People who hire tech people tell me over and over again how hard it is to find the best people. No doubt, in the current competitive job market, that hiring is a challenging process, especially for critical tech positions. You’ve got to create just the right combination of pay, benefits, work environment, and company culture.
Here are three tips to help you make the best hires possible.
- Work on Your Company’s Employer Brand This is the pre-work you do on an ongoing basis to make sure everyone knows about your company. One of the biggest advantages big companies have over smaller companies is that everyone knows about them. There is prestige in being Google, Facebook, Amazon, Dropbox, or Cisco. Develop a compelling speech you can give at civic organizations, schools, tech associations, and anywhere else where tech people hangout. Without sounding like you’re bragging, talk about your company including its work environment and culture, pay practices, and benefit packages. Tell stories through blogs, interviews, and speeches about individual employee successes and how your employees find deep meaning in their work. If you do a good enough job at this, you’ll have people coming to you hoping to join your firm.
- Write a Good Job Description You can’t overstate the importance of writing a good job description as part of how to hire high performing employees. In addition to describing the job, it also describes the right person for the job, it provides the specifics for an employment contract, and it’s a great tool for performance review. Look online for examples of great job descriptions, but here are five critical elements in a successful one:
- Job Title Make it accurate, brief, and concise without jargon or fluff. Generally, people should get a good idea of what the job is really like from the title. Speak directly to your ideal job candidate.
- Job Summary The summary expands on the title. This should still be concise, but it is often one or two paragraphs in length.
- Job Responsibilities This is where you provide detailed information about the tasks and responsibilities for the job.
- Job Requirements In this section, you’ll discuss the minimum requirements to be considered for the job.
- Work Environment This is where you provide an accurate description of the work environment. Obviously, you’ll want to highlight the good features of the work environment, but you must also be candid about the overall work environment. Lack of candor could leave the new hire feeling unpleasantly surprised when they come on board and could lead to a quick departure.
- Intentional Interview Process Generally, there are two parts to the interview for tech positions. Part 1 is the tech screen to ensure the candidate has sufficient technical skills to match the requirements of the job description. Part 2 is the human interview (sometimes referred to as a collaborative interview).
- In the tech screen, you devise a technical challenge, based on the job description, that will prove the candidate knows enough to do the minimum requirements of the job. Perhaps it’s configuring a VPN, writing a small bit of code, building a simple web page incorporating Java script, or something else that is a requirement of the job.
- In the human interview, you’re looking at whether the candidate has adequate interpersonal communication skills to succeed in the job. You’re looking at how the candidate answers specific questions about his or her past successes and failures, how they think they’re perceived by friends and past colleagues, their priorities, and a host of other characteristics. This is not a casual conversation and you shouldn’t treat it as such. It should be a formal interview process with carefully chosen questions, designed to provide insights into the human being you’re considering hiring. Here is a link to a post on 15 job interview questions to ask tech candidates. After a candidate passes the technical and the human interview, many companies also have the candidate interact with potential team mates to get a sense of whether a candidate is a good fit for the company culture. Some companies also use various forms of psychological or personality testing to help screen candidates. Be careful, though. Sometimes companies use testing instruments that are not designed for use during the hiring process.
It’s paradoxical that hiring the right employees is such a big part of the success of a company and yet it’s also one of the most difficult tasks for company owners, managers, and HR staff. You can help ensure your success by working to effectively create your employer brand, writing good job descriptions, and having an intentional interviewing process.
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