I’ve probably written on this topic before, but it warrants bringing up again because it’s such an integral aspect to your company and its growth. Hiring is one of the most overly difficult tasks.
There isn’t a simple solution to making the hiring process any easier. Finding the right people for the right seat is the most important aspect of your company, which makes it the most difficult. At my time at Peake Media, I’ve been involved in the hiring process of almost everyone at the company. Luckily everyone we currently have on board has been great for us, but how do you know that in the process?
I believe to remove certain worry you have to develop certain criteria of the hiring process — aspects that must be in line for someone to progress. For myself, I begin with three things in the application: 1) Resume, 2) Cover letter and 3) 4-5 writing samples.
*Note: Writing is the lifeblood of what we do, which is why I have the third. You may have another example you’d like to see.
What makes this concept easy is that I can quickly remove candidates for positions. If someone applies to a job at our company, but doesn’t submit the three pieces, they are immediately removed from the candidacy.
It’s also fair to note that in this process I eliminate more than 50 percent of the field. In fact, I’d dare to say I remove closer to 80-90 percent simply from not having those three pieces.
When I go into the first interview with a candidate, my initial screening has given me confidence that they can follow simple directions. As a leader looking for future leaders, that’s a huge deal.
I will then test the back and forth via e-mail. I’ll ask a few questions and see how thorough they are in getting back, their verbiage and how the conversation persists. I will then move into a phone interview with about 5-8 questions.
I’m simply feeling out the candidate at this point. I’m looking for consistencies in the resume, confidence over the phone and an energetic attitude. Finally, after we hang up, the next, and sometimes final, test comes into play.
I wait. And I wait. I’m waiting for a follow up, really of any kind. I believe in journalism interviews are sometimes lost due to missing a follow up. Additionally, a lot of great questions are used in the follow up after an understanding is established. Not only is this great for journalism, but in any role. I think to sales especially. If you don’t follow up with a lead, you may be missing the vast majority of your sales.
Unfortunately, over the past several years of hiring, simply waiting for a follow up has removed the final 5-15 percent of clients. I’m not sure how this good gesture has fallen to the wayside. I was taught from an early age of applying for jobs that you always follow up. I was following up with clients when I had my own lawn business at 15 years old. A follow up is a good gesture, it gets the next move solidified and it helps establish a line of communication between interview one and the next interview. In my own experience on the applying side, I would follow up after each individual interview. Sometimes I’d have questions, but other times it would just be to thank the person for their time.
It’s safe to say too that the hiring process over the past couple of years has become much more difficult. People aren’t as good with the small steps as they once were. They don’t follow up like they want a job. However, I think having certain criteria in place that you look for continuously will aid in picking great people. The ones that have made it through my “system” are some of the greatest employees and leaders I’ve ever known.
I’m always looking for new ideas in my hiring system. Tell me about some of your systems in an e-mail and we’ll discuss them further.
Tyler Montgomery is the Editor-in-Chief of Club Solutions Magazine. For thoughts on his blog, the print issue or the industry, reach out to him at email@example.com.