Goal: Recruit and Retain the Best Talent

Let’s assume that–since you’re reading this blog–your company aims to be data-driven. But you may not be approaching hiring in the same way. We’ve all seen the conventional model: find a person who has a decent amount of education in a given or related field, ask them a few questions about their strengths and weaknesses and negotiate a salary you can both live with.

But that is not always the best way to go about hiring people. There are many factors that you have not yet considered beyond what this person’s title and role might be. For instance, which team will they work on? How are their specific skills going to balance and help that team become all that they can be? How is their experience going to help shape where the company is going? What personalities will they work best with? Too often we assume that everyone will work well with whomever we put them with. Sure, they might get things done and they might be cordial, but designing teams based on individuals’ strengths and weaknesses can increase productivity and output. Similarly, the quality of work might improve if you refrain from having several of the same personalities on one team. If there are several highly analytical and detail-oriented thinkers, perhaps they need a person to drive the bigger picture and think about the creative execution.

There is now so much more to know about a person than just what is typed on their resumes. People are more than numbers, so I’m not exactly suggesting a Moneyball approach; however, considering more than the person’s resume qualifications could impact the team and the company positively. Here are a few ideas for recruiting and retaining the best talent:

1. More than keywords

Many data systems will organize candidates by keywords you put in. Do not only focus on what the candidate might possess (a 4-year degree, 3+ years experience in your field), but what personality traits you think would be the most beneficial to that role. Think outside the box and consider candidates that have an analytical background even if it’s not in the exact field for which you’re hiring. You can teach someone software; it’s considerably harder to teach them how to think.

2. Consider what you can offer

Everyone always focuses on what the potential employee can bring to the company, but intelligent folks do not want to stay at the same level forever. Ascertain what your company can provide this individual not only in the way of salary and benefits, but career and personal growth potential.

3. Emphasize education

Not only will this make your current and potential employees feel valued, but it will ultimately improve their understanding of the work and the quality of their output. Offering free online courses or even just webinars is a great (and inexpensive) way to continue your employees’ education.

4. Peer interviewing

Most people are used to having a phone interview followed by an in-person interview with their potential bosses or HR Director. But these might not be the people that this candidate has to work with on a daily basis. Therefore, some companies are implementing a peer interview program that allows current team members to assess how well the candidate will fit in with their team and the company as a whole. People who are in the job every day and know what it takes may see something that you do not.

5. Added benefits

Studies have shown that the just-out-of-college generation is excited about working in a start-up atmosphere. Why is that? Because there are added benefits that don’t come with the average 9-to-5. Things like free parking, social outings, flexible work hours, relaxed work environment, pets at work, work from home options and free transportation are very appealing to this generation of workers, and they’re usually willing to overlook the longer hours and learning curve that comes along with the start-up culture. Ask yourself what your company can offer in the way of added benefits and promote them feverishly.

6. Set the bar high

To get the best talent, you must be able to not only fulfill their personal growth goals, but also challenge them to be better. If you’re recruiting people who feel like they’re not being well-utilized, they’re going to be complacent or just quit. Set the bar high for everyone and the intelligent ones will rise to the occasion and strive to achieve what could be. Setting the bar low will only hurt the team and your company’s success.

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