Top performers are good at what they do and are recognized by others as being better than average. How do you build a reputation as a high-performing manager?
Managers must do a wide variety of things well. However, when you look at the cause and effect relationships between all these responsibilities, there is one that has the greatest impact on all the others: hiring high performers.
Managers are hired to take responsibility for moving a department or organization to its goals. If you hire top performers, the results of your team will be spectacular.
If you manage people, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know when I say that we’re in a tight labor market. Finding and keeping employees is top of mind for most organizations.
The most highly sought after managers are those who can identify the right people to move the organization forward.
Even if you feel like you’re already excellent at hiring people, remember that if you’re not getting better, you’re falling behind. What are you doing to improve your hiring skills?
Below are several things to consider focusing on so you can get to and stay at the top of your hiring game.
Do These 2 Things Well
Although there are many steps in the hiring process, there are two critical components that will make or break your ability to hire the best employees: sourcing and assessing.
Sourcing is your ability to identify a pool of qualified candidates from which to select. There are countless tactics of sourcing, including running ads, working with school placement departments, networking, bringing in recruiters, posting on social media, attending job fairs, etc., etc.
Assessing is looking at the available candidates and determining, through a variety of methods, whether the person will be successful in the position in a specific organization.
There are many areas within sourcing and assessing to consider when improving your hiring skills. This article will highlight a few that, in my experience, will move you to the top of your game quickly.
Each time you fill a position, you’ll be most successful when you focus on identifying the methods that will locate people with the type of experience and competencies you’re seeking for this particular role. Makes sense, right?
One mistake new managers make is hiring their family and friends. There are at least two reasons this isn’t a strategy for hiring success.
First, the chances that the friend or family member is the best fit for the available position are slim. While there are many things people can be trained to do, there are also many competencies that are not easily trainable or only come with years of experience.
What you’re looking for is someone who has most, if not all, of the competencies needed to do the job at an outstanding level within weeks of starting the job.
Second, if there is coaching or disciplining to be done, you’ll likely not want to do it and risk damaging the relationship. I haven’t met a single manager in my two-dozen-plus years of experience who enjoys approaching people about performance or behavior issues. It’s tough enough to do with someone you work with, but the emotional toll is exponentially higher with a friend or family member.
People fall into the “hiring who you know” trap when they don’t begin sourcing by clearly defining the position and what is needed to do the job well.
Using the old adage of “beginning with the end in mind” will increase your odds of getting what you need.
The ideal candidate behavior must be described before you can start to look for people who will fit the bill. Otherwise, you’ll be lured in by a candidate’s sparkly personality and will be unable to see the aspects of them that won’t work in the role or organization.
Although you can get away with being not so great at sourcing by hiring a professional recruiter, even the best recruiting partner can’t completely assess candidates for you.
Their job is to do a certain amount of analysis of the candidate to provide you with options that stand above the others, so you don’t have to spend your time sorting through resumes and interviewing sub-par candidates.
But, in the end, the final hiring decision must be yours. You are the one who will have to manage the person and be accountable for their performance.
Choosing the right methods for assessing is the first step in being able to identify top candidates. Using the clear definition of what success in the job looks like that you established before you started sourcing, identify ways to assess the necessary level of knowledge, skills, abilities, or characteristics.
For example, if the candidate that you’re looking for is for an open data analyst position that will be required to create complex spreadsheets, it’s a good idea to test the candidate’s ability to do so. If the position is in a call center, a phone interview is an easy but important assessment method.
I know this seems like common sense, but it isn’t common practice. Overloaded managers are lucky to eek out a few minutes to sit down and interview candidates. So, you’ll have to make a conscious habit of investing a bit of time on the front end of the hiring process.
Click here to read the article 7 Ways You Should Hire Like You Select a Mate for more tips about improving your assessing skills.
To improve your sourcing and assessing skills, you have to establish two new habits.
The first is measurement. If you don’t track your rate of success, you won’t know if you’re getting better, worse, or staying the same.
This tracking can be a simple spreadsheet or an advanced applicant tracking system. What you’re looking to track are the positions filled and what their performance level is after 3 months, 6 months, and one year.
There are a lot of other hiring metrics, but if your goal is to hire top performers, this is the critical information.
The second habit for getting better is learning. You can learn from reflection, taking a look at what is working and not working about your hiring process, and education, such as books and seminars.
After you have several hires with 6 months of performance information, you can take a look at which individuals are doing the best. From there you can take a look at your sourcing process – how did you find the candidate, as well as your assessment method – what steps did you use to determine if they would do well in the job.
What worked and what didn’t?
Then you need to block time on your calendar for your development. If you don’t put it on your calendar, it won’t happen.
Establish time each week to read in areas you feel could be improved. Schedule one webinar or seminar related to sourcing or assessing every year.
In a Nutshell
To land and keep great jobs, a manager has to be able to demonstrate the critical skill of hiring the best. To do this, establish the habits of measuring and learning in the two key areas: sourcing and assessing.
How have you improved your hiring skills over the years? You can leave your answer in a comment below.
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