Rodney Evans knows human resources. She has served as a human resources consultant for KMPG Consulting and vice president of human resources at Deutsch Bank. From creating and delivering change programs to clients undergoing transformation, defining people strategy and business goals, including design and train on talent life cycle initiatives, to coaching executive team members to improve leadership effectiveness, Evans does it all with finesse. As principal of Rodney Evans Consulting, she offers 5 clear tips to hire the best candidates.
- When you have a relatively small organization, you need to balance hiring for expertise with getting utility players that can toggle various functions. If early hires are going to grow and evolve with the company, they need to be adaptable. Looking for self-awareness and flexibility during the interview process is key. If someone is only comfortable in his or her area of expertise or doesn’t want to take on ad hoc responsibilities as needed, they are not well-suited for a small company.
- Have multiple people from various functions and levels be a part of the interview process. Don’t focus on the hierarchy, as in only people up the management chain. In small companies, chemistry is a key aspect of culture. Including junior folks in interviewing candidates who may be their boss will ensure they are bought into the new team member. Moreover, if the candidate bristles at being interviewed by someone younger or less experienced, that tells you something about his or her ego.
- At the conclusion of the interviews, have a feedback session where every interviewer contributes. I do not suggest hiring someone unless there is a consensus that they are right for the organization.
- Do real interviews. There are tons of free resources online to structure these, and it is amazing to me how many organizations, large and small, mature and nascent, just wing it. Is asking specific questions more awkward than a conversation? Yes. However, balancing the two will ensure you get real information, and you are not gauging a candidate purely on social compatibility. Unprepared interviewers tend to dominate the conversation and walk out without a meaningful impression of the candidate.
- When small businesses are adding a functional person, it can be hard for them to measure their competence. For example, when hiring your first marketing person, who in the company knows enough about marketing to tell whether the candidate knows their stuff? Use your larger network; I’ve interviewed recruiters, HR people and coaches for both my clients and my friends even though I am not on the payroll. Find someone with the background and ask him or her to participate in the process to make sure you know if the candidate has the skill set you need.
This article was written by Robin D. Everson for Small Business Pulse