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Hire Smarter, Not Faster

This article originally appeared in Staffing Stream.

Recruitment is becoming as competitive as ever. Companies are now looking to hire the best of the best – not just those who have the necessary expertise and experience, but also those who will fit in well with the team. These people are the “A-Players,” individuals who exhibit the highest level of productivity while also living out the company’s core values.

However, recruiters don’t always know how to go about finding those ideal candidates. In fact,  83 percent of companies reported having trouble recruiting viable candidates, according to a 2019 study from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). Finding the “right” talent, in every sense of the word, requires taking the recruiting process a step further than just looking through resumes until someone stands out. It may take more time and effort from both the employer and candidate, but it ultimately will save the company money and the stress of constant turnover.

Here are a few extra steps you can implement to find exceptional talent:

1. Screen for intelligence. A candidate can seem smart and well-versed in an interview, but intelligence goes deeper than knowledge of the industry or conversational skills. Have each candidate complete a skills test that covers not only basic qualifications for the job, but also things like logic, personality, aptitude, integrity and even emotional intelligence – important characteristics for a well-rounded individual and employee. The key is to reveal his or her savvy (or lack thereof) in the field and beyond.

2. Hold group interviews. Your team will be the one working with the candidate day to day, so they can provide a good perspective on how candidates might fit in with the company culture and the dynamic of the team. Sometimes it’s hard to tell that in one-on-one interviews. The team also can act as a second filter, pointing to any inconsistencies that you may have missed. I’ve had companies I coach tell me stories of candidates who made it through multiple rounds of interviews, but when put in a room with the whole team, they floundered.

In some industries, companies don’t even make the decision to hire until after a short trial or training period. It can never hurt to test the waters in different set-ups and situations before extending your offer to make sure the position is a perfect match for the candidate and the company.

3. Build a “hiring bench” Just like a sports team, have people ready on the sidelines to jump in if you find yourself in a lurch. Possibly some of the biggest recruiting blunders happen when a company needs a body in the office as soon as possible and has to scramble to find someone.

To avoid the fire drill and a bad hire, keep the hiring process going even if you don’t have an immediate vacancy. Put these candidates through the usual vetting process, so you know you can count on them if you end up needing them to step in.

4. Be forward-thinking. While building that bench, think about the company’s long-term goals down the line. What talent might you need in two, five or even 10 years? Who do you need to hire now to push the trajectory of the company in the right direction? The answer may not be 100 percent clear-cut, but having an awareness of where the company is headed is the best way to stay ahead of those needs.

As I tell the companies I coach, the most important asset any company has is its people. If you invest the same amount of time, energy and creativity into recruiting as you would into any other business initiative, then those efforts will come with a tangible return and those people will drive the success of the company in every other respect.