6 Key Steps to a Great Hiring Process

Posted by Jenni Catron on Aug 25, 2021 2:19:40 PM

We’re all feeling some effect of the “great resignation.” 

Whether it’s turnover within your own team, stories you’re hearing from others, or the inconvenience of a lack of staff at your favorite restaurant. Team members are moving around. They are making new decisions about what they want to do, where they want to work, why they want to work there. And we are in a place as leaders and employers where we are having to be competitive in order to keep great talent. The war on talent is a growing concern for every leader. 

Being intentional in how we're selecting and building our team should always be a top priority, but this is incredibly important right now. 

How do we select great individuals to be a part of our team? Honestly, it's a bit boring. It’s not extraordinarily fun. 

But here’s why it’s important: A poor hiring decision is more costly, and more painful than a slow hiring decision. 

One thing that I see leaders do all too frequently is rush hiring decisions because we're desperate. We have an open position, we get connected to somebody who may be a great fit, and we throw them into the role because we don't really have a process for vetting them.

And then all of a sudden, we realize - it’s not a great fit. This person is not a great fit for the culture or they don't actually have the skills for the job. Now, we’ve made a long term commitment to someone we had a short introduction to.  

When we make a poor hiring decision we leave ourselves with a much more painful management issue. A poor hiring decision is more costly and more painful than a slow hiring decision. 

Today, I want to give you some very practical steps for your hiring process. These 6 steps are part of a process I have used for many years on multiple teams.  


1. Start with a clear job description. 

Simple, right? But how many of you have current and correct job descriptions for your team? Too often we give new hires the basic bullet points of the role but we never actually create the job description. As a result we never provide the clarity that helps a new team member understand what’s expected of them. Unclear expectations is a recipe for immediate frustration and disengagement. 

Having a clear, written job description is absolutely critical to the success of hiring. 


2.Have a clear process. 

Who champions the hiring process in your organization?

If you're large enough that you have an HR team, that's obvious, but for those of you in small to medium sized organizations that don’t have a formal HR person, you need to have a champion of the hiring process. 

Your hiring champion needs to be different from your hiring manager. You want to have somebody who has an independent, non biased voice to help make sure that you maintain your hiring process, and that you don't get too excited about a candidate too quickly. 

[Sometimes your process is a decision to engage a search firm to help you with the bulk of the hiring process. We encourage you to connect with our friends at Vanderbloemen if you are considering this route.]


3. Interview for the four C’s. 

You've probably heard of the three C's:  character, chemistry and competence. 


The fourth C is culture. 


Character - we want people of integrity. 

Chemistry - we want people we enjoy working with. 

Competence - we want people who know how to do the work, or at least have the ability to learn it. 


The fourth C is the culture piece and it’s often where we get stuck. Sometimes we mistake chemistry for culture. We connected well with the candidate and so we assume they’ll be a good culture fit. 

When we're interviewing for culture, we're interviewing for alignment with the values, beliefs and behaviors we've defined - the values that are critical to who we are when we are at our best. Someone might be a great chemistry fit but then later, you find that they don't actually value one of your core values. You need to make sure that in your interviewing process, you are interviewing for culture, alignment, not just character, chemistry and competence. 


4. Communicate well to all applicants. 

I have a deep conviction about this one. This is an opportunity to be respectful, especially to those who you are not moving forward in the interview process. 

The individuals who have sent their resumes to you are likely in a vulnerable place of needing to define their next step and a simple response can go a long way to acknowledge them. It can be short but my point here is to communicate. It reflects highly on your organization. 

Communicate well to all applicants and communicate frequently throughout the process.  


5. Check references and check the references behind the references. 

It's amazing how often we don't check references. We're impatient. We're ready to move on. And if we’re honest, we might be a little afraid to uncover something we don’t want to know. 

This is the time to play devil's advocate and try to talk yourself out of that “darling” candidate that you're really excited about. 

Have cautious optimism but ask yourself if you’ve checked everything you can to know what you need to know about your top candidate.  


6. Have an onboarding plan. 

We get so excited and impatient about our new hire that we often fail to adequately set them up for success.

In this article I talk about  the culture hierarchy of needs and how we want team members to be fully engaged and actively contributing to culture. The first level of the culture hierarchy of needs is: tools for the job. Your onboarding process is the first step in making sure that you have equipped this new employee with the tools to do the job well, and to integrate well. 

How are you going to onboard this person so that they have what they need to do their job, they are connected with the right people to get the right information to do their job, and they've been equipped with an understanding of what our culture is - those values, beliefs, and behaviors that shape who we are and how we work together to achieve our mission? 

As leaders, we have a responsibility to onboard well and to give that new employee every opportunity to succeed and to be a highly contributing part of our culture and our team. 

If you work through these six steps, they will appropriately pump the brakes on your hiring process and help you hire better. 

You want to build an extraordinary team. I know you do, we all do. We want to have an extraordinary team that is aligned, working effectively together to achieve our mission. This is what gets me up in the morning. And it is what is going to propel you as a leader.

What is the best part of your hiring process? What would you add?


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The Hiring Process is just one element of the Employee Journey that is critical to creating an extraordinary culture. If you’re ready to take a deep dive into developing healthy systems that produce great culture, join us for our 2-day Culture Workshop

In the Culture Workshop we walk you through our Culture Works framework which will equip you to define your values, align your team and achieve your potential.


** Culture Matters | Free Workbook  **

Most leaders agree that a healthy culture is essential in any organization. Everything we do as leaders is either building or eroding culture. 

We want to help you develop an extraordinary team culture, so if you haven’t downloaded our free workbook, please access this resourceThis guide will help you define your culture, develop your vision statement, and develop your plan for an extraordinary team culture! 




Topics: Leadership, Culture, jenni catron, Extraordinary Leadership, Tips, Hire

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