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Don’t Sabotage Your Hiring Process

30 November 2016


Don’t Sabotage Your Hiring Process

Hiring managers and recruiters working with Agile organizations may find that traditional hiring methods can result in the wrong “fit” being hired. The traditional process relies on resume reviews and screening calls or pre-interviews by people who won’t be working with the candidate directly. While the intention is to present only qualified candidates to the team, the hiring process itself may be interfering with finding the best fit candidate. As Agile practitioners, both the candidates and the teams are interested in the people and interactions over process in their work so changing the hiring process to look more like the working environment makes sense.

Focus on what you really need

Agile hiring isn’t based on a pie-in-the-sky wish list. Before posting your job on the website or engaging staffing firms, sit down with your team and do some soul searching. What do you really need this person to bring to the table? What will they be doing and how will they be doing it? What skills and experience are truly required? What skills and experience can be learned over time? Be reasonable and realistic.

Compare candidates to the job

When you interview a candidate who, by all indications, is a good fit – hire them! There’s no better way to lose a good candidate than by making them wait while you search for the possibility of someone better or because you need to validate your feelings by shopping around first. If you’re lucky enough to find a good match in your first candidate, don’t wait. Hire them, and quit second guessing yourself.

Hire for attitude and aptitude

Candidate attitude and aptitude rank high on the list of prerequisites for anyone with experience on the hiring side. Technical competency, of course, is necessary, but their attitude and aptitude are equally important when making hiring decisions. Instead of holding out for someone with the exact technical skillset and 10 years of experience, think about hiring the candidate with a good foundation, a great attitude, and an ability to learn skills quickly. It is the person, their ability to respond to change, work with a team, and whether they hold the Agile values—not a checklist of education or job titles—that you are seeking.

Create an effective interview process

It is important to validate “fit” with the team as well as on paper. Just because the candidate matches the job description on paper does not guarantee they will work with the team. Make it a priority to include the team in the interview process.

The best way to evaluate “fit” is by putting the candidate and the team in an actual working situation rather than by just asking questions. This is different than competency testing for a particular skill or running simulations. Have the candidate spend a day working directly with the team on an actual project. Each team member will have the opportunity to interact with the candidate and evaluate them for the desired skills and fit. The team will have ownership for the decision based on face-to-face interactions, and the candidate will experience the working environment to determine if it is a fit.

Tailor your job offer

The candidate search flows in both directions; the candidate is also evaluating your company and the team. It is important that you are prepared to sell the candidate on the opportunity. A standard package of compensation may not match with the candidate’s values or goals. The best way to sell a candidate on a job offer is to find out what is most important to them. You can then tailor your offer around their desires and goals. What makes your company different? Do you offer any unique perks or benefits? Why do you like working there?

This is an opportunity to collaborate with the candidate rather than negotiate. Candidate fit is a mutual situation. Not only do you need to ensure they are a fit for your team but that the team and company are a fit for the candidate. Find out early in your interview process what they are looking for in their next opportunity. Can you offer what they need for long term success or will the relationship fizzle out after a few months?

Respond to the change

Hiring professionals is a continually evolving process. Times change and, to be successful, you’ll need to change your hiring processes as well. Rather than letting ego and tradition dominate your hiring process, recognize that the balance of power can and will shift, focus on solving your problem at hand – hiring high-quality people that will benefit your company.



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Comments
Bhavani Joshi
Completely agree. It is recommended to involve the team to asses candidate's ability to lead/manage the team. I would recommend to involve not just the hiring manager level but also resources who will be reporting to this role to interview the candidate to get a different perspective. Don't let the scope creep issue affect your hiring process. I have seen places where once they feel the candidate is a great fit for the job, they start adding new skills, responsibilities which are not relavant for the role the have in hand. Yes, if the interview panel feels strong about a candidate, use your gut feel.
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