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Hiring the right candidates for your business


Running a successful business is all about having the right people in the right positions – people you can rely on to do their jobs with minimal supervision and who will contribute usefully to the decision-making processes. This isn’t always easy to do, of course, and relying on résumés submitted in response to broad advertising can eat up a lot of your time without generating useful results. How can you identify which candidates are really right for your business? These tips will help.

Understand what you need

A surprising number of business owners and managers go looking for new hires with only a vague idea of what they’re really after. How well do you understand the role in question? If you’re looking to replace somebody, do you really want someone who does things the same way, or could you improve on that? At this stage, it helps to get input from everybody else in the business whose role directly connects with that one. In particular, it’s useful to ask people who will be working under the supervision of the new person what they would find helpful in a manager, and what qualities could help to improve their performance or job satisfaction. This approach will help you to identify the soft skills that often mean much more than simply having the right qualifications. It will also help you to find somebody who fits into your team.

Target the right people

Rather than casting your net as wide as possible, and finding yourself with so many responses that it’s impossible to sort through them all in any rational way, target your job advertising so that you’re reaching out directly to groups with a high likelihood of including the person you need. Wolverine Solutions Group is an organization that specializes in targeted advertising and can help you to identify exactly the kind of groups you should be looking at. In many cases, consulting experts like this will help you not just with one hire but with many subsequent ones, particularly if you’re searching for people with specific core skills relevant to what your organization does.

Be a visibly inclusive employer

Although you should be refining your search when it comes to education, skills and personality, you should also be making an effort to keep it open where other characteristics are concerned, because you want to reach the largest possible pool of suitable people. Even if you have an equality statement somewhere on your website, it’s worth stressing in your advertising that it is your policy to give equal consideration to applications from all candidates because many people in minority groups get knocked back so often that they might not apply otherwise. Stress that diversity among your employees is seen as an advantage.

Focus on accomplishments

What’s the most important thing to look for on a candidate’s résumé? Many people automatically jump to qualifications, but there are an awful lot of well-qualified people out there who sit at their desks all day twiddling their thumbs and doing as little as they can get away with. You need somebody who is not afraid of hard work and is willing to take on challenges, and the best way to ensure that is to look for people with a track record of actually getting things done. At interview, you should be asking candidates about their achievements and encouraging them to describe situations in which they felt uncertain to begin with but were able to do the research, develop the skills or identify the resources necessary to get the job done.

Encourage questions

An interview should always be a two-way process and you can often learn as much about a candidate from what they ask you as from how they respond to your own questions. Do the priorities suggested by their question hit with the way your company does things? Do they seem genuinely curious and interested, or do you get the impression that they’d be just as happy somewhere else? Do their questions suggest that they have an insight into the kind of challenges that face your organization day to day, going beyond what you’ve directly told them about? The best candidates will make you think about your own established processes in new ways, and that’s when you’ll know that you’ve found somebody who could really have something special to contribute.

Although no hiring process can ever be foolproof, this approach will significantly improve the odds of you finding the right person within a reasonable amount of time. It will also help you to find people who feel that your organization is the right fit for them, increasing the chances that they’ll stick around, and a good amount of time will pass before you need to do this again.