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Profit & Growth Tips for Digital Agencies

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The 4 Step Process to Stop You Making the Wrong Hiring Decisions

Posted by Nicolas Jacobeus on Nov 23, 2016

The_4_Step_Process_to_Stop_You_Making_the_Wrong_Hiring_Decisions.jpgHiring just one wrong person can have a huge, destabilising impact on your agency, affecting not just your cash flow, but your team morale as well. Having a clearly defined hiring process is essential for helping you avoid the biggest hiring mistakes: hiring the wrong person, or hiring for the wrong skillset or level of seniority.

Today I’m sharing one of the most important processes your agency needs: an easy-to-follow, 4-step hiring process.

1) Clearly Define the Role You’re Hiring For

Before you even start thinking about creating a job description for your agency’s new job vacancy, it’s vital that you take some time to clearly define the role you’re hiring for. What are the gaps in your existing team that you need to fill? Are you missing particular skills? Is a particular team working over-capacity, or are you missing a more experienced team member who can take on a leadership role?

Using a resource management tool like Scale will help you identify the gaps in your agency team and assess team capacity and staff utilisation rate, to help you understand the ‘big picture’, and ensure you’re hiring for a role your agency really needs, rather than what you assume to be required.

Once you understand this, you should also outline the associated responsibilities that this new hire will have, as well as the level of experience needed to do the role successfully.

2) Create a Job Description that Reflects the Role

Once you have clearly defined the role your agency needs to hire for, you can then create a job description that reflects that role and your agency’s requirements.

This job description should clearly explain what the job will entail, as well as what is expected from the successful applicant. Writing a clear and comprehensive job description is essential for attracting the best-fit candidates – they will want to have a good understanding of what the job they’re applying for will entail.

3) Filter out Unsuitable Candidates Early in the Application Process

Ideally, you only want to interview candidates who are a good fit for the practical skills needed to do the job. Therefore, it’s essential that you have a way to filter out poor-fit applicants, so that only the best-fit candidates progress through your application process.

This means that, prior to inviting anyone for an interview, you will need to get a good understanding of their work quality. You’ll be able to identify some people as poor-fit candidates from their applications (for example, if they’ve not got enough relevant experience), but what about everyone else?

In this case, you could ask to see a portfolio of work (for designers), check out their GitHub repository (for developers), or take a look at their personal blog or website. This will give you a good idea of the quality of work they’ve produced in previous roles.

In addition to this, it’s a good idea to ask candidates to complete a practical task as part of their application process. This should be a task that is similar in scope to something they will be doing day-to-day, and you should provide them with guidance as to how long to spend on this task. This will help you assess whether they have the skills needed to successfully do the job you’re hiring for, so that you only interview the very best-fit candidates.

4) Create an Interview Framework

When it comes to interviewing job candidates, you need to have a way to objectively compare one candidate against another, to ensure you’re making the best decision for your agency, and not being swayed by personal bias, emotions or knee-jerk reactions.

By the time your candidates get to meeting you for an interview, you will have a pretty good understanding of their capacity to do the job, so your interview should be used mainly as a way of assessing how well they will fit in with your team.

Therefore, you should create an interview framework so you can assess each candidate not only for their practical experience, but also for their cultural fit for your agency team. If it’s practical, you may want to invite other team members to be involved in the interview alongside you, as this will help to counter your individual bias by making you consider and balance other people’s assessments of your interview candidates alongside your own.

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