Getting Your Hiring Strategy Together

Bob Concannon

Here's the bad news: most of yesterday's hiring techniques don't work today in the face of ever-increasing competition among manufacturers and retailers.

Here's the good news: if you adopt a hiring strategy and employ the following 6 steps you can build your dream team!

Step 1:

Get the view from 20,000 feet. Today's hiring demands a re-orientation of thought-away from "hiring the best" to a "hiring the best of the most appropriate." Step back and look at what you really need, and you will have a greater chance of long term success.

How do you hire the "most appropriate"? Start by bringing together the interview team to discuss how they envision the position. What skills are needed for the position today? What will be demanded a year from now? Even if there are differences of opinion from those involved in the hire, there will also be common ground.

Next update the "job description" that you have on file for the position. Today's toy business is changing rapidly; yesterday's job description might not fit.

Step 2:

Examine options for finding the candidate. Once you have determined who you need you have to strategize on how to attract that person. The route you take depends on time and budget limitations.

The most inexpensive is the "word-of-mouth" network. Risk factor: knowing someone who might be looking to change jobs. The most convenient hire may not always be the best possible hire.

You can place an ad in the classified section. Risk factor: why the reader might be looking at the ads in the first place.

You can hire an agency which shares their "client candidates" and might have the person you seek in their files. Risk factor: remember their client is the candidate, not you the hiring authority.

You can retain a search firm. The firm should partner with you in developing a search strategy and in locating individuals with specific skill sets. Risk factor: time urgency. It takes time to search a given universe.

Step 3:

Understanding Motivations. Ask "why" oriented questions in the interview. You can always see a person's accomplishments in a resume, but motivations aren't so apparent.

Understanding motivations is critical. Why were they attracted to this company? These questions will help you learn what makes a person "tick."

Step 4:

Check References. Once you have narrowed down the candidates to those fitting your profile, ask the leading candidates for references of previous managers, people managed, and/or customers services on a regular basis. Certainly, if not requested by you, the candidate will give references only of those who will say they are the most fabulous thing since The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Also, ask for a Social Security number to verify a college degree on a resume. Even if a degree is not important to the position, if the candidate has listed a degree and you discover they do not have it, that tells you something more about the candidate.  

Step 5:

Extending the offer and managing the transition period. Extending the offer is complex. Managing the transition is even more complex. If you have located a candidate who is unemployed, the transition will be less encumbered. But, if you have located someone who needs to resign current employment to join you company, watch out!! Read my lips-Counter Offer and Buyer's Remorse! No employer wants to be left with an unexpected vacuum in their work force. You need to manage this transition, make sure the courtship continues. Take the extra time to make the new hire feel special. Bring them to the fold as soon as you can-even before their actual start date. Once they have resigned from their employer anything can happen-be careful.

When you extend the offer, get rid of the old thinking that someone "needs a week to think about it." If you have done an effective job of courting each other, the decision should be obvious. Make it clear when you extend the offer there is a time limit(24-48 hours) to think about it before it is rescinded. This will allow less time to shop other offers.

Step 6:

When in doubt, get help. Never be ashamed to ask for outside help. Hiring the most appropriate individual should be absolutely critical to the success of your business. That's why firms like ours exist.

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