There are many opinions on hiring the right way. One of the most overstated and obvious opinion is centered around the fear of hiring the wrong person. That paranoia can paralyze a hiring manager’s decision to hire at all, finding flaws in everyone they interview. News flash, no one is without a flaw.
I understand the logic if you hire someone that’s wrong for a position then you’re setting yourself back a few steps to recover from the damages and loss of resources used in training – but to what extent is not hiring anyone damaging your existing team?
When you’re hiring, there’s one main reason for doing so: to alleviate the stress on you or your team. They’re essentially doing their job as well as some other duties that can be funneled into a new or replacement position. When you wait for the “right fit” and potentially screen out valued candidates based on criteria that might be of little consequence to the actual job, you prolong this stress on your team that could lead to the ground breaking underneath them.
I commonly come across people that are contemplating a leave from their organization because they feel understaffed and overworked and are looking to leave solely based on that. I ask if their manager is looking for a new hire and they always say yes, but their interview process is either too long or too selective to ever find the perfect candidate so the position stays open. I also talk to hiring managers that have a laundry list of criteria both on the technical side and on culture itself and say they will act quickly to secure the perfect candidate but are willing to wait it out until they find that perfection. The question is whether you’re willing to wait long enough that you start losing more people in the process.
As your position stays open, here's what your team is thinking:
- I’m frustrated in your inability to make a decision.
- I’m questioning whether you want that position filled at all or just making me do more work while the company essentially saves money.
- My value is going up here, so why am I being overworked?
- If I got this job and it’s so hard to find someone comparable to me, I wonder what my value is on the market?
As the market for good technical talent gets more competitive, the average technical hiring manager’s criteria is staying the same as it was during the recession – refusing to admit that supply is limited. There has to be a balance on what you absolutely need versus the nice to haves. The reality is, is that the market is very competitive for technical people so you must weigh the importance of culture versus the ability to hit the ground running with pre-existing technical skills. Everyone’s looking for the incredibly intelligent Software Developer that can also be client facing or gel with the team. You’re no different.
Try and Buy
So what do you do if you don’t want to compromise on being picky for the right person? Try and then buy.
It’s a simple concept that gets overlooked. Have the ability to hire your strong “maybes” on a 2-3 month contract to hire basis, have them check you out while you invest your attention into whether this person would be a fit overall and begins to gel with your existing team. I am seeing more hiring managers go this route with candidates that may not be the perfect fit but have most of the essentials to do the job and, with a little time, will grow into that perfect fit. It makes the decision not as heavy and more nimble in your ability to make a decision.
Ultimately, if the contractor doesn’t work out in the 90 day window, you can alleviate some stress from your team and will show them that you’re not just leaving an empty desk stay empty. Actin is much better than reaction and increasing your urgency to hire because you’re losing people makes you desperate to fill your position as opposed to being urgent. Don’t feed the incredibly competitive technology hiring market with your own people just because you’re waiting for that diamond in the rough.
If you’re hiring – just hire.