The most important step to finding the right people is defining the requirements for the position.
Dear Daniel I have been running my business for a year now and it is time for me to bring on several employees to fill some key positions how can I go about the process of finding the right people.
Signed Talent Seeker
Dear Talent Seeker:
What a great topic to discuss, especially since so many organizations struggle with finding not only top talent, but the right talent.
The most important step to finding the right people is defining the requirements for the position. A clear definition of all aspects of the job will help you find the right talent, clarify your expectations once you’ve hired someone, and measure their performance ongoing.
Most hiring managers fall short by focusing only on the tasks that the prospective employee will need to perform. While there are likely many candidates who can perform the basic tasks or technical requirements of the role, success depends on other factors. In defining the position, it’s essential to consider the type of organization and environment the job will take place in addition to specific tasks and responsibilities.
For example, let’s say you run a small but growing restaurant that specializes in mostly lunchtime fare like sandwiches and salads. In looking for employees you even come across a resume of someone who seems like the perfect candidate – they have been making sandwiches for a large chain in a high-volume environment. They work within a structured process, something you wish you had more of.
In fact, years of experience making perfect sandwiches might make this the perfect candidate, but it might not. When you step back to think about what you really need in the position, you realize that more important than sandwich-making skills is the ability adjust easily to a quickly changing environment. The menu, the ingredients, and the process might shift daily in your growing business.
So the candidate from the larger established business might have difficulty adjusting to a situation without a pre-defined process. However, if you read on down their resume or during the interview you discover that the employee worked with that large restaurant during their growth phase and even helped the company move from “chaotic” to “structured”, they actually might be ideal for your growing enterprise.
The specific tasks you plan to have your employee perform are certainly important, and should not be overlooked. To give another example, an accountant at a start-up still needs to be very good at Excel, aside from being comfortable in an entrepreneurial environment. The tasks which an employee needs to perform and their technical skills are like a threshold or a minimum requirement. The candidate needs to have the technical ability to perform the work. That might be a degree, certification, specific experience or combination of those three.
So as you refine your requirements for the role, consider the tasks, technical skills, and the broader environmental factors that will lead to success. Once you have all that clearly defined, you are more than half way there. There are many platforms to find candidates, from online sources to word of mouth. But in my experience the challenge will never be finding a pool of qualified applicants, but as you state in your question, discerning which is right for the job.
Daniel Wolfe leads information technology at The Telx Group, a nationwide provider of data center services. Over the past 15 years, he has held senior leadership positions in engineering, human resources, technology and process management at manufacturing and technology service firms. In addition, Wolfe creates art which he displays in shuls and galleries across New York City.