How to Know You're Hiring the Best Fit
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This article was written by Alex Sixt, a member of the Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble content team. Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble is a freelance matching platform leading the future of work. If you’re struggling to find, vet, and hire the right freelancers for your business, Entrepreneur NEXT will help you hire the freelancers you need, exactly when you need them. From business to marketing, sales, design, finance, and technology, we have the top 3 percent of freelance experts ready to work for you.
Hiring a new employee is never as easy as it sounds. Anyone can present themselves well in an interview, but how can you truly know they’ll be the right fit for your business as a team member? The truth is, it’s quite easy for most people to look good on a resume and impress even the most critical hiring managers. The real challenge comes when making final decisions on hiring candidates. While there is no perfect set of criteria for every business, there are strategies you can use to help your decision.
There are many aspects to consider when bringing someone new onto your team: personality, work style and location are some factors that are necessary to pay attention to. Although it’s difficult to gauge some of these aspects remotely and even in-person, a well-thought-out hiring process will include interaction with your staff or even asking for work examples. With remote work being currently the most popular option, working behind a screen may feel like a limitation when hiring, but it can actually work to your advantage by revealing how adaptable your new hire can be.
Hiring a new team member is never easy or a sure thing, but there are multiple steps you can take throughout the process to help you feel more confident in your choice. However, remember that in any situation, it’s best to follow your gut and trust yourself if you feel any red flags come up. Luckily there are many ways you can vet your new talent throughout the process that you can tailor to your business and time frame.
Here are some tactics you can use when bringing a new member onto your team:
Conduct a live interview.
A live interview is one of the most common ways to get to know a candidate, but it can also be very misleading if you don’t ask the right questions. By now, just about everyone knows how to answer the typical questions about their weaknesses, strengths, etc., which means that your list of questions may be an easy ace for most applicants. To really get to the root of their personality and work style, you’ll want to compile a list of questions that are tailored to what you’re looking for (i.e. not pulled from a random website).
When developing a list of questions, consider what personality a new team member should have to be successful in your workplace. For example, if you’re hiring for a sales position, a good candidate should have a cheery, outgoing, and determined personality that will help them when going after clients. Consider what work style you’d like them to have as well; a sales person may need more of an independent work style, whereas a copywriter should work well with teams as they need to collaborate with designers, branding professionals and more.
The number one problem shared among entrepreneurs today is finding, vetting, hiring, and retaining expertise.
Check their references for a clearer view.
Checking references is easy to speed through without getting any real feedback. Dig beneath the typical questions on their interpersonal relationships, punctuality, work ethic, and more. Feel free to prod references on deeper questions such as what type of work environment they thrive in, what their biggest accomplishments were, and what some noticeable challenges were for the candidate. This can help to give you a clearer image of how well this candidate will fit into your business and team culture.
If a reference mentions anything that seems like a potential small issue or red flag, don’t scrap the idea of hiring the candidate entirely. There are always two sides to the story, and if you feel strongly positive about the candidate, ask them about the issue the reference raised and discuss what possibly could have caused them to say this. Their explanation and attitude towards the situation will tell you far more about their character and abilities than taking the issue at face value ever could.
Have them meet the team.
Although we currently live in a remote world, meeting the team is still a possible and wise step to take in the hiring process. In the post-Covid workplace, employees may not be sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in cubicles, but they will still interact via communication channels and video calls. Thanks to Zoom and similar video-chat tools, a team meeting is entirely possible- even if a little awkward. Watching how they interact with others is important to understanding how they will likely communicate with other staff and if their personality meshes well with everyone.
Look for cues as they interact with the team; do they listen well, or do they talk over others and interrupt frequently without apology? Watch to see if they seem distracted and on their phone or seem generally unengaged during the meeting. These are just a few red flags to look for during your introduction meeting; after the call, check in with your staff to collect their impressions. They may have caught good or bad characteristics that you could have missed, and can provide great insight as they’ll be the ones working closely with the candidate.
Related: How One Bad Hire Can Spoil the Team
Do a test project.
One of the most effective ways to learn about a candidate is a test project. By providing a smaller-scale project for a candidate to work on, you’ll get a much clearer picture of their work style and ethic. To create an effective test project, start with a task that will take about one week, to avoid potentially wasting time that can drag out the process. Make sure it’s in line with the type of work they will be taking on in their role. If their role will require them to work closely with a team, make sure they collaborate with others on the project, and vice versa if their role will be more independent. Regardless, be sure to provide them with clear instructions to guide them throughout the process and prevent any friction.
After the test project is complete, meet with the candidate and give them honest feedback; this will help to set a tone for open communication if you plan to hire them on officially. If they worked with other team members, ask them for feedback about the candidate’s work, or include them in the final meeting to give feedback personally. How the candidate receives the feedback will also be very telling of the type of team member they’ll be.
Ensuring a new hire will be successful at your business is never an easy task. However, by taking a few extra steps and going beyond the typical process, you can feel more confident in your choice.
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