If you’re like many of my clients, you have probably posted a job to fill, only to find yourself sifting through 200+ UNqualified applicants.
With the likes of Monster, Indeed and Career Builder simplifying the job hunting process, it has made it easy for serial job seekers to blast out applications to a mass number of postings without even reading the full job posting.
But this doesn’t help you—you need to find the ‘right’ person to without wasting your time! This means you need to be extra diligent in your quest to hire, in order to reduce the number of serial job seekers you encounter.
To help you find the right fit for your new role, follow these top 5 tips…
Know Your Team Fit
Before you even post a job, you have some thinking to do. Ask yourself how easy is it for you to describe what your team is all about and what type of person you need to join the team?
The best way, in my opinion, is to begin by assessing your current team as well as yourself:
These are just a few of the questions you should think through in order to be clear about the right fit you are looking for, prior to constructing the job posting.
Bonus Tip - If you struggle knowing the personalities of your current team, consider using a tool like Everything DiSC Workplace®. In my experience, it offers an objective way to assess the different styles of both you and your people. It will help you avoid hiring the wrong fit by learning more about the type of person who may rub you or the team the wrong way. Call or email me if you'd like to give Everything DiSC Workplace® a try.
Don’t just ‘Post and Pray’
Job postings are a passive method to source candidates; you simply ‘set it and forget it’. But unless you hire help to review all of the resumes that roll in, I don’t recommend posting to public job boards—this is where serial applicants hangout because it’s very easy for anyone to apply to everything!
Better than posting to a public board is sourcing people through places like LinkedIn or hiring someone else to do the sourcing for you.
Agencies, while expensive, usually offer a guarantee to replace a bad hire and consultants are particularly great at finding those who come highly recommended. Regardless of which option you choose, both will save you the headache of dealing with serial applicants.
In my experience, people who come highly recommended have an 80% higher rate to be a fit for a role because seldom will someone put their neck on the line to recommend somebody who is a dud.
It’s vitally important that you’re crystal clear about the job function to be performed. By having a really crisp posting, you can reduce the number of, “Oh, even I can do that job” applicants, which only add to your pile of unqualified resumes.
To do this, write the posting for your open role identifying the 6-8 key criteria the right person absolutely must have—it should NOT look like every other job posting in the market, nor should it be a full job description filled with internal lingo.
Make sure your criteria includes both the skills required to do the job, as well as the behaviours you’re looking for that fits your business and team we talked about above.
Feel free to look at other similar jobs to get a few ideas for how to write the description, but make absolutely certain that your job posting captures the unique details of what YOU and YOUR business needs.
The serial job seeker will respond to anything they think they can do – so the more explicit your job posting is, the higher the likelihood of good quality applicants and reduction of ‘lookie loo’s’ wasting your time.
Bonus Tip - To ensure you’ve covered all of the necessary bases, have a few people lend a critical eye to the posting to check that it conveys the right level and complexity of the position you’re looking to fill.
Use a Title With Kick
The first thing a serial applicant will look at is the title, followed by the position summary, yet so few use this space for impact. This is a great spot to help nix ‘quick clicker Louis’ from automatically applying.
Just because the job title in your company is Customer Service Representative doesn’t mean you can’t post Customer Service Representative – Articulate, Quick Thinking & Data Savvy. This unused space in the title field is a perfect spot to differentiate your role. Right off the bat the reader will ask themself if they meet your criteria and you’ll eliminate a bunch of unwanted hopefuls. Likewise the summary – don’t just regurgitate company fluff here. Use the key success profile of the position to summarize the criteria you’re looking for. Think of it like the lead to a very interesting news article – a few short words that make it interesting to ‘click here.’
By using both of these underused spots you’ll increase your chances of:
Talk to Your Network
I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn. It is a great tool for building your own professional network and it also serves as a powerful resource for viewing candidates before you meet them. Leveraging your network is a great strategy to avoid the serial job seeker.
If you have access to your own LinkedIn network, make sure you tap into it. Tell your peeps you are looking to hire and send them the posting to share or think about who they know who may know suitable candidates (hopefully they will tell two people who will tell two people… and so on). No matter if they’re friends, family or former colleagues and bosses, they’ll know people, and they may be able to connect you with your next right-fit candidate.
But LinkedIn isn’t the only way to connect with others. You can also try:
Help is But a Call Away
Hiring someone new to your team can be time consuming and, for some, even daunting especially with the number of serial applicants out there. The good news is you don’t have to go it alone.
If you have a position you need to fill and are tired of slogging through a sea of serial job seekers, I’m here to help. As your partner, I’ll save you time while finding the right person to join your team and organization by:
Get in touch with me and let’s talk about finding you the right person for the job—meeting and getting to know people is one of my most favourite things to do!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “should I promote from within or hire externally?” And while I wish there was a quick way to answer this question, there simply isn’t.
When this conflicting decision arises, there are several factors I look at, and recommend my clients consider, to help decide and prepare accordingly.
For the most part, hiring from within is seen as a very positive practice. However, if you promote the wrong person, missing the right skills and attitude, you will have upheaval as a result.
Likewise, introducing an external hire into the team can bring forth new ideas, fresh thinking and objective perspective. But if the rationale for going external is not understood by the team, and people feel overlooked the person can be rejected pretty quickly–particularly in a tight knit group with an aversion to change.
Either way, hiring the wrong fit for the role or the team may lead to:
Taking time to consider the right type of people you need, who fit your environment, share the same values as the team and have the right skill set, is the key to determining whether to promote from within or hire externally.
To prevent bad feelings, it is very important to consider internal staff first in your selection process before going outside of the business.
To help you learn from other’s experience, I’ve highlighted some scenarios that underscore the pitfalls of in-house promotion vs. external hire.
Scenario #1 – Internal Hire
Meet Tony Saildude. Tony was a National Sales Director in an ever-changing, fast-paced company that was trying to acquire market share in a highly competitive industry. After his Sales Manager, Joyce Leadcraft left the company to stay at home with her 4 young children, Tony suddenly had an opening in their small business sales division.
Over several years, Joyce built the team from the ground up and was always there to ensure deals made it through in a timely manner. She continuously answered policy and process questions and effectively stickhandled internal conflict with both Marketing and Operations.
Acting quickly, Tony decided to select his best salesperson, Ron Sharp, for the role. Ron was well liked by the team and senior leadership, always upbeat, a great relationship builder and had been in his role for 4 years, frequently attaining the pinnacle of CEO Sales Club annually.
Ron was delighted with the promotion. He received a handsome increase, a parking spot and the coveted ‘inside office’. But shortly after he was promoted, the complaints began rolling up to Tony from the team.
Ron wasn’t available like Joyce had been and he didn’t take the time to solve internal issues. He usually took long lunches or breaks and frequently was seen socializing with people in Marketing. Ron was also bossy to the team, barking out deadlines and often raised his voice before closing himself in his office. And when they had internal issues with other groups, he would say things like “suck it up buttercup” leaving them frustrated and resentful.
Ron’s greatest strength had always been building rapport with customers, but in his new role, he was stuck in the office all day, forced to stick-handle a myriad of questions and expected to answer to Tony–it was not a good fit for Ron.
What Tony really needed was someone who could run interference internally, communicate clear direction, hold others accountable and also be readily available to resolve issues. These were skills and strengths Ron just did not have.
The Learning: Questions When Promoting Internally
Scenario #2 – External Hire
Meet Mary Newhere. Mary was the new Senior Vice President, Human Resources for a financial services company. The department was built on a foundation of promotions from within the company, so much so that many of the existing HR department did not have HR experience, which was why they hired Mary.
Seeing that the business was about to go through quite a bit of change, Mary wanted to hire a successor who could navigate the impending transformation, so she decided to hire externally. She hired Laura Right.
Laura had a 25+year HR career from different industries and was highly recommended through Mary’s network. Soon after she joined, Laura realized how tight the current team was and while they really liked her, she found that they rejected any new ideas or suggestions, even though Mary was always supportive.
Two months after Laura was hired, Mary was moved to another position and Laura’s new boss became Lester Oldschool–a financial services ‘lifer’ who navigated several departments over his 30 years and was a sceptic about new ideas that may impact the culture.
Laura’s peers adored Lester, complaining to him that Laura was hired too quickly and that none of them were even considered for the role. They weren’t happy that she wanted to make change to ‘tried and true’ practices.
It wasn’t long before Laura became discouraged and frustrated. She had no other sponsor or support once Mary left. Although her business clients thought she was refreshing, she was unable to affect change in HR and constantly faced a battle.
Laura left before her 2-year anniversary after being snapped up by another company.
The Learning: Questions When Hiring Externally
Trying to decide between promoting internally versus hiring externally can be a challenge. To avoid creating an unhappy environment, remember to consider your internal staff first, measuring them appropriately against the requirements of the role, before going outside of the business.
Hiring the right person and ensuring that they’re successful in their role requires careful consideration and planning. If you need assistance or guidance in this area, contact us to help you assess your environment and needs.
Dots Leadership Solutions also offer pre-screening or second interview support, custom recruitment frameworks and custom tool kits to assist leaders in making the right hiring decision.
Elaine Adamson is a leadership consultant with Dots Leadership Solutions Inc. A natural dot connector. Passionate about coaching team effectiveness and leadership development she shares over 25+ years of real-life tips and tricks that really work!
Elaine believes you can discover and leverage strengths to forge a strong team dynamic despite business challenges or organizational change.