Building a great team starts with the hiring process. Unfortunately, many employers rush the hiring process by extending job offers to the wrong people. In fact, a survey from CareerBuilder found that almost three out of four businesses make poor hires each year. As a result, “companies lost an average of $14,900 on every bad hire.”
However, making smart changes to the organization’s hiring process helps business owners select the right people for their team. When the right hires are made, companies experience greater profits, productivity, team culture, and employee retention. Below, find a simple, but effective process for hiring exceptional people.
Table of Contents
Part 1 of the Hiring Process: Define the Role and Generate Leads
1. Analyze the Places Help is Most Needed
Start the hiring process by looking ahead at the future needs of the company. Before adding team members, write an honest assessment of daily work within the business. This step is crucial for entrepreneurs who need time for growing and nurturing innovative ideas. For instance, leaders who feel bogged down with hours of administration work or customer service should first hire an assistant. This results in being relieved of the daily, time-consuming tasks that hinder a person from working on their business.
Additionally, evaluate the team and see where they feel overloaded and understaffed. Prevent burnout before it happens by compiling a list of responsibilities a new hire could perform. Nevertheless, stay efficient and lean, especially when growing a startup. Start by creating open positions for one or two key hires on a contract basis. From there, slowly build up the team. Scaling too quickly ranks as one of the top reasons businesses fail.
2. Write a Job Description and Start Generating Leads
In the step above, start creating a portrait of what’s needed from a new hire. This sketch is important in finding quality employees. After the initial discovery, create a more detailed job description. Include things like company culture, work ethic, and attitude. When building a team, it’s important leaders also consider someone who will work well with the current group.
Start generating leads by posting the job on LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, or ZipRecruiter. For highly specialized jobs, consider using a paid or upgraded service for optimal results. In addition, another option for business owners is teaming up with a staffing agency. Working with a well-connected recruiter who can present company leaders with qualified candidates can save time and money.
3. Review Resumes and Cover Letters
Once resumes begin coming through, develop a strategy for filtering through them. Start with the candidate’s cover letter. A cover letter is a CEO’s or executive’s first introduction to a potential team member.
For example, great cover letters:
- Explain a person’s intentions.
- Provide insight into the candidate’s personality.
- Connect relevant work experience to the position they’re applying for.
- Communicate why they will be the best match for the company.
When building a team, look for cover letters that don’t follow a generic “copy and paste” format. Next, set these letters apart from the rest and view resumes.
More than anything, a great resume explains results and provides evidence that a person is a go-getter and a team player. For resumes, scan job experience for information that fits the position. While education can be an indicator of success, it doesn’t necessarily determine a person’s abilities. It’s more important to find signs of grit, hard work, and passion. For example, notice if a person received a significant promotion in a short period of time.
Part 2 Of the Hiring Process: The Stages of Interviewing
Too many companies make the mistake of hiring too quickly. It’s important to really take your time and get to know the potential candidate to determine if they are truly a good fit for the team beyond their skill set.
In the following steps four through nine, you’ll learn the suggested stages of interviewing. It’s important to ask job interview questions that highlight a potential hire’s interpersonal skills and determine their problem solving skills, ability to handle conflict, and overall outlook on team culture.
4. Conduct the First Interview Via Phone
The initial phone interview serves as a screening that gets the hiring manager familiar with the candidate’s background and personality. After introductions, begin the interview by setting up expectations of what will be covered. For example: “I would like to have a conversation from a 30,000-foot view about what you’ve done and what you’re looking for in a job. Then if you have any questions for me, I can address them at the end.”
Look for Inconsistencies
Check for consistency between what the candidate says and what’s on their resume and cover letter. During the interview, ask about the moves between each of their positions. Start with their last role and work backward to the first job listed on their resume. Another great strategy is to develop specific questions around work experience presented in their cover letter. Often, these go into more detail than resumes.
Ask About Their Career Trajectory
When building a team, it’s important for leaders to find people who they can multiply as new leaders. For this reason, ask the candidate about their career goals. If they see this job as a stepping stone to another company, they aren’t the right fit. Instead, look for people who see themselves growing with the organization.
Other questions around career-building include:
- What do you like doing professionally?
- What do you not like doing professionally?
- Why are you interested in this company?
- What interested you in this position?
- Tell me about a time you did something and it went great.
- Tell me about a time you did something and it didn’t go well.
- What are your compensation expectations?
Conclude by Providing a Plan
If at any time you feel a person isn’t a good fit, politely end the call. However, if you see potential, leave time for questions from the candidate. When answering their questions, be as transparent as possible. Remember, a healthy working relationship is a two-way street. A quality candidate wants to ensure both parties feel as though they are a good fit.
After answering any questions, finish by giving the interviewee a timeline and brief idea of what to expect next. Providing clarity and expectations helps employers make a good impression on the candidates they want moving forward with the company.
5. Conduct Second Phone Interview
While a second phone interview is optional, use it as an opportunity to ask the same questions in a different way. This helps company leaders discover more information about candidates. Additionally, the second interview can dive deeper into work history. During this call, keep looking for any inconsistencies.
For example, ask:
- Can you give me a brief 10-minute overview of your career history?
- What accomplishment are you most proud of?
- What have been some low points in your career?
- Who did you work with?
- What was your boss’s name?
- Why did you like or dislike working with them?
- What will they tell me about your greatest strengths?
- What about areas that need improvement?
After ending the interview, finish the conversation by describing the follow-up process. For instance, “We will contact you soon via email.” If seriously interested in hiring the candidate, make sure this message is more personalized. Conclude by listing some of your favorite parts of speaking with them. When building a team, this makes potential group members feel seen and heard by company leaders.
6. Extend an In-Person Interview
After finishing up phone interviews with candidates, start creating a list of potential hires. Follow-up within the time frame mentioned on the call and let them know you’d love to meet for a formal interview.
Calling someone for an in-person interview is more personal. For this reason, follow-up via phone, rather than email. When scheduling the interview, provide several options for times and days. Finalize when the interview will take place and follow-up with an email that confirms the meeting.
Obviously, everyone can’t move forward in the hiring process. Maybe you really like a particular person, but they aren’t the right fit for this role or they may need more experience. Keep their resume on file and consider them as the company grows. Regardless, all interviewees deserve the courtesy of a professional call letting them know the company chose to move forward with someone else. Giving caring, but clear feedback also helps people as they move forward in their job search.
7. Meet for an In-Office Interview
During an in-office interview, make the candidate feel as comfortable as possible. Remember, a lot of people come into interviews nervous. Establish a connection in the first few moments by smiling and offering them water or coffee. You can help to put them at ease with a little humor or point out a similarity between the two of you. These tactics allow a person relax so they can present their truest self in the interview.
Ask About Their Experience with Teams
During in-person interviews, it’s important that the hiring manager also determines whether or not the candidate would complement the current team. For example, add questions about working with teams and what role they’ve played in previous positions. Also, find out what they value in other group members.
Dive Deeper into Their Past Results
In addition to questions regarding team experience, dive deeper into past mile markers and growth goals discussed in the last interview. As mentioned before, a great resume focuses on showing previous results. Look back on interview notes and the person’s resume when asking more about how they’ve contributed to their past organizations.
Provide the Next Steps
At the end of this interview, let those who are a good fit know the business will start the process of reference checks. If the in-person interview doesn’t go well, be as honest as possible. Let the candidate know why they might not be the best fit for the company at this point. If the interviewer is unsure and needs more time for consulting with other leaders and team members, let them know when you’ll have more insight.
8. Perform Background and Reference Checks
Be clear and let potential hires know how long the background and reference check process takes. It’s not uncommon for those job searching to also interview at other companies. With that being said, staying in touch helps demonstrate interest throughout the hiring process.
As a business owner builds a team, they must protect the current group from new hires that could disrupt team culture. During this part of the process, employers should be sensitive to any potential red flags. If something comes up that feels suspicious, keep investigating for answers. Doing so is vital for a wise hiring decision.
Speak with the Candidate’s References
When speaking with previous managers, have them verify employment, title, and responsibilities. Additionally, use the checklist below:
- Why did the candidate leave their job?
- Would the manager rehire them?
- What kind of team member were they?
- Did they get along with management?
- What was it like working with the job candidate?
- Thank the reference for their time.
- Call the next one listed for multiple points of view.
Step 9: Discuss and Extend a Job Offer
Now that you believe you’ve found the right person, gather with key players at the company before extending a formal offer. Checking in with other leaders and even running the decision by group members provides a business owner with more clarity around the right hire. In addition to this, it includes the whole team in selecting a great candidate.
Once the business’s leaders make a decision, call the candidate and let them know you’d like to extend an offer on behalf of the company. As mentioned earlier, employment is a two-way street. The candidate might want some time to make a decision. If this is the case, set a meeting to discuss their decision. If the person provides an immediate verbal agreement, let them know when they will receive a formal job offer. Before ending the call, clarify they will receive this via email with the start date and other important details. After sending a job offer, provide room for one or two rounds of questions, too.
Finally, as a common courtesy, let other interviewing candidates know they did not receive the job in the process described in the steps above.
Make the Right Hires to Build the Right Team
Planning to position the right person in the right role helps set everyone within a company up for success. When following these steps, employers become more effective at finding employees and contractors interested in building long-term relationships with their leaders and coworkers. In turn, with the right hires and the right team, the potential of growing and scaling increases exponentially.
For more information on building a team and best hiring practices, check out:
- Job Interview Questions: How To Hire The Right Person For The Job
- Build an A-Team by Whitney Johnson
- The Best Team Wins by Adam Robinson