How to Find (and Hire) the Right Candidate for a Job
9 min read
Hiring the right person can make all the difference for a company. It boosts productivity, promotes growth, and improves morale.
Hiring the wrong candidate, however, can be costly. Finding and onboarding a new employee takes a serious investment of time, money, and effort. If they don’t turn out to be worth it, all of those valuable resources are wasted.
A mis-hire is bad news for everyone.
Fortunately, you don’t have to just wing it and hope for the best. Here’s how to hire good employees — and why it’s so important that you do.
The Importance of Hiring the Right Staff
Before we get into exactly how to hire good employees, let’s talk about why hiring the right staff is crucial to an organization.
Time and Turnover Costs
It’s no secret that the hiring process is an expensive, time-consuming hassle. When you pull managers and team members out of their standard routines to interview candidates or train a fresh hire, it makes it harder for everyone to maintain normal productivity levels. That can translate to real dollars lost.
You also have the costs of job posting boards, skills tests, and criminal background checks to consider.
And even after you’ve hired someone, training and integrating a new employee doesn’t happen overnight. Depending on the complexity of the job position, it could take up to a year to ramp them up to full productivity.
Of course, if you’ve found a great worker, all that time and money will be a worthy investment. But if you ultimately decide that the new hire isn’t the right person for the job, you’ve just poured it all down the drain. Now you’ll have to start the whole process over again from scratch, doubling, tripling, or quadrupling the expense until you find the right person.
Getting it right the first time will save you plenty in the long run.
No employee is an island. Every new hire is stepping into a structure much bigger than themselves, and it’s important that they fit in well with the existing culture.
Businesses thrive when tight knit teams can work together toward a common goal.
A good candidate should click with their teammates and foster warmth, inspiration, and camaraderie all around. A bad hire, on the other hand, can dampen everyone’s morale. No one likes having to pick up the slack for an unqualified colleague’s lackluster work.
In the modern world, employees frequently have access to company websites, software, accounts, and confidential information. Ideally, you want to give as few people as possible any access to your private systems or data — and you want to be positive you can trust them.
Through repeated employee turnover, you’re opening the gates too many times to truly be secure. With every candidate you hire only to let go three months later, you’re creating another cybersecurity vulnerability. Sure, your IT team will be able to shut down the employee’s accounts, licenses, and logins, but they can’t remove anything confidential that the former employee might have picked up.
Once again, it’s worth getting it right the first time.
How to Hire Good Employees
Now that we’ve gone over the importance of hiring the right staff, the next question is how to find good candidates. Here’s a handy roadmap you can follow.
1. Know Who You’re Looking For
The first step to hiring the right candidate is knowing exactly what the job calls for. Consider the skills a person would need in order to do it properly. What skills, experience, and preferences are important for this position and your company in general?
Defining an ideal candidate persona is a multistep process, but you’ll thank yourself for taking the time later. Once you have a clear idea of what you need, you can examine prospects more objectively and enjoy greater confidence when the time comes to make your selection.
2. Know Where to Look
The internet is overflowing with job posting sites, so you’ll have to pick which ones are best for you. Depending on what you are looking for, you might have luck with bigger job boards like Monster or Indeed. Then again, you may want to narrow down your search by using job sites that focus on a specific niche.
For example, if you’re hiring for a tech company, The Org, AngelList, or Triplebyte are great places to look. If you need to fill an executive position, you might try Ladders or LinkedIn. For remote employees, We Work Remotely or FlexJobs will probably do the trick.
Those kinds of niche sites are perfect for shining a spotlight on your target audience and finding candidates with a specialized skill set and a passion for your industry. So ask yourself where the sort of people you need are most likely to go job hunting, then meet them there.
(Bonus Tip: Consider using a public organizational chart to attract top talent to your company.)
3. Write a Clear Job Description
Once you know who you need and where to look for them, it’s time to post your job. Get specific about what you need in a candidate when you write your job description. This is no time to be vague.
Your job description should include:
- The job title
- Education and experience requirements
- Who they’d be reporting to
- Expected tasks
- Salary range and expected hours
Getting down to the nitty-gritty will help weed out unqualified prospects before they even apply.
Lay out your employee value proposition, too. Show them how working for you would benefit their career for years to come.
Finally, talk about your company’s culture and vision. If you’re looking for someone who will fit in well, give candidates a heads up on what fitting in would actually look like. Let them screen themselves for you.
4. Redefine the Interview Process
When it comes to interviewing candidates, it’s okay to throw out the script. Forget the rote questions, prepackaged answers, and boring small talk. That method was never great for getting to know someone, anyway.
Get creative about how you conduct your interviewing process. What are some outside-the-box questions you could ask or topics you could discuss? Could you switch up the setting by taking a candidate out for lunch instead of meeting in an office? How about inviting some current employees along to add a rogue factor or two?
Whatever works for your style, think up new ways of really getting to know the person, not just the professional mask they wear for a standard interview. Dare to be unorthodox.
5. Test Their Skills Through Homework or Quick Assignments
This is your chance to truly challenge candidates. Anyone can tell you what they’re capable of, but to see them do it is another matter entirely.
If you’re hiring a sales executive, have them pitch a product to you. If you’re looking for software developers, ask them to refactor some code. Project manager? Give them the scope for a sample project and have them write out a project plan.
Whatever the job, find a way to test their skills and ability to work under pressure.
6. Introduce Them to the Team
Don’t wait until after you’ve made a hire to gauge how a candidate interacts with their coworkers. Before making any final decisions, give your shortlist a tour of the office and gauge how they fit in.
Pay attention to things like:
- Do they have smooth social skills?
- Do they treat everyone with respect?
- Do they get along with their potential coworkers?
- Is every introduction just a cold handshake, or do they seem to have some genuine interest in others?
Once the tour is over, ask your current staff how they felt about each candidate. Their perspective will be just as important as yours — probably more so.
You can do this even if you’re hiring a remote employee. Just have the candidate hop on a Zoom call with the team to see if there’s any professional chemistry.
7. Measure the Results Post-Hire
No matter how many steps you take, you’re still going to have to hire someone eventually, and there will always be some level of unknown factors. No system will ever be perfect.
So once you’ve made your choice, don’t just forget all about it. Keep an eye on how the onboarding process goes, and make sure the new employee really is the right person for the job. If they aren’t, it would be better to find that as early as possible. One month of training wasted is better than six.
Plus, you can get started on finding a replacement all the sooner.
8. Adjust the Hiring Process as Needed
Regardless of whether any one candidate works out, there’s never a time to stop improving your recruiting process. There’s really no way to overstate the importance of hiring the right staff.
Take the time to evaluate your past hires and the decisions you made. Have your hires succeeded? Why? If not, what could you have done differently to avoid the problem?
Learn from what you get right — and what you get wrong — and use it to hone your system. Establish objective “quality of hire” metrics to judge the efficiency and effectiveness of your hiring process. These metrics can include:
- Time taken to complete a hire
- Number of applicants
- Cost per hire
- Retention rates
This will open the door to optimizing your process. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how to find the right candidate for a job. Experiment and find what works best for your company.
Maybe We Can Help
Now that you have a better idea of how to hire good employees, how about a little help? A public organizational chart can be the perfect way to showcase your company’s strengths and reach in-demand talent. If you want to connect with quality candidates as soon as possible, post your job on The Org.