10 Tips for Making a “Sweat-Free” Hire

By Barbara Mitchell
HR Expert and Co-Author
The Essential HR Handbook

You know you need to hire someone to make your company or department more efficient and effective. But you want that person to be the right fit. You want them to be happy in their new job. And you want them to fit in with the corporate culture. It’s not an easy task.

Here are 10 tips to help you do it well, do it right, and make the process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible. After all, that’s the point, right?

1. Do you really need to fill this position? When someone leaves our organization, we immediately jump to hire another person to fill their shoes. Take a deep breath and consider this idea: Rather than rush to hire, realize that this may be the perfect time to evaluate whether or not the position is needed in your organization. Ask yourself: Could this person’s position be combined with another position? Or, in fact, is this position critical to your success? Hm … interesting to think about, right?

2. Is the job description up-to-date and reflective of what is needed? Job descriptions can get old quickly, so this is a great opportunity to review anything that may be stale and update it to reflect the current required and desired skills needed.

3. What skills/abilities/attitudes does someone need to succeed in this position? Take a breath here because you really want to think this through. You don’t want to repeat mistakes or put a person into a job at which they are destined to fail. So take your time at this point in the process to determine the success factors that will make the hiring process easier and go faster.

4. Should you go outside the organization to fill this position, or are there internal candidates to consider? If your organization has a job-posting system, be sure to follow it and post open positions. Sometimes, however, it makes more sense to hire from outside the organization to bring in new ideas.

5. Where would be the best place to find candidates? Most hiring managers and some recruiters are totally focused on using the Internet to find candidates. While the Internet is a great source, it isn’t the only place—and it may not be the first place you should look. Consider using your personal network to get the word out. Does your organization have an employee referral program? These are highly successful and cost-effective ways to find people. Be sure you cast a “wide net” for applicants so that you have the best possible candidate pool from which to choose.

6. Are your interviewers well-trained in interviewing skills? I can’t tell you how many horror stories I hear from job applicants who tell of being interviewed by interns or entry-level staff who ask a series of questions that have little or no relevance to the position. Some interviewers haven’t even taken the time to review a resume before calling an applicant and then proceed to ask for information that is covered on the resume. This does not make your organization look good to applicants.

7. Are applicants treated with respect all the way through the process? Applicants make decisions early on as to whether they want to work for your organization. Even in difficult economic times, people are looking to work for organizations that treat them well in the process. When you say you will get back to an applicant, do it! Even if you haven’t made a final decision yet, at least let them know they are still in the running for the position.

8. Do you have a system for evaluating applicants that is fair, legal, and consistent? This can be a simple as a spreadsheet or form you develop to track the strengths you see when interviewing. Then, when the interviews are completed, you have an easy way to make a good decision. Remember to get input from others who have interviewed the applicant.

9. Have you listened carefully in your interactions with the applicant? This is a key to making an offer that will be accepted. If the commute is the issue, how will you sell the applicant on a long or difficult drive? Maybe it is by offering telecommuting a day or two a week. Just know that you need to be listening carefully so that when you make an offer, it is accepted.

10. Once you make the offer, have you stayed in touch with the applicant? You want your new hire to be so excited that they can’t wait to get started and make a contribution to your organization. Keep in touch with them between the time they accept and when they start. Email them occasionally or call just to let them know you are looking forward to them starting with your organization.

For more tips on hiring and all things HR related, read The Big Book of HR.

About Barbara Mitchell

Mitchell is a human resources and organization development consultant who is widely known in the areas of recruitment and retention. She has experience in both for-profit and not-for-profit sectors and has consulted for a variety of organizations around the world.

She served in senior human-resources leadership positions with Marriott International and several technology firms in the Washington, DC, area before co-founding the Millennium Group International, which she sold in 2008.
Her books include The Essential HR Handbook, and “The Big Book of HR.”