Tips for shopping for employees

You know how when you go grocery shopping on an empty stomach and without a list, everything looks good? So, you end up buying way too much food, and yet you still don’t have all the ingredients to make anything?

Well, some businesses hire like that! They haven’t done the hard work of figuring out exactly what they need or what their ideal candidate would look like, so they throw every resume “into the cart” for consideration. As a result, they don’t end up with any good candidates.

Here’s how hiring managers should “shop” for new employees:

 1. Create a menu.

My first step before I make my grocery list is to decide what meals I’m going to eat this week. When you are hiring, you have to think about what things you want this person to accomplish. What needs to be done? What things that, if this candidate were to accomplish, would make a huge difference for your business? Knowing what you want a new hire to accomplish means that you are starting off with the intention to make a difference in your business.

 2. Create your shopping list.

Now that you know what you want the new hire to accomplish, start thinking about the characteristics, traits, skills and experiences they would need in order to be successful at accomplishing those things in your organization.

When you write your job posting, you want to include both the traits and accomplishments in it. Make it clear what you are looking for, and set a high bar. Tell them about the challenges and opportunities that the position entails. This will attract the kind of candidates that are “looking” for a challenging position where they can make a difference.

3. Shop hard.

Unfortunately, it’s too easy to email a resume to every position that’s even close to a candidate’s skills and experience, so you’re likely to get a lot of resumes from people who aren’t really qualified. These candidates are like “junk food” in your grocery cart. They are taking up space in your queue, but they aren’t going to help you to make your meal. Be ruthless. Focus entirely on the candidates that fit your requirements and who have an excellent chance of making the difference that you company needs from this position.

This means evaluating every resume against the list of characteristics and experiences that you created. This is easier with some kind of candidate management tool that lets you create some screening questions before you even look at resumes.

 4. Preserve your produce.

When you get home with your groceries, you usually put them away right away. You put the frozen foods and meats in the freezer, produce in the fridge, etc., so that they will be fresh and ready for you when you need to make your meal. Likewise, candidates can spoil too. If you let candidates sit, they will feel like we don’t really want them and they can find another position, etc. So you need to have a clear process laid out for screening and interviewing the “good” candidates quickly and efficiently.

 5. Lay the table.

Making a great meal isn’t just about what happens in the kitchen; presentation makes a big difference in how diners feel about the meal. In this same way, you need to prepare the way for our candidate’s success. You need a solid offer and an onboarding process to get the right candidates in the door so they can start producing results for you.

So there you have it — my “smart shopping tips” for hiring managers and business owners. Check out this video for some more insight on hiring.

Do you have any additional hiring tips to share?

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