In More Posts... — by Raj Sheth
Over the last two years, we’ve made a bunch of mistakes hiring. It’s very likely that you and your team have too. After we reached 15 team members, our subsequent hires felt like a crapshoot. Even though our software helps other companies (and ourselves) with the hiring process, my co-founders and I couldn’t be sure whether a new employee was going to work out or not – and frequently they didn’t. We really needed more predictability. We knew that such mistakes are even costlier for larger companies, and that hiring needed to be more of a science than an art.
We realized that the questions we asked in the interviews were not always connected enough to the activities that the candidate will need to perform in their role. We were mostly getting a subjective feel of the candidate, but had trouble testing the candidates against a specific set of requirements.
About a year ago, we tried to figure out the right candidate evaluation questions and process before we began recruiting for a new role. The result was a four-step process that we repeat for every single role. It has worked great for us over the last 12 hires.
The goal of the process is to get an objective short-list of candidates that are a good fit for the role. Objective means that no matter who on your team is doing the hiring everyone should reach the same conclusion. You can get to this point by asking the following four questions before you start recruiting for a new role.
You are hiring someone to solve a problem. You need to define what that problem is and also what things will be like when the problem is solved. Define the problems and their solutions for every role.
For instance, you might be hiring a Head of Sales to increase sales 2X by setting up an outbound sales process. Use a worksheet to write every current problem you have – vague or specific, recurring or point-in-time, that you can connect to this role. Take those problems and turn them into measurable objectives.
The objectives that you came up with are a prerequisite for your next question which you can use to define the specific activities of the role.
Activities should be aligned with the objectives that you need the role to achieve. The last thing you want is for your new hire to end up doing a series of ad-hoc activities that produce no measurable results.
Your Head of Sales will be required to set up a process, test and experiment with it, and hire more reps based on how you have set up the objectives. If your objectives are vague, so will be your results – both during hiring and later when the employee’s performance is evaluated.
A list of activities will provide insight into the skills and characteristics your role requires. Skills can be acquired – examples include data analysis, coding and design. In contrast, characteristics are more personality-driven: Think of words like, empathetic, patient and tenacious.
Instead of picking requirements on a hunch, make sure each skill and characteristic are derived from an activity on the list. It’s best to use a spreadsheet with three columns: Activities, Requirements and Evaluation – which leads to the final question.
You need to know what to evaluate first and then how to evaluate it. The three questions and answers within the spreadsheet gives you what you are looking for in terms of skills and characteristics. This is the specific, consistent list against which the interviewers on the team will evaluate each candidate.
There are three ways of evaluating candidates against any set of requirements:
Most skills evaluations will occur either through profile observation or an exercise. For instance, if you are hiring someone to design logos you can view their previous portfolio. If you are hiring a programmer, you can give them a coding test or invite them to work on your product. Because that is exactly what they are going to be doing each day.
By creating this evaluation process upfront for each role, you’ll have a higher chance of hiring people who will succeed after you hire them. This simple candidate evaluation process is one you can conduct regardless of you and your team’s personal biases. Of course, the subjective opinions can always factor in later, but this process will give you an objective short list of qualified candidates based on an apples to apples comparison.
We’ve learned a thing or two about recruiting by observing the hiring activities of our thousands of customers. Use the best practices that we learned to grow your team by downloading our free recruiting guidebook with bonus templates and worksheets.
Trakstar Hire is considered the most user friendly hiring software on the market. If you’re ready to take your recruiting and hiring to the next level, request a Trakstar Hire demo today.