Are you growing?

6 Tips for hiring the right people

By Deena Stevens

Here at Onspring, we are growing fast and I have to give a shout out to the owners and department heads who’ve done such a good job at vetting and hiring my new co-workers. I’ve done HR work at past positions—it’s not a fun or easy job. I have to say, learning from hiring mistakes is much harder than learning from a good experience.

Getting great, new people isn’t easy, but it is so important to take the time and attention necessary to make the best choices. A few bad hires can really cripple a company and cause hard-to-correct damage. While there is no foolproof way to make sure a bad hire never happens, there are some good practices you can follow to find the best talent for your organization.

1. Know Who You Are

First off, you need to know your company. The culture, the expectations, the company vision, where you are going to be in the next five years. Based on that, you can develop a feel for the kind of people you want to hire—the cultural fit is as important as the talent fit. I have seen both sides of this, and when an organization knows itself, that’s when the best candidates come to the hiring table.

2. Create a Great Job Description

After you are clear about what you are looking for in a candidate, write a great job summary and description. The better your job is defined, the better your chances are that you’ll see a lot of good candidates that fit your requirements. A good job description can also help eliminate the candidates who aren’t a good fit for the job.

3. Timing Is Everything

When possible, hire before you desperately need to fill the position. I think this is pretty simple to understand. Hiring for the future allows you to take enough time to search for and screen the prospects. Never shop when you are in a desperate “we needed to fill this position yesterday” mode. You will need to make sure your new hire has enough time to get up to speed so they can succeed in their new position. And while timing is everything, I want to stress that new employees should be part of the company’s long-term strategy. Sometimes, it is best to hire the candidate who has the right attitude and willingness to learn rather than someone coming to you who already has experience.

4. Standardize Your Hiring Process

It is best to standardize your hiring process so you can measure each candidate consistently. Here are a few of the basic rules to follow:

  • Establish key requirements for the job—know what special qualifications or experience are needed. This will help you develop standard questions that help predict good hires.
  • Investigate past performance and ask tough questions relevant to the job tasks.
  • Within the legal boundaries, ask questions that will assess a candidate’s fit for your company culture—try to get a handle on their characteristics and traits.
  • Don’t jump to conclusions about any one candidate. I have always found that the cream rises to the top—just make sure the cream isn’t sour.

5. Track the Results

You’ll want to track results of your hiring efforts. We are using our own Onspring software to track new candidates throughout our process—it works great. While our audit management software and vendor management software  are excellent, our platform is versatile. We use Onspring to manage the many different aspects of the hiring process. We track the sources of the candidate—where did they learn of the job opportunity, how long did it take to fill the position? If we have and can add in information on the candidates, we do. We also track interview questions and answers, and we take interview notes. This sets us up to use Onspring to track onboarding and offboarding procedures—we have those steps standardized, too.

6. Promote from Within

Promoting from within is always a good practice if it makes sense for the position. One, you have a person you know and it builds good company morale. This may then allow you to have more candidate options to fill the old position as they may not need to have as many skills or knowledge when coming on board.

Finally, when you make the right hiring choices, you positively impact retention, company culture and ultimately, your organization’s bottom line. A great hire can propel a company toward its goals, enrich the work environment and make the long path to success a little shorter.

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