Food for Thought Part II: Five Things to Think About Before You Recruit

This is a two-part series. In the first installment, we will discuss considerations for candidates to think before engaging in a job search. In the second installment, we will explore factors that firms should keep in mind before deciding to recruit.

For the hiring manager:

It’s amazing how haphazard firms can be when deciding to initiate a search. Engaging in an external search can be incredibly time consuming, costly, and resource-intensive.  Firms will serve themselves well to make sure that, when they decide to engage in a search, they do so having considered all possible options and thought through exactly what they need in a new employee. A few questions for firms to consider:

  • Is there anyone on your team, or tangentially touching your team, who might be a good candidate? The obvious place to start is internally; these candidates already know the culture, workflow, products, and, more importantly, have a work ethic and track record that you can verify immediately.  Recruiting is time consuming:  putting together job descriptions, outlining compensation and taking resources away from day-to-day activities all require multiple conversations internally and externally before you even decide to post a job or hire a recruiter.  Make sure you have done your diligence internally before going outside.
  • What will the evaluation process look like? Consider the process and who the point-person will be to lead the recruiting effort; who internally has the bandwidth and knowledge base to lead this effort?  Also, have an assessment plan in place before initiating the search: who will the candidate be meeting, and what will the various stages of the interview process look like? Does an initial phone screen make sense; should you incorporate knock out questions, or will an in-person interview for round one be the most efficient method? The more time spent laying the ground work, the smoother the recruiting process will be.  Just as a spouse or significant other wants to get sign-off before making a life change, make sure all of the boxes are checked off internally before engaging externally with candidates who will be experiencing your firm for the first time. An organized, cohesive, and positive first impression is crucial when recruiting.
  •  What are the invisible costs you are willing to pay? Taking time to interview and structure offer packages for candidates takes time away from day-to-day business operations for all team members involved. Make sure you’ve selected an interview committee of employees who have both the bandwidth and understanding of the search to be an efficient assessment team for all candidates.
  • Is everyone on the interview committee aligned with what you are looking for? It’s amazing how much time can be wasted when internal interviewers aren’t on the same page about what exactly the firm is looking for in a candidate. Before spending valuable time and energy meeting with candidates, make sure that every person weighing in on the evaluation process is on the same page about what skill-sets they are looking for. Every search does, of course, have an element of discovery to it: as a firm meets with more candidates, they can put a finer point on what exactly they need. But when different team members have entirely different ideas about the goals of the search, the recruiting process can quickly become very confusing and frustrating for all parties involved.
  • How will this hire change the dynamics of the team? Every personality on a team has an important impact on how the team operates and how successful it will be. Take time to incorporate current team dynamics when formulating the candidate profile you are targeting. Is the team currently very good at drumming up business, but often too busy meeting with clients to be in the weeds on staying organized with their CRM system? In that case, finding a team member who can round out the team’s skills with strong attention to detail and an organized mentality can help take the team’s efficiency to the next level.

Recruiting is a powerful tool that can take businesses and careers to new heights, but it is so important that both candidates and firms approach the process as thoughtfully and seriously as possible.  By considering these questions throughout the recruiting process, you can help make the experience a fruitful and positive one for all involved.  The perfect candidate or opportunity isn’t always obvious so while these are important insights from our experience, the most important thing is to keep an open mind throughout the process.

Read Food for Thought Part I: Five Things to Think About Before You Look for a New Job >>