidates and, for jobs where candidates might relocate if offered the position, it reduces the hassle experienced by your team and the candidate.
After all, a video conference is, by and large, a face-to-face interview. There’s almost nothing lost in the exchange, provided the video and audio quality are good. Here you can even schedule an impromptu interview, schedule more than one interview, or even give them a quick task to do in order to see how they creatively think about problems.
Your best possible candidate may live 200 miles away, and be willing to move to your city for the job, but can’t quite make it to a physical interview within a week due to childcare, classes, or job concerns. Should we dismiss someone for that reason alone, when they could be a great addition to your staff? Like the approach Gen Z takes to salaries, it’s good to think of a progressive approach to hiring and how to match with the best people wherever they may be. Using this strategy, you’ll be sure to achieve that.
With this advice, you’ll be sure to measure the hiring process in the best way, posting after posting.
Need marketing help to support business growth?
We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies. Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get our FREE guide to creating an awesome website, or contact us for more information on hiring us.
Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.