What is the purpose of a hiring process? The short answer is to make sure that you’re getting the right talent in your business.But actually, the way that I like to look at it is that what you’re essentially doing is you’re predicting the future job performance of someone that would be in that role. So when you’re doing a hiring process, everything from screening a CV to doing an interview, to doing a psychometric assessment or bringing them on to sit in your office for a day and giving them assignments, everything that you’re doing is intended to predict future performance.
So the point is even if you are deliberately scoring people or measuring people or not, what you’re doing even on a gut level is you’re trying to predict what their future performance would be. So that’s essentially the purpose of a hiring process.
What would the typical stages be in the hiring process for smaller to medium-sized entrepreneurial businesses?
At a high level, there are three main ways that you can go about recruiting. You can either go and look for candidates yourself or use a recruitment agency or you can post a job and source applicants. So basically you be the head hunter yourself. You can hire a head hunter or you get people to apply for the job.
Those have got their own pros and cons but it depends on what stage you are at in your business. I think if you’re an infancy-size business between two and 20 people, I think it’s very appropriate for you as the founder to be the one as the head hunter.
In terms of businesses that are starting to grow and scale, I think there’s always an element of that for critical positions. If it’s a critical hire, you want to be looking for the right person. You obviously want to be sourcing applications and making sure that you are addressing your own blind spots and getting in talent that you might have missed through your own searches.
In situations to hire critical positions, posting a good job ad is a big part but the fundamental point is that you’ve got to make your business attractive. That’s the same principle whether or not you’re posting a job advert or you’re actually going and looking for talent yourself – it’s about the fact that the best talent has options.
So keeping that in mind, you always need to be selling yourself and your business to them in terms of why they should come work for you. And obviously, that’s the package, the benefits, the salary, the employee value proposition, the culture, the job, the career potential – all those things need to be deliberately thought through.
Improving your hiring process to find the best talents possible
You always want to be getting the best talent possible. You always want to be hiring people that are better than you and experts in their roles, especially as a founder. That frees you up to be a good generalist. In order to do that, you need to be able to sell yourself and sell your business well, and at the end of the day, you can still source applicants and get people to apply but the best way to ensure that you’re attracting good talent is for you as the founder to reach out.
If you want to get the best people for your business you should go looking for them. So go on LinkedIn, go sourcing, go checking out people’s profiles, engage in conversations, building out relationships. And then, go from there, that’s very much in terms of the kind of screening and sourcing perspective.
Think of a killer question
If you’re sourcing applications and you’re getting a volume of applications coming in, having a killer question is a good idea, as long as it takes less than three minutes to complete. Use yes or no questions such as do you have X much experience and Y qualification?
This will help you sort through CVs and reduce CV fatigue. Working through a bunch of CV’s looking for the same information, and reviewing LinkedIn profiles to see what kind of experience, skillset and knowledge base this person has can be exhausting.
Then you want to do the first interview. In the first interview, you want competency-based interview questions, and you want the interview to be structured and standardised between candidates. So you know that you’re comparing apples with apples. You’re asking the same situational questions.
For example, if you’re looking for confidence. You’re going to ask someone to tell you about a mistake that they’ve made in your career and how they handled it. That’s going to tell you about how it is that they bounce back from a situation, how much they owned a certain mistake and things like that. You ask those questions to each candidate and take it from there.
After the first interview phase, you then go down to a work-based assignment. You then send them an assignment to check their technical competence in the work that they can do.
Use a psychometric assessment
Then into a psychometric after that. From psychometrics, you can get probing questions to go deeper with the person in the final interview and the chat with the founder. Because I think at that point, that’s when the conversation can get a bit more casual besides a couple of probing questions. By this point, you know that it’s now no longer asking am I getting a good person for the job?
Now you’ve got a short list of all the people that you know can do the job, but who’s the best? That’s where the probing questions, the relationship check-in and the conversation around can we get along well come in.
From there, obviously background checks, reference checks, and then offer stage.