How to hire the right talent

Marsha Lindquist

You probably think good talent is hard to find these days. You may even be frustrated with, and tired of, the process you have to go through every time you need to add help. Consider the typical scenario: You advertise for an open position, receive a slew of resumes, but only find a few candidates you actually want to call in for an interview. Once you conduct all the interviews, you’re not impressed with any of the candidates but you’re forced to make a decision because you need to hire someone for the position right now, or so you think.

Too often, employers hire the wrong people for their organization because of the perceived need to hire someone right away. As a result, they fall into the same pattern they’ve always used to seek employees, and they’re less than pleased with the results. But good talent does exist; you just have to know how to find it. The key is to try a new approach for locating top-notch talent. When you do, you’ll realize that finding exactly who you are looking is actually quite simple. The following tips will enable you to find the right talent so you can make your organization a success.

Seek Seasoned Employees: Many organizations today employ young, inexperienced people who may think and act like they know it all. Having young, dynamic, and energetic people within your organization is very important, but you also need to have seasoned individuals with the knowledge and skills ­you can only gain from years of experience to mentor and teach the younger employees.

If you need to hire help, don’t automatically go for the fresh out of college graduates with their multiple degrees. Instead, think of what you can gain from hiring someone with years of experience in the workforce. When you hire seasoned individuals, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. The seasoned or experienced people take great pride in being asked to help develop the younger workers, and the younger workers can gain a great depth of knowledge from these people with so much experience.

Consider More Than One Job Category: If you can’t seem to find the right talent, you may be looking for the wrong type of employees. Most employers automatically think they have to hire full-time permanent individuals. This is not true, so you need to get out of that mindset. Re-evaluate the position you’re hiring for. Is it really a permanent position? Do you really have enough work to justify bringing someone on full-time? Or might you be better off hiring part-time people, consultants, or a virtual assistant? This is a major evaluation you need to make because it could potentially save your company hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When you consider other job categories besides full-time permanent, you can alleviate a financial burden for your company, and you may be able to bring in more creative individuals. Thinking you can only hire full-time permanent people limits your possibilities, and that may be why you can’t seem to hire the right talent.

Don’t Rush: One major mistake employers make is being in a hurry to fill an empty position. Slow down and analyze what needs to be done and what type of person you are looking for to join your organization. Really think of all of the possibilities. Can you move people around within your organization? Do any employees have crossover duties that you can combine into one position? Maybe you’ll find that you can combine two jobs previously done by two different people, thus freeing one of them up who would be absolutely ideal for the position you are seeking to fill. When you slow down and take the time to really evaluate what your organization needs, you may realize that the solution is not hiring someone at all.

Consider a Different Demographic: When looking to fill a position, don’t forget about retirees and senior citizens. You can find a lot of talent from these people who don’t want to work a lot, but they have incredible experience. This group is likely not seeking full-time employment, so you may be able to hire them as part-time employees. The experience they have and the knowledge they bring may be better than hiring someone right out of college with a fabulous degree. They have been in the workforce for many years and know how to work, and they won’t need to be taught the subtle nuances of business.

Don’t Hire From a Piece of Paper: When you first try to find somebody to fill a position, you probably have a wish list in mind of exactly what skills and qualities you’re looking for. But if you find someone with the right attitude, you will likely end up getting a lot more than what you were looking for and you will be more satisfied with your decision. So always base your hiring decision on the person, not on what’s on his or her resume. Sure, you may have to look for a little different skill set than what you originally thought you wanted, but the important thing is to find the person who will mix well with your current team. In the end, you will be better off hiring the person with the right attitude and only part of the skill set you were looking for rather than someone with the right skill set and the wrong attitude. You can always train job functions, but you can’t train somebody’s attitude.

Get Demonstrated Results: Before you hire someone, be sure you ask for and get demonstrated results. You don’t want to interview someone and have her just talk about what she has done in the past and the type of results she attained. You want to find out what she did differently to make a difference in the last organization she worked for.

For example, if you’re hiring a salesperson, you want to know how he increased sales at his last job by a certain percentage in a short period of time. Don’t just ask for these demonstrated results. Verify them as well. Find out if this candidate has done in the past what you will be asking of him. This will give you a better indication of whether he will be able to perform what you will be expecting.

Make the Right Decisions for Your Organization: You know that hiring individuals for your organization is difficult. And hiring the right talent is even more difficult. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be. When you slow down, examine what you really need for your organization, and approach the hiring process differently than you have in the past, you may be surprised how easy it can be to find the right talent. They are out there; you just have to know how to find them. And when you do, your organization will benefit greatly from the decisions you have made.

Reprinted with the permission of Marsha Lindquist, President of Granite Leadership Strategies, Inc. Marsha has over 30 years of experience as a business expert in government contracting. She has enhanced her clients’ cost competitiveness, improved their contractual positioning, and solidified overall strategies with such companies as BP Amoco, DynCorp, and Northrop Grumman. Marsha adds value by telling you what you need to hear. For more information, visit www.GraniteLeadership Strategies.com or email Marsha@GraniteLeadership Strategies.com


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