You know the adage: Hire slow, fire fast. And I know that most
of my clients will nod and say “Yeah, but I can’t afford to hire slow. So-and-so is working 60 hours a week and I’m afraid we’re going to lose this customer if we can’t make the order on time, and my last hire was someone I met on the elevator and it worked out great….” I’ve written about letting yourself get into that situation. It’s a really bad idea. But I still say hire slow, fire fast. Just use technology. Technology helps you hire slow, quickly.
The slow part of hire slow is the thinking, assessing and evaluating part. You need to take time to write a really good job description that covers everything that the employee will be doing and to make sure that the skills and qualifications you’re asking for are exactly what you need. For example, do you actually need someone with five years’ experience with a certain type of software or do you just need someone who can demonstrate that they can use all the functions of the software quickly and competently? You can’t just dash off a good job description and post it in 15 minutes because that night you’ll get a flood of applicants. And when you wake up in the morning, you’ll suddenly remember two things the person really needs to be able to do, because the last person couldn’t and it was a nightmare. Take time with crafting the job scope, what you really need done, and then and I promise, the job description can be written quickly.
So when you actually get to posting the job, that’s when things can go fast. For example, are you still posting jobs directly to job boards? You may have experienced the flood of emails and phone calls from people who want the job whether they’re qualified or not. Talk about slow. There are so many applicant tracking systems out there now where you can reach a ton of prospective candidates via posting to multiple job boards and social media sites. Here’s the quickly part—you can set up parameters for the job and the technology sorts through the applications looking for keywords, filtering out unqualified applicants. Or even better, you create a set of screen-in/screen out questions that allow the candidates to respond with very specific information that reduces the time you need to evaluate them before you phone or meet them and thereby saving you a ton of time. Presto!
But what about next steps? How often have you had to wait until your hiring manager got back from a client trip, or schedule calls with 20 candidates, or wait until all 12 people weighing in had space on their calendars before you could even begin to figure out whether the candidate was a good fit or not? That’s one of the biggest inflaters of hiring time. Instead, have you ever heard of video interviewing? That’s where candidates sit down with any video recording device—including a smart phone—and record themselves answering questions that the video recording software asks. They could even do a presentation, like a fundraising pitch for your non-profit or a sales presentation for your company. Then, you can watch the videos when it’s convenient to you. You can suss out the unqualified more quickly. You don’t have to spend 30 awkward minutes or more with the candidate who you know does not possess the skills to be polite, not to mention the cost of flying them into town.
Then, when you think you really have the right person, or the right three, you slow way down, spend time with each of them, have several meetings and create really good assessments of skills and fit. Check how you feel, whether the person is consistent in all the interviews, how they respond in different situations.
If you really get the right person, the headache you will have saved yourself by not having to figure out their issues, document the decline of their employment, fire them and hire someone new will make it worth whatever you went through to get the right person. You may still need your gut and your experience to help you make the slow part of the decision. But for heaven’s sake, use the available technology to speed it up.
We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267.