Hiring Without a Formal Process Is Just Plain FAIL!

Developing an experience-based candidate framework is the key to an effective hiring plan! Here are the steps a company needs to take before placing an ad or interviewing potential employees.

 Last week on Hire Power Radio Show, Erin Wilson, Co-Founder of hirepool.io, joined us to discuss his philosophy for how to structure a company’s hiring process with an effective framework, and why doing so is critical for success. Here is what we discussed with Erin Wilson on the Hire Power Radio Show:

 To begin planning a hiring framework to work, it is crucial to know who you are as a company, and what you are looking for in a candidate, on a level that is deeper than just a job description. Define your company’s principles, and incorporate this story as you describe what you are looking for in new hires.

 When you are talking about hiring new candidates, it is important to remember that you aren’t just talking about filling seats...you are talking about people. 

 Most candidate job searches begin with a previous “career wound” or “trigger” event that led them to their current job search. Hiring should not be about rapidly filling a “void” - this is a reactionary approach. Rather, get to know your candidates and find out how you can help heal their career wounds. 

 Hear them out; listen to what they are telling you, not just to what you want to hear. When you do so, you will understand the candidate’s deeper motivations, career timeline, and, if they are right for the job, how you can move forward accordingly.

 Erin discussed three key crucial pieces on the front end of an effective hiring framework:

Target prioritization: refers to how a company invests its time as an organization, and in what order. It is about creating an internal structure based on communication, transparency, collaboration, and consistency amongst your leadership team. One exercise to encourage this is to send out a spreadsheet at the beginning of the week and to ask the heads of different departments to think about what hires they believe that they’ll need within the next 3-6 months. At the end of the week, go through the list with your leadership team, analyze departmental needs, and how you can move forward to meet these needs.

 Change is constant in any growing company; however, do not use this as an excuse. It is important to facilitate dialogue with your team regularly to make sure you are all on the same page when it comes to hiring needs. It is not just about planning...it is also about communicating.

 When you take the time and energy to set up a framework to encourage this conversation, your recruiting team will be able to execute more effectively, as they will truly understand what the hiring needs are on a deeper level.

 The second piece of the framework is User Stories. In other words, you truly have to consider the audience, persona, and experience you are trying to encourage, as you seek candidates for the job. Go beyond a generic “job description;” deliver information about each position in a meaningful, unique way. It is not just a job to the candidates you are trying to reach. To them, it is their career on the line. Rather than just a basic job description, provide information with more dimension.

 What will candidates be doing on a day-to-day basis? What will their tasks be early on in the role? Who will they be interacting with? Who in the company will they need to depend upon to be successful? What tools and systems might they use? How will outcomes be measured?

 The hiring manager should put thought into these questions early on in the process and have a thorough understanding of the true, authentic story behind the job and the company. It is essential to provide candidates with a personalized story that truly resonates with them and gives them a deeper understanding of the role.

 Every hiring framework should also include a Kickoff Meeting: a time to discuss the hiring action plan before putting it into place.

As mentioned above, every hire is unique, even if their roles are similar (unless you are hiring clones!) Develop a new narrative for each new hire, and take an individualized approach. In your kickoff meeting, strategize about what the interview plan is for the candidate, specific objectives, etc.

 Please don’t overlook what the hiring process represents. Through the structure of your hiring process, you create a perception in the market about who your company is. It shows how you organize your efforts, how you make decisions and execute plans and strategic initiatives.

 Regardless of the size of your company, it is important to invest in your hiring process upfront and creating a framework that is consistent, repeatable and measurable.

 Here is an outline of what a correct structure should look like:

  • Identify the culture and principles of your organization, personality criteria
  • Define the criteria for success in the role, expectations
  • Create proper role description (not a wish list!)
  • Target identification (Utilize Referrals)
  • Engage with the candidate to uncover their career wound/want. If you determine that the candidate is a match for your firm, schedule an in-depth phone interview to evaluate the potential hire fully
  • Prepare the candidate for the interview. Outline of how the interview will go - and stick to it!
  • In structuring the interview, who & time, organize questions to cover areas consistent with your company's principles- behavioral questions & depth
  • Bring onsite to meet interview team
  • Close meeting with “what happens next”- confirm timeline, feedback channel setup
  • Candidate follow up with Recruiter- debrief & prep for offer
  • Feedback Channel- Meeting debrief, judge against standards, make a decision- Unanimous hire!
  • Offer- start date, discuss the counter offer, re-confirm wound, agree on $, gain verbal commitment, bring in to Sign offer.
  • Coach through resignation, set touch points in time between resign & start, Organized start Day-schedule = Success

 Develop a fixed candidate experience. In other words, regardless of what position you are hiring for, have a consistent structure for how you treat candidates, from the nature of the first interaction, number of interviews, etc. You won’t know how to improve your process unless it is consistent.

 Stick to a timeline, and have a structured interview process. Provide candidates with a schedule, as well as information regarding who they will interview with and when. Organize your questions so that they reflect your company’s principles, and move beyond generic questions to gain deeper insights about candidates and what they are looking for. Close the interview with information about what happens next; confirm the timeline, and let the candidate know how you will be providing feedback within the process.

Ensure that you have a feedback channel between your team and the candidate, including a meeting debrief, a decision about the candidate, and how you will communicate with the candidate moving forward as you prepare for the offer.

 The candidate should have a follow up with the recruiter to debrief from the interview process and prepare for next steps and the offer.

After the offer, discuss start date with the candidate, reconfirm that you understand the candidate’s career wounds, agree on the financial aspects of the job, gain verbal commitment, and finally, have the candidate come into the office to sign the offer. 

The key is to create communication touch points at all stages of the process. Set touch points, and have an open line of communication at all stages of a candidate’s transition. Coach the candidate through the resignation of their current position if necessary, and ensure that you touch base in the period between resigning and start.

While it is important to have a structured, consistent process, it is also important to have some degree of flexibility, depending on the role you are hiring for.

A culture of collaboration and transparency should be present in all aspects of the process (not just internally) - it should extend to all of your conversations with candidates. Talk openly with candidates about where you are as an organization, and where you are going.

 People invest countless hours into the interview process, while many companies are quick to let them go, without much thought. As Erin said on Hire Power, remember that “hiring isn’t a talent thing; it’s an everybody thing.” Develop a culture of transparency and mutual feedback between your team and your candidates.

When you move forward with hiring a candidate, don’t think about it as a “close” - you are not closing anything. Rather, you are creating an opening for the next chapter in the candidate’s career (and for your company!) Keep the dialogue going, even after the offer is signed - all the way to the start date. An organized start-day schedule for a new hire is the key to success.


 Rick Girard is the Managing Director and Founder of Stride Search Inc. While not running a School for Gifted Mutants, he hosts the Hire Power Radio Show and creates valuable content for Hiring Managers to successfully navigate the turbulent waters of talent acquisition.

Views: 247

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on September 23, 2017 at 12:18pm

Well-said. The more that can be planned up-front, the less there will be to bite you in the end...

Comment by Rick Girard on October 6, 2017 at 1:40pm
Amen Keith!


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