Many of us don’t have the luxury of passing hiring needs to a recruiter. The team isn’t big enough, we don’t have the budget, and we can do it ourselves. But, what a pain! So many resumes and so many mismatches out there. Here are some tips to make the process easier.
1) Get a clear picture of the role. Stop! Take time to really understand and document the hiring need. Meet with the hiring manager (or sit with yourself) and the people who will work with the new hire. Capture what the role will accomplish in the next year to be considered successful. What tools will they use and who will they interact with? Why would the right candidate want this job? Will it be a career move, will they be shaping a new product, is there an exciting new tool they can work on, or will they work with a notable team they can learn from? Create a job posting with this information. DON’T list every detail (e.g. must be a good communicator, do projects as assigned). Come on now! Of course you’ll consider those things, but sharpen your posting down to the bare bones of what really matters. DO keep it short, snappy and focus on what's in it for them. DO take time to do this. Very few people spend time here, but it makes for a much more efficient resume review and interview process.
2) Nail down the interview team. Understand clearly who will be interviewing the candidates and when that will happen. Get the interview team together to confirm their roles and what each of them will be looking for. Come to an agreement on the top 3-5 factors you will assess. It's much better to learn this at the beginning of the process, rather than after you've sorted through 100 profiles.
3) Create a filter. For many roles, it makes sense to put a filtering question right in the job post. "As a product manager, tell me about a time you had to say ‘no’ to a new feature and you explained that decision to stakeholders" or “Please tell me what you built during your last Java project and your role on the team.” Be creative. The filter doesn’t have to be used to assess the candidates, it could just be including specific words in the subject line. Requesting anything merely separate those who read your posting and want the role, from those who are spamming their resume everywhere. You can also indicate that you’ll only respond to applicants that comply with your request.
4) Post the job. Pretend you are the ideal applicant, and do a web search for a new job. What sites do you gravitate to? Maybe it's LinkedIn or Glassdoor, but perhaps there is a niche job board, or forum, where you can be contributing, meeting people or posting the role. Post your role, and refresh it every so often.
5) Use templates. Create a template email you can use to reject candidates that don’t have the right skills and experiences. Let them know you appreciate learning about their interest, but didn’t see a specific crucial skill on their resume. Encourage them to tell you if you are wrong. This takes a second, can help get relevant info if it’s out there, and closes the application loop. Importantly, this creates a good candidate experience and positive feeling about your company (your employment brand) - which is the right thing to do.
You can also use a template to get more info on ‘maybe’ candidates. Thank them, tell them you are interested, and ask for more info about why they are leaving, how they fit on the team, their role on a project, etc… This can give you the info to move them in or out of the process, without taking a lot of time.
Finally, use a template for interviewing candidates. Have a question for each assessment factor the interview team agreed to, and use those questions to guide your interview.
6) Always Be Recruiting. Ask others on your team if they know someone for the job. Tell your neighbors and your contacts at other companies about the role you are looking for. You never know where that candidate is, and talking to others helps make them ambassadors for your cause. It’s important to remember, referrals are easier to onboard, tend to be better performers, and stay longer.
Email matt [at] hitolabs dot com if you have questions, need some help with your templates, or have any comments! Good luck!