Why you aren’t finding that gem of a candidate

Written by LauraRenner Published in

Thought Leader Blog

For this past New Year’s, my girlfriends and I took a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, aka PCH. This is California Highway 1 that drives along the west coast and we drove it from San Francisco down to Santa Barbara. In case you don’t know, along this coastal drive is where you see some of the most stunning ocean views one can imagine. The drive is exhilarating, and a little scary, as you wind around and up and down the cragged coastline.

Before moving to San Francisco, I lived in Monterey for a few years. Monterey is right on PCH. We would often drive down it to grab lunch in Big Sur or maybe even visit Hearst Castle. My point is that since Monterey is a stop along PCH, my friends and I would drive on it often without thinking much about it. As a result, I was excited for our New Year’s road trip and thought it would be fun to check it out again. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

You see, I never actually researched anything about the drive down PCH. For this New Year’s trip, a friend researched places to stop. Yes, I knew about big tourist attractions like Bixby Bridge, the 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach and eating at Nepenthe. But I had no idea about the other places we stopped, the hidden gems of PCH. I thought I had seen the stunning views of PCH. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve taken some of the hikes. Here’s the crazy part: they aren’t marked! There are no signs at all indicating any kind of hiking trail. According to my friend’s research, she would input latitude and longitude coordinates into the GPS. Coordinates! We’d pull over on to the side of the road, sometimes where no other cars were, and magically, there’d be a trail hidden through the bushes. I found truly stunning views on this drive, views that I never imagined existed before. I got to experience some of the best natural beauty I’ve seen in all my travels, all because my friend came up with a plan before we got started. And that’s how my New Year’s trip down PCH is related to hiring.

Do you have a hiring plan? Or are you just going through the motions of hiring that we all know so well? Think about a typical hiring routine:
   1. Write the job description
   2. Post the job ad
   3. Screen resumes
   4. Interview candidates
   5. Decide which candidate to hire
   6. Make offer

You can go through all of these in much the same way I used to drive down PCH, without really thinking about it. As a result, you’re going to find candidates who are superstars to everyone, like the famous tourist attractions of PCH. Your gem candidate might get lost in the mix if they don’t have something you’ve stated you require but, in actuality, don’t really need. For example, requiring that someone have 5 years’ experience would cause you to overlook that gem who only has 3 years’. If you were to put some thought behind your hiring process, here’s how it might go differently:

   1. Write the job description: Instead of approaching this as what they’ll be responsible for or what qualifications they need to have, think about what you’ll need them to accomplish in the first year and build the job description around that. You’ll find gems who can actually do the work instead of someone who supposedly has the right amount of experience you think you arbitrarily decided was necessary.
   2. Post the job ad: Does your job ad include your company values and your mission? You should always hire people who believe in your mission. Otherwise they’re not going to stay long or they’re just going to be there for the paycheck. Both are a waste of your time. If you don’t include your values in your job ad, you’re risking losing those values over time.
   3. Screen resumes: Review the resumes in line with your new job description, your company values and your mission rather than the qualifications.
   4. Interview candidates: Use a question template so that you ask the same questions to each candidate. Otherwise, how can you compare who really is the best fit for that position and your team?
   5. Decide which candidate to hire: Evaluate your candidates against the job description, values and mission. Your gem is going to stand out!
   6. Make offer: Make the letter exciting and welcoming. Help your new hire to get started on the right foot!

By really preparing for your new hire search, you are going to find the gems for your team, much like my friend found the gems of PCH. Isn’t finding that gem worth the preparation time upfront?

Thought Leader, Laura Renner, helps business owners make smart hiring decisions by getting them to hire with intention. She works with businesses on developing their hiring strategies and systematizing their hiring processes. Laura believes that surrounding yourself with people who are going to make you better is the only way to ensure you're maximizing your life.


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