Matching Great Talent with Great Opportunities – How Can we Help Each Other?

Are you hiring someone to join your business team? A successful new hire is one who meets the necessary requirements, fits in well with other team members and brings value to the business. Quite often, we are asked to consult on hiring for key positions for our client companies. After all, we know their business, their systems and their needs and hopefully know their future growth plans. When interviewing candidates, take time to consider the following key areas and get the most out of your advertising dollars.

Establish your objectives. Prepare a well-defined job description that outlines the areas of responsibilities and qualifications necessary to perform the job and be sure to specify job classification upfront as exempt or non-exempt. When doing this be aware of the rules to qualifying for one category or the other. Be sure to have EOE and ADA language and considerations included in your advertisement, From the onset, it is important to identify the qualifications, skills and experience needed for the position. Set in writing the specific job requirements and characteristics you desire (e.g., a salesperson may have to be outgoing or need reliable transportation). Think about every aspect of the job and duties required and list them so you can discuss their willingness to be able to deliver at the level you expect and later on, evaluate their contributions which is good to do at 90 days and thereafter annually. It’s also good to have a company matrix showing the people and lines of reporting to share with candidates so they have an understanding of the composition of the work force.

When phone screening a candidate, if you find someone worthy to consider for an interview take the next step in the interview process by asking them to edit your job description using an opposing color of text to describe how their past skills and experience has prepared them well for this role. This exercise prepares them to be able to articulate to you if they can fulfill your expectations and you will have the opportunity to see how well they write and can communicate at a written level.

Use the same criteria and standards when hiring friends or family; and if you do, take one more step. A friend or family member may contact you with a referral. But you should not jump at the opportunity just because it is convenient or fulfills a perceived obligation. If things do not work out, it could cause a serious rift in a friendship or within the family. This is not to say hiring friends or family is strictly prohibited, but proceed with caution. Lay the groundwork upfront if you do decide to hire a family member or a friend, or a client’s referral; have an agreement and an upfront conversation that if things don’t work out you part ways with the same mutual respect to which you entered the employment relationship. This is hard to do. Do not bypass this step.

Ask the right questions; avoid the wrong ones. The interviewing process is also fraught with legal perils. Asking questions about a person’s age, racial or ethnic background, religion, political affiliation and other personal matters can make your firm vulnerable to a discrimination lawsuit. Focus on questions directly related to the job at hand. If you are unsure about raising an issue, simply don’t do it. Stick to the script, if you need advice, let us know. Consider who else you are involving in the interviewing process and how well they are versed in employment law and screening. It can be a risky area for your company.

Don’t make snap judgments or promises. If you hit it off immediately with a prospective job candidate, or the person looks perfect “on paper,” you may be inclined to trust your first impression. Sometimes because you are meeting a candidate very early in the process, you think you found a match, until you meet more candidates. Hold off from making “promises” that they will be brought in for a second interview, until you have met all first round individuals. There is more to the hiring process than the initial interaction. Go through the paces to ensure that the person truly measures up to your requirements. Consider why this person might not be the best person for the job despite first appearances. Make it a collective interviewing process, engage your team and listen to their feedback. Generally, collectively a team can get to the right answer.

Ask for transcripts to verify GPA’s and college achievements.

Ask for verification on pay: i.e. a current pay statement.

Ask for references and performance feedback and ask for salary history and their desired requirements in a new position.

Let them know a successful background screening may need to be completed prior to their start date.

Consider whether or not a non-solicitation agreement is in order and use this sparingly as a broad use of these instruments could easily make them null and void.

Get the most from your advertising costs.

Did you know you can ask screening questions at the onset of your ad/application process that will help you sort through the very best candidates very quickly?

You can send an auto reply letter that thanks an applicant for applying and lets them know you will be in touch if you find them to be a match for your position.

You can hide key words and salary ranges behind an ad so that you are automatically matched with people that have signed up in the job boards to find jobs that fit their parameters that match your needs.

Some sites let you post your logo and create videos to advertise your need at a very small additional cost.

Have your ad replies go through your website by attaching a link to your website where you have also posted your need. This way, they have the opportunity to check out your organization and do their homework and perhaps come to a conclusion that they are very interested (or not) in moving forward. Saves valuable time and energy.

Consider using the biggies like CareerBuilder and but don’t overlook CraigsList and Facebook and LinkedIn. Many times, we can find valuable referrals through our own network just by posting what we are currently working on with great success with no fees attached! Our firm’s goal is to help match great talent with great opportunities and be an extended service to our clients when it comes to making good hiring decisions, especially with key financial roles in your organization.

Background Checks. Even after you have made your choice, the process is far from over. Conduct a background check on the candidate without crossing legal boundaries and keep in mind there are risks here as well as to why you might not have hired someone due to information provided. Take care with this because there are a lot of companies out there that offer these services that are not legitimate. (We have a great reliable and proven source if you need a referral—just let us know). You also need to be consistent, don’t use background screening for one person and not another at the same level. We generally suggest using this level of screening for higher level positions and positions to which someone has a great deal of authority and control.

Documentation: Be sure to keep a list of all who applies, who was selected for interview and the outcomes.

More follow up:

Contacting the references provided by the prospective hire. If he or she furnishes a contact for a disgruntled ex-supervisor, it should raise suspicions. The problem here is people generally are going to provide references to whom they know will provide a good reference. Ask for people to whom they have reported, ask for copies of annual reviews and raise letters/and notifications.

A thriving business needs to add new and experienced hires to continue its growth. Take the time to choose wisely and engage and reward members of your team for bringing in talent. Build rewards LAO around retaining talent and for having built strong, meaningful relationships that allow for the early identification if members of the team want to move on and help them with picking the right time to leave for the right role. That’s the bridge we all hope to have for all time.

Let me know how I or other members of TeamDKB can help to fill your talent needs. Please also consider who you would refer to us. Do you know a CPA or staff accountant/bookkeeper that might benefit from joining our team? We appreciate your introductions and referrals.
Please contact me with any HR and Recruiting consultation matters that you have.

Sandi Tucker, HR Manager
[email protected]