“I’ll know it when I see it.”
That’s what a client said the other day during a call to discuss an opening on his team. That happens to be something I have heard many times over the years from hiring leaders when talking about who they want to hire.
That statement is a product of hiring leaders being unclear in their mind about what they are looking for in an ideal candidate.
In my experience, I have learned that most hiring leaders can clearly articulate between 40-60% of what they are looking for in an ideal candidate. When you take into consideration that hiring is yet ONE more thing on their plate, you quickly see why they often wing it, and hope for the best.
It’s for this very reason that I work with my clients to create a document that goes BEFORE the job posting.
It’s a document that outlines the necessary Knowledge, Experience, and Motivators/Values (KEM/V) needed for the role.
The most powerful thing about the document is that it allows the hiring leader to unpack their thinking into something that is meant to capture what THEY want.
You see, a job posting is all about helping the candidate understand:
So while this is important, a typical hiring process ends up skipping the most important part – what the hiring leader wants and needs.
The KEM/V doesn’t just create inputs for the job posting; it supports the entire hiring process and beyond. Once a hiring leader has thought through and captured what they want, they are better able to articulate this to the interview team that will help with the selection.
Each hiring leader wants to make the best possible hire, from the available talent in the market. Adding a KEM/V step to the start of your process allows you to bring greater intentionality to your process for hiring.
Ultimately, hiring is about thinking through and clearly understanding what a new hire needs to work towards and why it matters. When that happens, success follows as a natural result.
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Recently, I worked with a company that had been awarded “best place to work” by a national magazine.
While their hiring process had worked well to that point, they were looking to double headcount within the next year.
In addition to this ambitious goal, they had recently uncovered a serious problem.
Attrition was on the rise as indicated by several key individuals exiting the company
The founder shared his desire to increase the quality of candidates.
As we dug deeper, we uncovered a surprising statistic. The founder was spending upwards of 13 hours of his time for each hire.
Adding an additional 17 resources using the existing approach would bring business development to a standstill.
Working closely with the founder and his team over the course of 90 days, we implemented a new process that reduced his time per resource to less than four hours per hire.
Here’s how we did It.
Phase One: Intention
Setting an intention includes deciding who, when and why to hire.
It’s front-loading the critical aspects of the process before you kick things off.
Think about it, you’d never set out to make an amazing meal by turning on the stove, finding a recipe and then running around your kitchen looking for the ingredients.
Yet this is the way most companies approach hiring.
Phase Two: The Hiring Process
We established an effective hiring process that:
Element #1: Job Posting:
I created a compelling and engaging job posting that brought to life the story and journey of the company.
It wasn’t just a list of responsibilities and requirements with a marketing blurb about “who we are”.
The goal was two-fold: to have the applicant’s ‘why’ resonate with the companies’ and help them clearly see if they are a fit for the role (skillset and culture) at the start of the process (versus interview or later).
Element #2: Brief Survey:
I added a brief (4 question) survey that was sent to all applicants.
It served as an assessment and filter.
It assessed critical experience and filtered out applicants that weren’t serious about their job search.
A recent Gallup poll shared 85% of people hate their jobs so it’s a safe assumption that 100% of applicants aren’t running towards a new job, they’re running from their current one.
Phase Three: Onboarding Plan
If you’re hiring a human, it’s not enough to hire well, you need to support their success post offer as the first 90 days are critical.
On Onboarding Plan doesn’t need to be comprehensive, but it does need to be thought through and contain a few critical aspects: milestones and expectations.
Milestones are measured and laid out in a clear and simple way.
Expectations are managed through weekly meetings during the first 90 days and real-time as needed.
A Gallup poll found that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their employer does a great job of Onboarding new employees!
When you add that SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) estimates that it will cost a company six to nine months of an employee’s salary to identify and onboard a replacement you quickly realize you can’t afford an ineffective and/or subjective hiring process that is absent some sort of Onboarding Plan.
An Onboarding Plan creates a roadmap for success that launches the new hire’s journey with the company while also allowing the hiring leader to objectively see if things are, or are not working out (quickly!)
Today, my client has a repeatable process for hiring that saves him and his team time, while increasing the quality of their hires.
They have a process for assessing key skillsets and filtering out individuals who aren’t intentionally looking for a new job.
They have a roadmap in place for launching the success of a new hire that also allows them to quickly identify and address concerns as they arise.
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According to a survey from Jeff Weiner, titled “What’s Your Dream Job?”, 78% of people aren’t in their dream job today.
If you are in that 78% and want to be in the 22% that ARE, I challenge you with three things:
If your answers above were ‘no’ and/or ‘minimal to zero’, then you are in the 78% because you WANT to be.
If you do not want to be there, know you have the power to change directions right NOW.
How badly do you want it?
Have you ever considered whether the #culture you admire about your company is really just the #environment? How do you tell the difference?
If you create a job posting and don’t see it as copywriting, you’re doing it wrong.
I recently met with an Entrepreneur who shared their frustration with the large number (400!) of resumes her team had to sift through for a Data Entry position they had open.
When I read the posting their challenge was clear.
The copy was sterile and sounded like most positions.
I asked her to share why she had started her company and who they serve, as though she were sharing with a friend she hadn’t seen in a long time.
What she shared was the essence of their culture and their journey as a company.
I told her to spend time putting together a short paragraph bringing that to life.
Today she shared that after making the changes we’d discussed she’d gone from 400 applicants to less than 200 and was interviewing 8 qualified applicants that she felt certain fit their mission and vision.
Each company has a beautiful and unique story and if you start your recruiting process by sharing it with candidates, your search starts with people who want to get behind that from the very start.
Over the past two months I have reviewed nearly 300 #resumes.
Roughly 120 of them didn’t meet the outlined minimum experience.
Before you submit an application, take the time to identify whether the company is outlining KNOWLEDGE OR EXPERIENCE in their posting.
This is a subtle but important distinction.
If a company is outlining knowledge it means they want someone who has certain skills to do a job.
If they outline experience, they need someone who has actually done the work.
Don’t apply if you’re looking to gain that experience in the role (remember they are paying for someone that’s been there, done that).
If you’re unsure or want a little guidance shoot me an email, I’m happy to support your efforts.
Six months ago, I left the (relative) safety of the corporate world to try and make it as a solo-preneur.
At least once each week I catch myself telling a story about how I’m “not getting it fast enough” or how I should be “farther along.”
Today I visited a glass blowing factory in #Murano Italy.
The men were all in their 30s and 40’s.
I asked Francesco (our guide) how long it takes to master their craft.
“Oh signora, a lifetime” he responded without hesitation.
“Some of these men spend their whole life as assistants…they hold only the tongs but never are allowed to blow the glass.”
He went to explain they begin their journey as early as 11 years old.
They were taught by their fathers and hope, someday, to pass their trade down to their sons.
I left Murano with two profound insights:
Make sure you enjoy the journey!
Don’t ignore candidates who self-withdraw in the recruiting process, they are a wealth of information.
I recently started a search for a client and was making swift progress with building the pipeline once we posted to LinkedIn.
I received an email from an applicant who shared they were withdrawing from the process.
This happened about 5 more times over the next week or so.
I thought to myself “how can this be, I have such good traction on the pipeline?”
I decided to reach out to each applicant to inquire why.
The feedback was eye opening.
Reasons varied from getting another offer, deciding they wanted a more senior role and deciding to pause their search entirely.
This type of feedback is invaluable. In addition to learning their reason for withdrawing, most candidates volunteered who they went to work for and some even shared the amount they were offered.
As it turns out, a small investment of time provided market intelligence and rapid feedback on the effectiveness of our process.
When applicants self-withdraw from your hiring process, take the time to connect with them…you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how valuable the insights can be.