Your ability to hire the right person to fill an open position is critical to your company’s ultimate success. Making the wrong hiring decision not only sets the employee up to fail, it is a costly error when you must restart the hiring and training process with a new candidate. By following six basic steps, you can hone your search for the right person to obtain the best pool of candidates for the job.

Needs Analysis

When orders are pouring in and you can’t keep pace, it’s easy to fall into the trap of just wanting to add another warm body to your staff. Don’t give in to this impulse if you want to hire the right person for the company. Instead, make the time to evaluate the skills and shortfalls you currently have.

Job Description

Knowing what you want out of the position you’re filling and articulating it are two different things. You can’t hire the right person for the job if you don’t define what the job is in clear language. It’s important to be clear on the skills and experience the candidate should have as well as what the job entails.

Market Research

To be competitive, it’s a good idea to find out what salary other employers offer for similar positions. You can also determine whether it’s standard to require an advanced degree or specialized certification for a position. You can always make your job requirements more lax or stringent than the competition, but prepare to pay more when you expect more.

Candidate Screening

Set aside adequate time to review your pool of applicants to avoid scheduling interviews with job seekers who clearly don’t meet your requirements. This is an excellent time to prescreen potential candidates before setting up in-person meetings. During a 10-minute phone conversation, you can:

  1. Clarify the pay rate or their salary expectations
  2. Find out what specific educational or professional experience qualifies them for the position
  3. Verify they’re available to work the schedule you need

If everything goes well during the phone conversation, you can set up a face-to-face interview.

Interview Approach

To hire the right person, you must determine whether they are competent to perform the job function and if they can fit into your existing corporate culture. This is your time to drill down on the specific reasons they believe they’re right for the job and how well they think on their toes. If you require an advanced degree for the position, ask them to explain how their graduate degree in Civil War Literature will help them in their role as office manager at your engineering firm. Sometimes, the answer may surprise or impress you.

Reference Check

Just because the interview goes well and you know this is the right person to hire does not mean you can skip the reference check. Some people are exactly as they seem during the interview; others are polar opposites. If the list of professional and personal contacts they provide are unable to back up your impression of them, you should rethink whether you’re about to hire the right person. It’s also a good idea to check out your job candidate’s public online profile to spot any potential trouble before making your final decision.