Why is it so hard to find the perfect person?

We’re not talking about the perfect person in life (that’s a different blog!), but the perfect person for your organisation.

This might be a strange topic to be talking about now, but there are still a lot of businesses hiring, and a lot of people looking for work so how to find the perfect match between people and business?

Beany is hiring right now and we’ve been inundated by applicants so how do we find the ones that will deliver value to our customers, our company and to themselves, beyond the paycheck?

When we ask our clients what is the most challenging part of your business, often finding good team members comes up.  Here’s what we’ve learnt from our mission to find perfect candidates:

Step One – Get a Good Standard of Candidate Applying

We use a variety of channels to find our perfect person:
We use Seek and their job ad help function to try to make our ad as good as possible:

  • What makes your business different

  • Describe the role clearly

  • Bullet point the benefits of working for your company

  • Bullet point the skills you need

  • Use their 5 question option as a filter mechanism


We have also used recruitment agencies recently which is painfully expensive but does seem to deliver a high standard of a candidate. Recruitment agencies were charging around 15% of annual salary pre COVID, that has dropped down to between 7-9.5% now which makes them more affordable.

Step Two – Do they suit you & your Business?

Until recently this would have been my third point, not my second, but it is important to find people that you want to work with. If you are a small business owner, cultural fit is even more important than if you’re a large corporate.  You will be working closely with this person, it should be someone you like.

There are the following steps to find out what sort of person they are:

  1. Be clear about your values and what’s important to you.  Catie Noble from Reviva shared with me her values-based hiring process which first states the values that are important to her business:
      • Go Boldly

      • Get Involved

      • Give Back
    This gives a real flavour of the type of business Catie runs and makes it easy for candidates to think “Yes, I want that”
  2. Interview them and listen for repetition of words – this is an easy way of understanding what’s important to them.  People usually tell you who they are if you’re listening.  Ask them how their colleagues in previous roles would describe them.  Ask them for specific examples of how they might have met one of your values in other roles.
  3. Let other team members come into the interview and talk to candidates – the more heads the better.
  4. If you have the luxury of physical meetings (Beany hires exclusively in the virtual world), invite them into the kitchen and make a cup of coffee with them, see if they rinse their cup afterwards, see how they relate to the receptionist, watch for all the non-verbal clues as to their value system.
  5. Always check references – it’s often funny the difference between how people answer in point 2. (“my colleagues would say I’m easy going and fun”) and then the actual reference turns up another kind of person altogether!

If you’re not sure about the person, don’t hire until you are!  This can mean a number of interviews and interactions, if they are the right person, they start to look righter and if the wrong person, they start to look wronger.  Hiring the wrong person is incredibly expensive and demoralising for everyone so take your time.

Step Three – Do they have the skills?

This is crucial and will be specific to each industry.  For Beany, we give very complex and demanding technical tests to see what level they are at before hiring because quality control is so fundamental to our business.  If you’re looking for a barista, get them to make a coffee. If a plumber, ask them in detail how they would fix a specific problem.

It can be useful to set some standard ‘problems’ for your business and ask them in detail how they would solve it.

References can also be useful (but not infallible) in working out people’s technical skills.  Asking people directly is unlikely to give you a reliable answer.  Not because they lie (although they could) but because people are notoriously bad at benchmarking their own performance so you really have to test, in one way or the other.

Finally, remember that you are selling your business and the position to the person as much as they are selling themselves to you.  Make them excited about the opportunity to make sure you get the best candidate. And don’t forget to be courteous & kind in the process and let everyone know where they are up to, and if they have not been successful. Being left hanging is not nice.

 

 

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