How to Hire an Employee: 6 Tips to Head Off Hiring Headaches
Knowing how to hire an employee with the skills and experience your business needs means knowing how to manage a headache. You also need to know how to move fast in a competitive hiring environment: Robert Half’s research shows that lengthy hiring processes are a major factor in losing top candidates.
That’s often easier said than done. For starters, an attractive job posting will likely yield a high stack of resumes to review. Once you settle on your top candidates — and that might take days — you’re looking at a series of phone vettings, video interviews, skills testing and more. All this at a time when you’re already slammed with work and juggling the challenges of managing remote and hybrid teams.
And not to pile it on, but you really need to get it right. Making a bad hire means more disruption for your team and wasting still more valuable time and money.
So, how do you hire an employee when your plate is full of other responsibilities and you need to staff a role (like, yesterday) with a skilled professional? Here are five helpful suggestions and one bonus tip that can help set you up for success:
1. Focus on the job description
Whatever the state of the hiring market and whatever position you’re hiring for, crafting a detailed, compelling job description is critical to your success in recruiting top talent. (It can also help to reduce the number of resumes you’ll need to review.)
If it’s a new role that you’re trying to staff, carefully consider the tasks you want the employee to take on for both daily duties and long-term projects. Determine the levels of education and experience your ideal candidate should possess.
If you need to hire an employee for a vacated role, take the opportunity to evaluate whether you want to make changes to the position before staffing it again. Chances are you’ll want to add or shift some responsibilities, especially if the job description has not been updated recently.
As you write the job description, include enough information to attract job seekers who have the skills and experience for the position — but avoid creating an overly long or specific description. List all your key requirements, and briefly say how success will be measured for the successful hire.
2. Cast a wide net for talent
When you’re ready to start recruiting candidates, cast your net deep and wide, and perhaps consider hiring professionals who are outside your local market but could work remotely. Post the opening on your website and on job boards that cater to your company’s industry, and consider advertising the open position on your company’s social media accounts, as well.
Another tip to help expand your candidate search: Ask your current team members, as well as trusted contacts in your professional network, for referrals. They can often be a great source of promising leads, including professionals who may not be actively looking for a new job but are potentially still interested in a new opportunity.
3. Don’t cut corners in the resume review
Reviewing resumes and other application materials is typically a tedious and time-consuming part of the hiring process. But being thorough in your review is a critical step toward determining whether a candidate’s qualifications align with the criteria for the available position.
During your review, look for keywords and phrases that match those in the job description. This will show whether the candidate studied your posting and took the effort to speak directly to your needs.
Carefully review candidates’ technical skills, but also look for evidence of their soft skills, such as the clarity of their writing (as demonstrated in their resume and cover letter), or in the details of their professional history (experience with presentations at team meetings, for example, or in cross-departmental collaboration).
Finally, consider what type of impact the job seeker has made in previous roles. Do they clearly explain the added value they delivered and how they helped the company its goals? You want to hire an employee who can start making a difference from the outset.
4. Go deep in the interview process
As you did when reviewing resumes, zero in on both technical knowledge and interpersonal qualities during job interviews with potential hires. Open-ended and hypothetical interview questions allow candidates to discuss their experience and skills in detail. Those questions also provide you with opportunities to assess a candidate’s analytical and verbal skills, tact (how they talk about a previous employer, for example), diplomacy (how they describe interactions with other teams), and other soft skills.
Stay friendly, listen closely, stay engaged and ask follow-up questions when you need to. Try to gauge how well the candidate prepared for the interview by testing their knowledge of your company and industry. You can’t expect them to have read your annual report or know the full history of your company, but they should understand of and appreciate the firm’s mission and product. Aim to hire an employee who embraces the company, not just the job and paycheck.
While your conversations will naturally take different courses, be sure to ask all candidates the same general questions to keep the playing field level. And explain what makes your company and its corporate culture special. Remember, interviews are a two-way street: You want to find the most qualified person for the job, but a candidate will want to be equally excited about joining the team. If the interview goes well, you’ll be able to recognize when both elements are present.
5. Determine the right salary range
In any hiring environment, offering a competitive compensation package is essential to attracting top talent. By consulting resources like Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide, you can confirm that the level of compensation you provide is on par with, or better than, what your competitors offer. (You can also use Robert Half’s Salary Calculator to adjust national average salary ranges for your market.)
It’s perfectly natural for a candidate to take a day or two to consider a job offer. There also may be some back-and-forth negotiation, especially if you’re trying to secure a highly skilled and experienced professional or hire talent for a specialized position.
Be patient and fair during the candidate’s decision-making process: You don’t want to hire an employee who will be anything but delighted to start their first day on the job.
6. A bonus tip for how to hire an employee
Does the hiring process still look daunting to you? If so, know that you’re not alone.
Making a successful hire takes a lot of time and energy, especially when you go it alone. That’s why many hiring managers will turn to a talent solutions firm like Robert Half for help. We have decades of experience placing candidates with clients for financial, administrative, IT, legal, creative and marketing positions.
The hiring process is complicated and a job of its own — but it doesn’t need to be a solo mission. Whether you want to hire one employee or engage a group of project professionals, whether you’re staffing remote, hybrid or in-office teams, and whether your needs are short-term or full-time, Robert Half can help you hire skilled professionals today.