Whether you're hiring a remote contractor or an in-house employee, making the wrong hire can be costly in terms of time, training and money. Here are 5 fail-proof steps to set yourself up for hiring success.
1. Write, and commit to, a killer job description. Think through all of the responsibilities you want your new hire to take on, and try to draw a complete picture in your post. Is this a full-time position, or a part-time one? A strategic role, or driven by execution? How will you measure the success of this position? Will they be working closely with other team members? Does this role require technical ability, marketing acumen or outstanding number-crunching capability? Is familiarity with certain programs or languages needed?
If you are unsure which skills to ask for, you should check out other similar job listings to get a sense of what criteria are in demand for jobs like yours. Even if you decide to keep some details out of your published job listing, jot down a few notes about the ideal hire for this position - reviewing these before interviewing will help you separate the winners from the wannabes.
Not hiring right now, but hope to in the future? Keep an eye on postings within your field - it will give you a sense of which skills are in demand, what new positions are being developed in other companies, and how to cultivate your own killer job post when the time comes to hire your next rockstar.
2. There are no "maybes" in culling your candidate list. There are a lot of talented people out there - especially when you open yourself up to the possibilities of filling the position remotely. You know not every applicant will be worth your time to interview. So, how do you narrow the list?
Reread your published job description before reviewing applications - this will help you recall which skills are truly necessary to do the job, and which ones are simply "nice to have." Anyone whose resume and cover letter doesn't highlight your must-have skills shouldn't make your "yes" interview list. This may seem a bit brutal, but it is necessary to ensure that the candidates you move along in the hiring process are truly the right fit for your position, and crucial for making the right hire the first time.
Don't have any applicants with all your must-haves? Have a friend familiar with the field read over your job post to help make sure you are clear about the requirements of the position - you can always edit it and invite a new applicant class to the interview table.
3. Follow your gut in the interview phase. You really do need to interview applicants to make sure you're getting the right person for the job. This is one step that will definitely save you time and money down the road, even if you're hiring for a part-time or temporary position. Whether you exchange emails, chat on Skype or hop on the phone for a conversation, taking the time to connect with your applicants can give you a better sense of the person you'll be working with. Take the opportunity to ask pointed questions about employment history, dive into detailed job requirements and talk about the applicant's availability for your position. Got a candidate who is a solid "10" on paper, but doesn't inspire confidence in the interview? Move on - at this stage, your instincts can be the best guide to your best hire.