Hiring is about solving problems. Hiring the right person requires knowing your problems and opportunities. The best way to get the right hire for your team is to understand what problems that new hire will solve, or what opportunities they will open up.
Far too many managers hire because someone told them to, or because they have budget, or because it’s what’s expected – and often this hiring doesn’t solve problems or open opportunities.
This following is an excerpt from my book about building an amazing candidate and new starter experience. Join Our Company – How to hire and onboard technologists.
Every single new hire should solve a problem for you, or open up an opportunity. It’s as simple as that. The clearer you can become about what problems and opportunities you have, the better chance you have of getting the right people.
Even when we had open-season to hire we slowed down and solved problems or opened up opportunities. “Hire carefully” was our mantra.
- Maybe you have a sales opportunity that requires a specialist in a new technology?
- Maybe you need an agile specialist who can lead you through a multi-year transition?
- Maybe you need a staff retention specialist who knows how to stop people leaving your organisation?
- Maybe you require more talented programmers who can help you scale an already talented team?
- Maybe you need a turn-around expert, or leader, or expert trainer?
You should be able to answer the following question with absolute clarity.
What does success look like for this new hire?
For many hiring managers it’s not an easy question to answer, especially when they have an open budget and executives pushing for more “headcount”. In fact, it’s hard to push back and slow down to get it right, but it can be very much worth it.
Here are a few questions I use to help me get clarity over what success looks like for that new hire.
- What activities are they expected to do?
- What is missing right now, that this person will unblock or unlock for us?
- How will they be measured?
- Why do I need them?
- Who will they work with?
- How will they use their skills or experience?
- Do I already have similar skills in the team?
- With more training, could someone in the existing team do this work?
By defining what problems and opportunities you have, you stand more chance of getting the right person and giving them a chance to excel and succeed.
Sometimes you may conclude you actually don’t need to hire anyone, or maybe you only need one person instead of three, or maybe you need a different skill-set entirely.
By getting the facts about the problems and opportunities upfront, you stand a better chance of hiring the right person.
Have open dialogue with other managers and team members about the role, the need for it and what the role will look like. Sometimes questioning the lunacy that happens in most companies – the belief that simply throwing more people at problems solves them – leads to deep insights about how to solve problems in other ways, sometimes without hiring new people.
Sometimes adding extra people might be the solution – only you will know by understanding your problems.
My belief is that most problems in business are simply communication and people problems – so why would adding more people solve that?
Saying that, growth can be good. Growth is a sign your company is hitting measures, finding a market and aligning with its purpose. Growth is a sign that you are learning how to release more growth as a business. As part of that growth you may need more people to help achieve more market share.
When you define your problems and opportunities clearly, you’ll have an understanding about who you are looking for. This will help you articulate your needs to recruiters, candidates and your existing team. Don’t forget your current team – they will need clarity over who is joining and why. They may also know someone who wants to join.
Good candidates want to succeed, so they will want to know what they are walking into, what problems they can help solve or opportunities they can unleash, and what success looks like. They will want clarity over the direction of the team and company, and they will want to know what role they will play in achieving success. By understanding your problem or opportunity deeply, you should have no problem communicating this to them.
Simply hiring people because you “feel” like you need resource, or there is headcount available, can lead to bloated teams and ineffective delivery of service. And of course, the chances are you won’t have solved your original problem either.