What’s the most critical aspect of consistently hiring great people?

It happens before the offer. Before the interview. Before the job posting. Even before the job description.

The most critical aspect to hiring well is building a profile of the exact type of person you are looking for before ever beginning the hiring process. If you and your team do that before every hire, you’ll hire great people time and time again.

What’s the key to building that profile? The process is two-fold: understanding your company and understanding the need facing your company.

Understanding Your Company

The first step to building the profile of the perfect candidate is having a broader understanding of your company. Specifically, what does your company offer? And what are its core values?

Today, more than 70 percent of employees are disengaged. Part of that is the fault of bad management. But a vast majority is the result of people put in jobs they don’t really like or in an environment that doesn’t mesh with their personality.

The key to having engaged employees is to match what they want to what your company offers. Specifically, if you have a place that is about teamwork and have managers who like to give out praise, obviously you’re looking for people who are collaborative workers (as opposed to independent workers) who seek praise (instead of, say, only caring about more money).

Along those lines, it is essential to identify the key values of your company. At Zappos, for example, their only real differentiator is their customer service, so they need outgoing people. When hiring, regardless of the position, they search for people who enjoy working with customers.

The most important aspect of this understanding is being honest with yourself about your company. Don’t pretend to value collaboration, for example, if you have a highly-competitive environment. Be honest with what your company is and what it offers, and find people who fit that mold.

Understand The Need At The Company

Next comes fully understanding the need the company faces. After all, a company doesn’t ever need a person just for the sake of hiring a person. A company faces a need of some kind, and the best solution is to hire someone.

This again requires an audit of sorts of the real need facing the company. First off, what is the need exactly? Can the need be met with something other than hiring someone, such as through software or through outsourcing? If a person is needed, is a full-time person needed and what level (entry level, senior level, etc) would be required to meet that need?

If hiring a person truly is the best solution, it is time to start building the profile of the person who can fit that need. In some cases, it might be pretty vague. For example, the business need could be a lack of potential customers, so the solution is a marketing person who can bring in more potential customers.

What will that marketing person look like? Well, they should have some skills that, obviously, will attract more potential customers. Perhaps they are particularly strong at social media marketing. Or email marketing. Or event marketing. Or perhaps they could be good at any of the above, so long as they bring in more potential customers.

Imagine The Perfect Candidate

Once you have a firm understanding of both what your company offers and what your company needs, it is time to start outlining the perfect candidate. For example, perhaps that means someone who can design a great website and app who enjoys working in an independent environment and primarily seeks recognition.

You know what won’t come up in your profile? Specific qualifications. In other words, most likely you’re not looking for a person who has seven years of public relations experience and a master’s degree.

What you’re really looking for is someone who has or can form great relationships with the press and is an expert at handling crises. Perhaps seven years of experience is an indicator of that, but not a prerequisite.

Create The Hiring Process Around Finding That Candidate

The point is, to paraphrase a line from Liam Neeson, you should be looking for someone with a very specific set of skills. Once that profile is created, the job description, the way you source and the job interview can all be constructed around identifying that person.

For example, if you need someone who is a strong project manager (generally a job where experience matters), it makes sense to source more-established candidates and then have your interview composed of scenario questions, as project managers need to be able to think on their feet. Conversely, if you are looking for more of a creative position, perhaps the screening process should be just looking through portfolios.

Bottom line, the key to hiring comes in the preparation. If you have a clear vision of the candidate you need, it makes it very easy to find that person. Conversely, if you don’t have a clearly-defined profile of the person you want, there is a good chance you’re not going to find them.

About VoiceGlance

VoiceGlance is a cloud-based hiring tool used by forward-thinking companies to hire smarter, instead of harder. Learn more here.