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Charles Lee: 5 Essential Hiring Strategies

As your company or organization continues to grow, it becomes more essential to develop a strategy for hiring well. Adding the right people to your team can be the difference between growth and implosion. Here are some tips for hiring well:

Look Ahead & Take Your Time

Most hiring opportunities by nature feel urgent. Nevertheless, resist the urge to hire on a whim or in reaction to an immediate need. You might get lucky, but generally, this is not a good move. Many companies and organizations have paid dearly for this kind of abrupt hiring.

Look ahead, if possible, and plan your hire. You should think in terms of months, not minutes. Do you have a process in place for people to be integrated into your workflow? What kind of person, outside of resume qualification (which can be misleading), do you want to add to your team? How do you see the role supporting the overall mission of the organization? Is the role the most urgent or the most necessary?

Do Your Homework

Following up on references may be a formality for most, but do it anyway. In addition, take a look at the potential employee’s activity online (e.g., social media, blogs, news, etc.). The kinds of things that are posted in public by your employee, even during their off time, will build or hurt your brand.

Think About Company Investment

There are generally 4 kinds of employees: (1) Those able and willing, (2) Those unable, but willing, (3) Those able, but unwilling, and (4) Those unable and unwilling. Obviously, you probably want to hire #1 and avoid #4. Unfortunately, during times of rush, you may not have this option. Thinking through hiring #2 or #3 will help you weigh what will be required from the company. For example, #2 will require lots of training time while #3 will require motivating incentives for involvement. Regardless, knowing what kind of person you’re hiring will then give you a picture of what may be required in investment by your team.

Ask Good Questions

Yes, don’t be shy. Ask tough questions in a nice way. (Don’t be a jerk and use the hiring process to push around your weight/authority.) Look for insightful and creative responses to your questions. Beyond qualifications on paper and rote answers, I try to look for qualities of initiative and critical thinking. You probably want to add a person who functions more like a linchpin than a conformist to company politics.

View Hiring Process as an Opportunity to Improve the Company

Potential hires can give you some great insights and advice on the future of your company. If they have done their homework, they should be able to provide some great outside thoughts about your work. Why not take the opportunity and explore how you could make your company better? The great thing about human interaction, even in a hiring scenario, is that you could walk away from it with a great new relationship and new perspectives for viewing life and work.

Although this is in no way an exhaustive list, I hope it will remind you to hire well and take time to work through this beneficial process for your company or organization.

Please feel free to add your thoughts on the hiring process. What have you learned from your experience?

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Charles is the CEO & Chief Idea-Maker at Ideation, a brand innovation company that specializes in helping businesses & organizations build remarkable brands via innovative business design, organizational change architecture, brand integration, design, web, and marketing services. He is also the author of Good Idea. Now What?: How to Move Ideas to Execution, a practical book designed to help people move ideas to implementation. Charles is regularly invited to speak to leading companies and organizations on topics such as creativity, innovation, idea-making, and branding. Executive leaders from brands including Wells Fargo, Toyota, The White House, Catalyst, William Morris Endeavor, mun2, Council of Urban Professionals, Chick-fil-A, and many others have benefited from having Charles present at their key events.