One of my clients always says, “You hire for skills, but you fire for culture.” How about this: hire for skills AND culture.
I learned from the best, my colleague Dani Rodenbough, of Trouble at Work. Here’s her short list for hiring accurately:
1) Create a job description to get clear about the role and how it fits into your organization. Include responsibilities, shift hours, compensation, any travel, direct reports, supervisor, and physical requirements. Define very specifically what decisions this position is empowered to make, and which require approval.
2) Describe the job’s specifications so you’ll recognize a great candidate when you see one. Expertise, experience, special training, and skills make up the job spec. Add a list of characteristics ideal for the role (for example, creepy canniness with numbers for your bookkeeper). Include, too, characteristics ideal for your culture. I require demonstrated initiative for every employee working in a small business. We owners can’t afford to chase people about!
3) Filter OUT instead of filtering IN. Select first for skill fit only those candidates that have the job’s minimum requirements. Then further hone your list by filtering for those who fit the position’s characteristics and your company culture. Remember, this isn’t either/or, you want skill fit AND culture fit.
4) When you’ve got a winner, pay for a background check. (I like ACS Datasearch.) For less than $100, you can include a credit check for any money handlers, and a driving record for anyone behind the wheel on company business.
Ultimately, you’re looking for the best human standing, not the last one. Throughout, compare candidates to the job description and spec instead of comparing them to each other. If none is the right fit, rinse and repeat the hiring process. It’s far more expensive to hire-fire-hire than to go back to the candidate pool for a more accurate match.