The Seven Steps
To Hiring Long-Term Successes
By Mark Hayakawa, Search 4 Integrity
Hiring is a complicated process
that requires planning, execution, and evaluation to land the
right candidate who will be a long-term contributor to your organization.
Keys to success are being honest with candidates, asking tough
questions, and knowing the profile of the person whom you want
to hire. Here are steps that every employer should consider throughout
the process of finding that perfect candidate.
As the potential employer,
it is your responsibility to determine why the candidate wants
to change jobs. Perhaps the candidates current company is
financially unstable or does not offer challenge, growth and opportunity.
The candidate might be in conflict with peers or be exhibiting
poor job performance. Dont just get the basics: Ask for
specific examples to determine why these conditions exist. For
instance, if the candidate is experiencing conflict with his or
her peers, does that mean he or she has poor conflict resolution
skills, is not politically astute, or is a poor performer? If
you suspect behavioral issues, you might want to change gears
and turn it into a behavioral interview. If the candidate indicates
that his or her current employer does not offer enough challenges
or growth opportunities, you need to determine whether no true
promotional opportunities exist or if the candidate is not promotable.
Many top performers do outgrow their jobs and companies cannot
always accommodate them. On the other hand, some candidates are
not management material, thus opportunities are not afforded to
them. There is always the possibility that the company is mismanaging
the individuals talent, in which case you may have a diamond
in the rough.
After determining what is motivating
the candidate to conduct a job search, you should evaluate that
individuals potential longevity at your company. It will
help to find out what he or she is looking for now as well as
three to five years from now. Is his or her search focused? Does
it correlate with what your company offers? Is he or she looking
for a start-up, growth-oriented or well-established firm? Does
he or she prefer a job in the private or public sector? What job
responsibilities, industry preferences, geographic location, and
company environment does the candidate prefer? When an employer
is meeting these needs the probability of retaining any employee
is greatly increased. Does the employee also have a life plan
(career and personal goals) and are those aligned with your companys
objectives and environment? Generally, grounded candidates possess
a well-developed personal road map and consistently focus on attaining
When you discover what motivates
a candidate, you have answered one of the most telling indicators
for long-term compatibility. Some of the motivations candidates
have are money, power, team, affiliation, and opportunity. Employees
who consistently contribute are team players. They constantly
seek out opportunities where they can add value and make your
company stronger and more profitable. Candidates who seek money
and power are not necessarily preferred employees and further
discussions are advised to determine the source of these needs.
Have you ever felt like you
were pulling teeth during an interview to get any details about
the candidate? A reluctance to share information indicates either
a lack of social skills (generally not a good hire) or lack of
honesty and integrity (not a good hire either). Companies need
to hire honest employees who are coachable and good listeners.
If the interview becomes a question-and-answer session, you do
not have a winner. On the other hand, if there is great conversational
flow chock full of achievements and accomplishments, that is
a good indicator and half of the equation.
During the interview, weave
into the conversation topics that lead to uncovering a candidates
strengths and weaknesses. This will give you insight into their
technical and non-technical skills, which is the other half of
the equation. When a skill is mentioned, ask the candidate for
examples of that skill and what he or she accomplished. Those
examples will give you an idea of how broad and comprehensive
that skill really is or isnt. If the candidate is unable
to succinctly recite clear, concise and specific examples, it
may be an indication of an inflated resume or lack of communication
skills. In either case, keep probing for more answers until you
Continuing with those tough
questions, you must now evaluate your candidates communication
skills. Listen carefully to his or her answers. How does he/she
process information? How does he/she articulate responses to questions?
Does the candidate think well on his or her feet when put on the
spot? Is the candidates resume clear, concise, and neatly
written, without spelling/grammar errors? In this highly competitive
environment, getting the job done right the first time is imperative.
Communication skills thus become an integral part of any team
accomplishing its goals.
An area that is not consistently
addressed is the verification of a candidates references
and certifications. Always have the hiring manager call references,
including the candidates supervisors, peers and staff prior
to hiring. Ask the reference about the candidates experience,
accomplishments and qualifications for the job, listening for
consistency. In addition, obtain confirmation of degrees (BS,
BA, MBA, MS), licenses (CPA, JD), and certifications (ASA, FSA,
ACAS, FCAS, CFA, Microsoft, CCM etc.). Dont leave yourself
open to surprises from inaccurate resumes and unsatisfactory references.
It is imperative to verify a candidates qualifications to
ensure the integrity of hiring.
Mark Hayakawa is a Certified
Public Accountant and President of Search 4 Integrity, based in
La Habra, Calif. His executive search firm specializes in working
with Accounting, Finance and Information Technology professionals
and clients in a broad range of industries throughout Southern
California. He performs specialized searches on an interim, contingent
and retained arrangement. He can be contacted at 562-690-0553