Hire Right With Career Visioning

Matt Noble via Unsplash

Who we surround ourself with matters. As Jim Rohn famously put it, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. For most of us, that means who we work with.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends 7.6 hours working per workday (this includes those working from home). If you account for the 8 hours of sleep that adults are supposed to get each night, this means that most of us spend nearly half (or 47 percent) of our days working. The people in our organizations not only impact our bottom lines, but also our long-term potential. Making the right hires is important.

But, when we’re looking to round out our team with a new hire, finding the right person can feel like the proverbial needle in a haystack. How do we know that the people we bring into our professional lives are the right fit?

Making this choice requires a process that helps us learn about the strengths and behaviors of those around us. We call this process Career Visioning. It’s a system that helps us define our business needs, and then uncovers the qualities potential new hires should have to help fill those needs. It helps us understand people’s personalities, skills, and natural patterns of behavior. Through Career Visioning, we can better understand how these factors influence how we act and respond to what’s around us. When we take the time to learn what drives people, we can better determine if the roles they may thrive in align with our business needs.

1. Understand Your Business and Where You Want it to Go

Before you can add someone to your team, you need to truly understand your professional needs. To do this, you need a business plan. The plan should include both your business’s long-term goals and the priorities that will help your organization achieve these goals. As we say in Career Visioning, “your business plan is the blueprint for knowing whom to hire, so do not proceed with hiring until you have clarity about your company’s business plan and story.”

When you’ve created your business plan and clearly set your company’s priorities, you’ll need assign them to team members, or roles that future employees could occupy. This is where your business plan actually shows you what your organizational chart should be. The two are mirrors, each reflecting a side of a priority or goal. Your business plan will show you what to aim for and your org chart will show you who will do it, or perhaps more importantly, who is missing.

Knowing these details before you start interviewing allows you to stay focused on your end goal: getting the right people to take your business further.

2. Define Your Job Description and Create a Missing Person’s Report

Once you’ve figured out what you want and determined what you need, it’s time figure out who.

Being able to find your “who” means that you need to know what to look for. You’ll need to build out a “Missing Person’s Report.” Define the goals for the role and the activities that someone would need to excel at in order to succeed in the position. You can do this by taking stock of the day-to-day job responsibilities as well as any other tasks this person would have to do. Is it essential that the person knows how to control a monthly budget or answer the phones? Will they need to interact with and problem solve for clients each day? As you’re building out your profile, keep in mind that some aspects of jobs can be taught, such as procedures. Other things, such as compassion or work ethic, are not as simple or are seemingly impossible to teach.

Remember, the person that you’re looking for is not only an individual, they will be a part of your team and ultimately influence its culture. How are you hoping they’ll add to your existing dynamics? How will they push you to grow? Perhaps you love to interact with people so much that you tend to lack attention to detail and your paperwork is subpar. Or maybe you are so great at seeing the big picture that you can be lackluster at making human connections. Hiring is a great opportunity to find the “yin” to our “yang” and come out stronger. What are the qualities that you are missing that this person may be able to complement?

3. Go Deep with Potential Hires

Once you have a vision in your business plan and org chart, as well as a fully fleshed out missing person’s report, it’s time to take action. But, before you speed off, keep in mind that this decision is not one you should rush.

We like to think of Career Visioning as a relationship-building process, not just a hiring process. Career Visioning enables you to spend time getting to know someone via a variety of interviews before you bring them into your organization as a new hire. Because it allows you to learn about individuals before you work together, it takes away the trial and error of hiring. That feeling of really liking the person and wanting to go with your gut on hiring them? That doesn’t have a place in Career Visioning. As Keith Cunningham wrote in The Road Less Stupid, “GUT” is actually a three-letter acronym that stands for “Gave Up Thinking.” Don’t go with your gut, hire intentionally. Use the process to decide if the position is the next logical step for the candidate’s career and if they are the logical person for your business needs. Through learning what inspires them and makes them tick, you’ll be better able to make an informed decision as to whether they’re right for your team or not. 

Remember, this is where the talent needs you’ve defined earlier in the process get revisited. Does the person have both the skills and the right attitude and natural behavior to succeed in the role? As Gallup research has uncovered, employees tend to be more engaged when their strengths are recognized and built on. And while we can change aspects of our behavior, it takes a lot of effort, and we tend to revert right back to our natural behavior when we’re stressed. So, finding a person with the skills and behaviors you’ve defined as ideal for the role is the best way to ensure that you’re bringing someone on who will be happy long-term.  

4. Defend the Decision and Offer the Opportunity

The most important step in any Career Visioning is the defense of the candidate. This means bringing in members of your team and presenting the business case for adding the new hire. The goal of the council is to challenge the decision you’re about to make. To protect the team and yourself from falling into a “hive mind,” designate at least one devil’s advocate.

The term “Devil’s Advocate” comes from a practice in the Roman Catholic Church where a canonical lawyer would review any people nominated for sainthood and look for flaws in the candidate’s body of evidence. It wasn’t a popular role, but the goal was noble. That person is charged to guard the integrity of the process. Prior to holding the hiring defense, choose someone who will bear the responsibility of ensuring the business’ standards are upheld by challenging the decision you’re about to make. If you’re able to satisfy most of their concerns, you’ve chosen your candidate well.  

Once you’ve successfully defended a candidate, you’ll look to make an offer to the candidate you’re wanting to hire. At this point, you’ve verified that the person you’re looking at is the person your organization needs, and you’ve done your diligence to ensure that they’ll complement your culture as it moves forward. Chances are, Career Visioning will have helped you create a relationship with your candidate, and they’ll be excited about joining a business that was so careful and deliberate in choosing who gets to be a part of it.  

Bringing others into your professional life is a huge and important step in achieving your business goals. After all, no one succeeds alone. What invaluable hiring lessons have you learned along the way as you’ve grown your business? Chime in on our Facebook page! And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter. 

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