To hire or not to hire, that is the question.

For the owner of a small agency, it’s a difficult decision that could take your business to the moon, or send it crashing into the landfill.

For the manager or director of a recruitment giant, it is also what your reputation and future promotions may hang on.

When to hire, who to hire and whether to hire at all?

It may seem such a simple topic to write about, we all think we are hiring experts, after all this is what we do for a living right?

But I have found, in past experience, that some recruiters (more than most) recruit for their own firms in the most shoddy, incomplete fashion, believing in their own hunches over data and facts and going on ”gut feel” over past billings and cultural fit.

In order to help us avoid such pitfalls I thought I would share some ideas and thoughts that we can all use in order to hit the nail on the head every time when it comes to hiring for our teams.

Why don’t we recruit for ourselves with the care we recruit for others?

If we are brutally honest with ourselves, those that are a wee bit careless with internal recruitment, may be careless because of ego, arrogance, believing we know what we are doing better than others, laziness or time constraints.

But whatever it is, we need to be more careful and more considered in our approach to hiring for ourselves.

By having a structure and thorough approach to hiring including rigid scoring and testing, we will turn this exercise into a quick and easy system that should weed out the chaff and ensure we only hire the crème de la crème.

How do I know when I should invest?

Do a simple checklist and involve your other managers in the process.

If you are in a small business, speak to others — do we really need to hire? What is it going to cost? When do we need ROI?

If you are part of a big company, speak to your peers, see what they think of your team and discuss your strategy with them. Talk openly about what you are looking to achieve with your next hire.

Once you have done this, design yourself a checklist to hire with about 10 questions, all designed to lead you to a majority “yes to hire” or “no not yet”. 

What steps should I definitely take before hiring?

You can’t be sure that your investment is going to work, but you can do as much as possible to mitigate your risk.

Once you’ve got to “yes to hire” then you select people to come in for interview.

My tip is that once you interview, put everyone through a scorecard, if they score over 70% then you should proceed, any less then cut them off.

On top of this make sure you do all of the following:

  • Get lots of people involved – the more people that can help you through the process and be empowered to give you proper feedback, the better. You need to be ruthless.
  • Have an interview structure – have a 4-stage process and make sure they meet as many people as possible.
  • Do a behaviour test – there are some fabulous tests available and many will show you what personalities you are missing in your team and how people like to be managed, and you can hire accordingly.
  • Onboard properly – this is essential. Too many small firms give people one week of interviewing and then shove them in at the deep end. Make sure they are integrated as smoothly as possible.
  • Get them into training ASAP – the more you train, the more you integrate.

If you have a more rigid selection process before you even get to looking at CV’s and interviewing then you will avoid “gut feel” decisions and leave your company, team and reputation intact.

Rob Green

Rob is the CEO of GRMSearch and has been with the company since its launch in 2013. He is responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of the group as well as operational oversight of the Hong Kong, Australia, Japan and Johannesburg offices.

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1 reply
  1. Anthony Sutton
    Anthony Sutton says:

    Thanks for sharing this Matt, I like the gist of the article and recruitment businesses (among many others) are often dreadful recruiters themselves.

    Whilst the sentiment was right, there are a couple of areas that I would not agree with. Getting lots of people involved can be disastrous as can meeting as many people as possible in the interview process. Committee based recruiting creates so many ways to go wrong, we would not advise this approach.

    The starting point is properly understanding what you need and writing the job specification more like a business plan that a traditinoal wish list. You get focus and confidence in your understanding of the role.

    A structured interview process should then identify and find evidence that people have done what you want, done it brilliantly, in a way that fits the way you do business and maps with your vacancy.

    We’ve worked with the likes of Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreesen in the past and by applying “The Law of Crappy People” properly your business can fly!

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