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5 New Year’s Resolutions for Hiring Managers

We admit it. Our New Year’s resolutions of exercising everyday and not eating junk food haven’t panned out so far in 2011. In our defense, it’s too cold in Boston for anyone to expect us to walk to the gym. And that jar of jelly beans as you enter our office isn’t going to get eaten without our help!

There are some hiring-related resolutions that we are committed to keeping. We think you should keep them too.

(1) Take time to plan…before you launch the search. Too often, organizations need someone hired “yesterday” and jump into the process by throwing a poorly developed job posting up on a random smattering of job boards. Instead, take some time to identify exactly what you are looking for in the role, make sure that all decision makers are involved at the outset and that all stages of the recruiting and hiring process have been outlined in advance.

(2) Update your status with job announcements. Facebook and LinkedIn status updates are great for sharing news, especially announcements that your organization is hiring. You can also reach out to targeted people in your network to let them know about any open positions. Don’t forget to Tweet your job announcement too!

3) Don’t search for a “unicorn.” Whenever possible, define a position that is realistic and an ideal candidate profile that exists in more than a handful of people. Are you looking for a set of skills and competencies that often do not co-exist within one person? Recognize that if you go forward, your search may be challenging and may not lead to a successful hire without concessions being made. Consider recasting the position into something more realistic and test your job description with colleagues and peers to ensure that it is reasonable and clearly communicates the nature of the role.

4) Ask behavior-based interview questions. Behaviorally-based interview questions allow candidates to describe past experiences in which they successfully demonstrated specific competencies. We’ve found that examples of past behavior are the greatest indicator of future behavior. For example, in order to assess someone’s relationship building experience, pose the question: “Can you tell me about a time you had to form trusting relationships with internal constituents?”

5) Embrace the reference check. Too often hiring organizations treat the reference check stage as a necessary evil, as the last “required” stage before the excitement of finalizing an offer.  It is important to realize, however, that reference checking is not the end of the hiring process but rather the bridge between the hiring and on-boarding processes.  Not only will reference checking help you make the best hiring decision possible but it will also support the hired candidate’s successful transition into his or her new role.

Got other resolutions for hiring you plan to keep this year? Leave a comment and let us know!

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