Every Sunday on page two of the New York Times business section, the “Corner Office” column features an interview with a different CEO. There are a lot of different questions, but one that’s always asked is “How do you hire?”
The one thing that’s consistent is that there’s very little consistency.
When it comes to hiring, there are many approaches to what works and what doesn’t. After years of continuously adapting and improving our hiring practices (aka, sometimes succeeding brilliantly, sometimes failing spectacularly), we’ve identified several approaches that help us consistently hire exceptional people. Here are four of our favorites.
Pay attention to your employer brand
Today’s candidates research companies before they even consider submitting an application. So, ensuring your company’s digital presence and other public materials accurately reflects your culture (and highlights the great things about working at your company) is key to exciting great candidates before they’ve even hit the apply button.
Leverage social media to humanize your brand:
- Include humans and real pictures of office life in your posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other sites. Give potential candidates an idea of what it would be like to be in your office every day.
- Get your team involved to assist with posts and to help with taking pictures at events to ensure you cover your company’s brand from many perspectives.
- Drive people to the sites you’re active on by including links in your email signature and auto-replies to applicants.
Encourage your team to review your company:
At Vodori, we encourage our team to post balanced reviews of our company on Glassdoor. Providing job seekers with authentic, candid insights from real employees is invaluable in helping them decide whether your company could be a fit for them. Don’t worry if your reviews aren’t all sunshine and rainbows, either. We see it as a great opportunity to get feedback and address concerns, so our leadership team responds to critical reviews on the site. We’re a transparent company and it’s important to us to reflect that outside of our walls as well. Want to set up a process to respond to reviews, but not sure where to start? Glassdoor provides some good guidance on how to respond.
Don’t compromise on core values
Preserving our culture sometimes means passing on qualified candidates. Occasionally we interview candidates who check all of the boxes for the role, but don’t seem to embody our core values — things like teamwork, humility, extraordinary service, and continuous improvement. Our core values aren’t just words on a plaque in the hallway. They inform and guide our decisions, and we’ve learned not to compromise on them. These hiring decisions are tough calls to make, especially at times that our team could really use the extra help. Staying true to our values can extend our hiring process in the short term, but hiring people who hold our values pays dividends in the long run.
It pays to be proactive and personal
When it comes to finding good candidates, we used to mainly rely on the “post and pray” method. It can be quite difficult to find great people with that strategy. Sitting back and waiting for the right applicant to come through is most definitely not the most effective way to fill a position. There are lots of ways you can proactively source candidates, and we’ve found some great people by reaching out with thoughtful, targeted messages. Talented people in high-demand roles are bombarded by messages from recruiters, so it’s important to get above the noise. (Blasting out dozens of impersonal, copy-pasted messages to anyone with the title “Java Developer” doesn’t exactly cut it.) The more personal and relevant you can make your message, the better. At a minimum, try to include at least two personal details specific to the person. Your email should reflect the fact that you did your research and genuinely see a good potential fit.
Experiment and adjust the process
All of our recruiting files are living, breathing documents, and we are constantly experimenting with new tools and strategies. We may try something new and find that it didn’t produce the results we’d hoped, and that’s fine. We’re able to learn something from failure, too. We don’t just rely on HR and leadership for ideas, either. Our interview teams are engaged and empowered to fine tune the interactive exercises we do with candidates. When possible, we also talk to candidates on what they enjoyed and how they felt about the process, to make sure we’re hearing the objective feedback that helps us make crucial adjustments and improvements.
There may be no magic formula or one foolproof way to guarantee hiring success, but there’s a lot that can be learned and applied if you make continuous improvement a priority.
These are four of the ways that have worked for us. Try giving them a shot, and if you find yourself adjusting one of them to what works best for you, even better.
If you’d like to join Vodori’s dynamic team, check out our open positions.