It does not matter what your organization's mission or vision is, or in what industry you work, one of the fundamental requirements of effective leadership is recruiting talent that ensures a strong and vibrant work force for the future of your enterprise.
Bringing new talent into your organization is a wonderful thing -- these individuals represent growth, vitality, energy and creativity. But recruiting new people to your enterprise requires great care and attention to detail.
Whether you are directly or indirectly involved in recruiting and hiring, here are some tips to help ensure a strong and vibrant work force:
Develop a clear and detailed job description.
This defines both the search and the expectations. Hiring is a two-way street. Understand and put in writing the workplace culture you have and what you're trying to achieve. Prospective and current employees should understand the vision and how they fit in.
Once the job description is clear, be creative in spreading the word.
Your human resources department will oversee the formal job posting, but don't underestimate the importance of word of mouth. Mention the position to colleagues both internally and externally, for instance during conferences or symposia. Consider advertising in journals. Cast your net far and wide.
When the applicant pool is in place, the real work of recruiting begins: the interview process.
Involve as many team members as possible in this crucial step, and seek input from a respected associate or mentor. Arrange a full interview schedule, meeting with the candidate at the start and end of the day, gauging how he or she holds up under pressure.
Use the same questions for all candidates, beginning with easy, warm questions (How was your trip?), then moving to behavior-based questions to determine how the candidate acted in specific employment-related situations.
Examples of questions and the skill each tests:
• Describe a difficult problem you tried to solve. How did you identify the problem? How did you try to solve it? (This tests problem-solving)
• Describe a time you tried to persuade someone to do something he or she did not want to do. (Tests for leadership)
• Describe a time you decided independently that something needed to be done, then took it upon yourself to do it. (Tests for initiative)
• Describe a decision you made that was unpopular, and how you implemented it. (Describes leadership style)
• Describe how you handled a situation that disrupted your schedule. (Describes degree of adaptability)
• Describe how you have handled a difficult co-worker. (Describes interpersonal skills)
Glean the applicant's perceptions and expectations as well. Ask questions such as:
• Why do you want this position, and why are you leaving your current position? (Moving is not a problem, but the reason needs to be determined.)
• How do the expectations of your previous position compare with our expectations?
• Describe your short- and long-term expectations.
If the interview process went well and you're ready to move closer to a job offer, speak to previous employers, and beware of candidates who prefer otherwise.
If necessary, ask the applicant for a demonstration or on-site observation.
Once you have an ample supply of information in hand...listen to your gut.
Employees are more than their job descriptions; they are your support.
And remember: Don't rush.
It is okay to restart a search if the end pool of candidates just is not what you were looking for. It's better to have no employee than a poor employee.
Remember: People are your greatest resource. You should do everything possible to get the best talent on board the first time around.
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