So many hires, so little time. Fuel your team’s rapid growth with these nine no-fail hiring tenets.
Isn’t it easy to find great people to hire?
If your answer to that was a resounding “NO” (or even a healthy guffaw), then you’ll relate to our struggles here at . Over this past year, we’ve hired over 50 new digital marketers — and at the rate we’re growing, we’ll hire another 50 next year. That’s a lot of job postings written, applications read, and interviews given.
With so many hires in so little time, we’ve learned a thing or two about streamlining the hiring process. In the hopes of saving you some sweat and tears, here’s the 9-step hiring process we now swear by:
1. Involve Team Leaders From the Get-Go
Team leaders need to be accountable for finding and hiring top talent onto their teams. Period. Recruiters and HR departments should support their efforts — but when you lead a team, the buck stops with you.
Once your company’s leaders accept this fact, their mindset should change from passive to active. Rather than sitting back and waiting for candidates to come their way, leaders should be active participants in the hiring process. Encourage leaders to schedule some time each day to do something—anything—to fill the open role(s) on their teams.
2. Define Roles Clearly
You need a clear vision of what you’re looking for before you start the hiring process. If you are the least bit unclear on what the role will entail, stop what you are doing and devote whatever time is necessary to find clarity.
The worst possible thing you can do is post a job that has not been clearly defined. A clearly-defined role helps you identify better candidates and hire people who are a good fit for your team in terms of experience, skillsets, and culture. Knowing what you need will help you find it faster (and without wasting your team’s limited time).
3. Write Unique, Specific Job Descriptions
Once you have clearly defined the role you are looking to fill, it is important to review the job description you will post to attract candidates. Avoid simply posting the same job description as the last hire, because your needs have probably changed. Better yet — encourage the team managers to help write job descriptions from scratch, including details that would excite someone.
When writing your job descriptions, do your best to avoid industry jargon and business speak. Inject some humanity! Even better, really think through the core requirements of the job. Are you sure you need someone with a college degree to do the work, or will you accept someone with equivalent work experience instead? Do you really need someone with a marketing degree, or would you accept someone with a mass communications degree?
Understand that every “requirement” you put in your job description has the potential to negatively impact or limit the number of people who might apply for the position.
4. Consider Every Candidate
Six years ago, when I was leading an online learning business, I posted a job for an attorney editor. We received over 200 applications in the first two days. That’s right — 200.
I reviewed every resume myself.
Assuming you’ve followed the first three steps, you likely have a very clear vision of whom you need for your team. Allowing an automated HR system to run a first pass on your candidates runs the risk of taking otherwise qualified or interesting candidates and dumping them into the “rejected” pile.
I realize this means a lot of work — mind-numbing, eye-bleeding work — but it’s worth it. You may find a candidate who might be a fit for another open position, or a good fit for a position you plan to open in three months. Sometimes you stumble upon a candidate so strong, you need to create a new position just for them.
Yes, reviewing every resume yourself is ugly, boring work. Do it anyway. It’s worth it.
5. Trust Your Gut
Never bring a candidate back for a second interview.
If you are taking the trouble to bring a candidate into the office for an interview, be sure you have enough eyes on the candidate to make a decision that day.
Bringing a candidate back for a second interview just tells the candidate that you weren’t organized enough to ensure they met with everyone who mattered. Plan ahead and ensure everyone whose opinion you might like gets to meet and spend some time with the candidate. That way, you can make a quick decision and snatch up a candidate before someone else does.
6. Always Be Recruiting
As a former salesperson, I love the phrase “always be closing.” Now that I lead teams, I’ve adapted that to “always be recruiting.”
You never know when you may need to hire to fill a position. People leave jobs all the time and for a variety of reasons:
- Internal promotion
- Going back to school
- Caring for a new baby or infirm family member
- Winning the lottery
People leave. As a hiring manager, your job is to be ready for those departures. The best way I know to be prepared is to always be recruiting. And when I say always, I mean always.
Recruiting should be a daily or weekly part of your routine. You should constantly look for people who can add value to your team. Finding top performers takes time. Get in front of that process. Start recruiting for your next opening now.
7. Use Your Network
Once your job has been opened internally and the job posting has been made public, there are two things you must do. The first is to look at your network with a critical eye to see if you can short-circuit the hiring process by talking with one of your connections. Sometimes, this means a direct connection is a fit for the role. Other times, it means that one of their connections is a fit for the role. This should be easy enough to discern by spending some time on LinkedIn.
Second, promote your job across your networks. Write a compelling call to action and post the job on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Ask your connections to re-share the job with their connections. A simple “please share” or “please retweet” works wonders.
8. Use Your Team’s Network
In addition to promoting the job within your network, tap influencers within your business and ask them to share the job as well. Remind your team about your referral program if you have one — and if you don’t have one, start one! Internal referrals are the lifeblood of any fast-growing organization.
While this step sounds easy, there is a lot of work required for it to work well. Most people take shortcuts when building networks — they assume that they can get results by bossing others around.
My power tip is to give of yourself first and ask your network for their support later. Do a favor for your connections — whatever they need accomplished that you can help with (editing documents, mentoring a teammate, planting a tree in their yard). Once you have a reservoir of goodwill to draw from, asking connections to promote your job listings will yield much better results.
9. Know Your Audience and Communicate Accordingly
When filling a role, not only are you the “hiring manager” but you are also “corporate spokesperson and salesperson.” Often you will encounter candidates who know very little about your company or who have some incorrect assumptions.
At this stage of the process, it’s important to assume a “sales mindset.” One of the most important ways that great salespeople close sales is by anticipating objections and proactively addressing them. The same applies to hiring managers. Try to anticipate why candidates might not want to talk with you and address those objections up front.
One quick example:
I spent two years working for a very large multi-channel retailer with both a sprawling suburban campus and a trendy downtown office. When I was doing outreach and connecting with people on LinkedIn to build an internal paid search team, I made sure in my connection request to let them know I was hiring the team into our downtown office — because I knew the people I was hiring were used to working downtown and probably did not want to drive out to the ‘burbs.
True to form, many of the candidates I interviewed did not even own a car. I’m convinced that proactively addressing that objection helped many of those candidates (and later team members) say “yes” to that initial connection request.
Change Your Mindset: Hiring Is Not a Chore!
I’m convinced the above nine steps have helped me hire streamline the hiring process to attract and hire some of the best talent faster and more thoroughly than the average hiring manager.
Most people look at hiring a teammate as a chore. I encourage you to re-think that approach. When you have an open position on your team, nothing is more important than quickly hiring an A-player. There are very few things that have the ability to impact your team as quickly, thoroughly, or completely as hiring top talent.
Sean McGinnis is the EVP of Marketing at , a performance-marketing agency serving the needs of many of the largest Home Services brands in the U.S. As EVP, he leads a team of 100+ digital marketers across a variety of functional areas and disciplines, including SEO, PPC, Content Strategy and Digital Outreach. Sean has been involved in digital marketing since 1999 and previously served as the marketing leader for Sears PartsDirect, as well as GM of an online learning business in the legal sector.