The Two Most Important Steps
Step One: Create or Update Written Job Descriptions
Don’t start recruiting unless you have the job description for the new hire. If you have one, update it. If you don’t have one, create one.
This may seem pretty simple but I am constantly surprised by how many companies get this wrong. They turn this into a task without the thought needed to make it impactful. Develop job descriptions, with defined duties, responsibilities, authorities, and skills. This is essential for determining expectations, both on the part of the employee candidate and you, as the manager. The job description should show what you really want the new employee to do. What are the competencies and knowledge required?
According to the Gallup Q12, the most important elements to job satisfaction and employee engagement is, “I know what is expected of me at work.” When the supervising manager and the employee begin the working relationship knowing exactly what great looks like…greatness follows.
When preparing a job description, write out the ongoing objectives of the position, rather than just a set of skills. It should be clear to the candidate that you want someone who can accomplish certain objectives.
Again, what is expected of them and what does success looks like?
Step 2: Identify the Desired Behaviors and Personality Styles
This may be the best advice you will ever get when it comes to this topic.
I’m going to ask you to think about your best employees, both current and past. What character traits made them successful as an employee? Think about the adjectives and the descriptors that come to mind.
Also understanding how people are different based on personality types is really helpful. What is your personality type? Find out Here
Let me help you with a shortlist of what I’ve found are critical traits, but it’s not a complete list.
- Work ethic
- Communication skills
- Goal orientated
- Personable and Engaging (Likely to connected well with prospects and customers)
- Strong self-image and confident
- Persistent in the face of apparent adversity
- Self Starter
- Thick-skinned and rejection tolerant
- Self-accountable for own failures or mistakes
- Organized and manages time effectively
- Willingness to learn and grow
- Challenge themselves, self-improvers
- Coachable and committed to continuous improvement
- Level headed and not overly optimistic
What are these? Things that you cannot teach or train people on. These are personality traits or competencies that they either have or don’t have. If you want them, you must hire people who possess them. Don’t ever fool yourself to believe you can train someone to have a strong work ethic for example.
Now once you’ve identified the list of characteristics from your best employees you need a second list.
Close those eyes again and think about your worst employees. The ones that have failed, caused problems or continually disappointed you. Write down a list of what made them such a struggle.
- Lack of focus
- Lack of empathy
- Lack of teamwork
- Not motivated to achieve
- Lack of integrity/honesty
Now from this exercise, you have a standard for which you will or will not hire or promote. This is critical! Determine your standard and abide by it with every hiring decision.
Moving to the next step in this process, it is time to determine the traits that are critical must-haves to you. These may vary from manager to manager or for different job descriptions. So think about the standards required specifically for each role. A manager position may have a different set of character traits than someone in accounting, for example. Let’s nail down the standards even more.
Under the positive character traits, choose the ones that are MUST Haves.
Then anything left over from your list will be Nice to Haves
Don’t make your standards unobtainable with too many “Must Haves.”