Part 2: Competency
The process of finding the right candidate to fit an opening in your company is complex, arduous, and often stressful. However, after 18 years in the executive search business, I have identified five key components of the employer/employee relationship that, when given the proper consideration, can simplify the hiring process and increase your chances of securing a successful, long-term hire by up to 50%.
Using what I call “The Five C’s for a Successful Hire,” I coach both my clients and prospective candidates to focus on three base-level requirements (compensation, competency, and community), as well as two higher-level considerations (chemistry and curiosity).
I’ll concentrate on the second C: competency.
Don’t Demand Perfection
While it might sound counterintuitive, it’s important not to get bogged down in the details of a candidate’s specific technical competencies. Of course, you need to hire someone who is capable of performing the job’s basic requirements. However, it’s easy to get stuck on the details of a candidate’s resume and lose sight of their high potential. As a rule of thumb, even if a candidate does not possess about 25% of your preferred qualifications, this should not be treated as a red flag. For example, rather than insisting on a candidate who has a master’s degree in construction management and eliminating all prospects who do not, look past that black-and-white demand and consider the potential and the track record of the candidate as a whole.
If you are interviewing a strong candidate who has never used your company’s preferred brand of software, do not write them off; build on their experience and teach them the software. In this way, you expand your range of potential candidates and communicate to your employees that you are willing to invest in them.
Focus on What Matters
I have seen companies have the most success when, rather than focusing on a checklist of technical competencies, they concentrate their efforts on finding candidates who excel in more meaningful ways. Look for candidates who are good communicators, who have strong work ethics, who demonstrate integrity and authenticity, and who are proactive problem solvers. These qualities are, of course, harder to measure on an assessment test or by scanning keywords on a resume; they will require meeting face-to-face with promising candidates and having a human conversation about their ability to fill your company’s pressing needs.
Competency is important, but it’s too often narrowly defined and weighted incorrectly during the hiring process. Keep in mind that there are many ways to demonstrate and learn competency, and that identifying significant skills is still only one part of the process of finding the perfect candidate.
Stay Tuned for Part 3: Community