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Proper Hiring Procedures

By Tom Verzuh

What are some of the proper procedures that I should be aware of as my company begins the hiring process?

If you're an employer looking to hire someone, there are some basic principles you should be aware of. While most are common sense practices, it's surprising how many companies disregard them.

That's unfortunate, because typically, employees are one of a company's top expenditures and most valuable assets. With that amount of money on the line, you'd think that companies would pay more attention to hiring new employees.

Think of the hiring process like a mirror. You're not only going to learn a lot about each candidate but your own company as well.

Define the Job
The hiring process really begins when managers get together to decide that they want a position filled. Defining the job, the ideal candidate, what a candidate should accomplish as well as a timetable will help everyone come to an agreement before they start searching and will make the process more effective. In fact, and I can't emphasize this enough, make sure that everybody involved in the hiring process is one hundred percent in agreement on the specifications before beginning.

Don't just look at a candidate's experience and background. Ask yourself whether the candidate can do the job and whether their personality will fit within the company. A requirement such as a college degree that is not mandatory to do the job shouldn't be a litmus test. The Human Resources Department often sees things only in black and white so leave the majority of the hiring process in the hands of the managers that the person will report to.

As far as compensation, managers should discuss price ranges, the ideal salary, benefits, a relocation package and how flexible they will be. If a top quality candidate is interviewed who is out of the price range, is the company willing to negotiate to a higher level?

The bottom line is that anything having to do with hiring that person should have already been discussed, outlined, laid out and agreed to long before you actually start talking to candidates.

Plan a Course of Action
Once you have defined the job, you can plan a course of action. I suggest beginning with the end in mind.

Ask yourself, when you want this person to start. For that to happen, you'll need to follow certain steps. Who else in the organization needs to interview this person? What are their schedules?

You also need to decide whether you need to involve recruiters or whether you will handle it yourself.

However, before you look anywhere else, ask yourself whether you have notified, or at least considered, the people inside your own organization. It doesn't make sense to seek outside help when you might have someone in your own company who is perfect for the job.

Treat Candidates as Your Best Customers
During the hiring process, treat candidates as you would your best customer. Once you've made contact with a candidate and indicated to them that your company is interested, don't leave them hanging. Respond to all communication within 24 hours and be very proactive in getting back to people. Even if you haven't made a decision, let them know you haven't decided and when you will make your decision.

Then make a decision. Many good candidates drop out of the picture simply because the company never decides. If you waver too long, it will affect the candidate's attitude about the company and you'll lose top quality people.

How Long Should the Process Take?
From the time you decide you want to hire someone till that person is hired should be no more than two months. If a company has had a position open longer than that there are serious problems within the organization.

Unless a key person in the organization quits, a large customer drops out or another traumatic event occurs, don't stop the hiring process. Deciding to hire someone and then changing your mind reflects a very dysfunctional management team.

Making an Offer
Once you decide on a candidate, make an offer but not until you're sure a candidate is ready to accept it. Along with a verbal offer, provide a letter outlining everything you have discussed and agreed on. There should be no surprises or negotiations off of the letter.

Because the hiring process is a reflection of your company, you're not only interviewing candidates but creating a value of your company in their eyes as well. The reality is that most jobs shouldn't come down to money. A top quality candidate will look at the company's work environment, health and vision for the future. The hiring process will help you do the same.

Tom Verzuh is president of SCW Consulting, Inc. An industry veteran for over 15 years, he has worked for some of the major CCTV and Access Control manufacturing companies in the Physical Security Industry. SCW Consulting, Inc. recruits and places candidates for mid to senior level positions within companies, both nationally and internationally.

Tom may be reached at 720-542-0500 ext. 12 or by e-mail at