Adopted from a Method 123 email received 1/18/11 from to whom it is copyright.
Published here January 2022.


Musings Index

Five Steps to Hiring the Right Staff

To ensure you hire the right staff for the right roles, our contributor recommends that you take the following steps:

1. Define the Role

Sounds easy, but defining the role properly is the most important step to take when recruiting new staff. You need to create a Job Description document that describes the:

  • Purpose and responsibilities of the role;
  • Reporting and communication relationships;
  • Skills, experience and qualifications needed;
  • Team fit and performance criteria;
  • Salary, rate, commission and benefits; and
  • Work environment and special conditions.

2. Find Top Candidates

Next, advertise the role both internally and externally. Make your advertisement as specific as possible by listing the key responsibilities. Explain the challenges that they will face. List any special requirements. Make it sound enticing, but don't oversell it.

Then while the adverts are running identify your selection criteria for interviews, based on the characteristics in the Job Description.

When the adverts close, review your list of applicants against the selection criteria and choose between 3 and 5 applicants to interview.

3. Interview Candidates

Next, interview the selected candidates. Make sure you prepare fully for each interview, so don't just "wing it". For every interview, you should:

  • Prepare a list of questions before you start.
  • Cover all areas of the Job Description during the interview.
  • Address any strengths and weaknesses from their CV.
  • Consider the quality of the questions they've posed to you.
  • Be specific, direct and to the point at all times.

Don't be afraid to take notes during the interview. You will find that if you're interviewing more than 3 candidates, you will need to rely on the interview notes heavily when progressing to the next stage.

4. Test Candidates

Depending on the type of role you're recruiting for, you may also want to formally test your candidates. Here are 10 ways that you can test candidates to determine their suitability against the Job Description:

  1. Perform personality, competency and numerical testing.
  2. Get them to send samples of work completed in the past.
  3. Ask them to perform specific project tasks. For instance, if hiring a software developer, get them to write you an example program.
  4. Perform a second interview with management.
  5. Get them to meet the team and allow the team to ask questions.
  6. Take them for lunch with your team and see how they socialize.
  7. Get them to do a formal presentation to your team.
  8. Seek 3 professional references, all from past employers.
  9. Ask them for 2 personal references, for character checking.
  10. Speak to their prior customers to confirm their competency.

5. Select Candidate

Based on the interview and test results, the next step is to select the right person for the job. If you have a number of people that you can't decide between, then here are your options:

  • Hire neither and start again.
    It's difficult to do this as you've put in a lot of work to get to this point. But it may be better to start again than hire a candidate who will not meet your needs fully.
  • Hire both and deliver earlier.
    In some cases you can split a Job Description in two and allocate the responsibilities to more than one person. It's challenging and risky doing this, but in some cases you can deliver the project earlier and at the same cost by hiring 2 gifted candidates at the same time.
  • Select the best candidate.
    In most cases you're landed with this option. If both candidates are "on an even par", then don't pass the decision on to someone else, go with your gut feel. We could give you numerous statistical testing methods to choose the right person, but at the end of the day they have to be able to do the job and fit in with your team — and only you will know which candidate is best to do this.

Your ability to hire the right people will determine your success as a Project Manager. So take your time and use this recruitment process to choose wisely.

Good luck with your recruitment.

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