12 Tips for Hiring the Right Person

Posted on 05/14/2017 - by Dan Allenby

Hiring the right person for a job is one of the most important decisions a manager can make. It’s particularly important in annual giving, where staff turnover is a common problem. According to an AGN Salary & Professional Development Report published last year, 38 percent of annual giving professionals are not satisfied in their current job and 41 percent have searched or interviewed for another job in the past year.

Hiring the wrong person can cause big problems down the line. Whether they’re unhappy or simply not cut out to do the job, a mismatch can leave you facing one of two undesirable situations. The employee will either quit – leaving you with the time-consuming task of recruiting their replacement – or they’ll stick around, becoming a drag on the organization.

Here’s some advice to help you hire the “right” person:

  1. Recruit internally first. Don’t assume that you need to launch a long and exhaustive search. Sometimes the best candidate is right in front of your eyes.
  2. Look for someone who is running to something rather than running from something. Be suspicious of those who say negative things about their current employer.
  3. Beware of job hoppers. Calculate the average time they’ve spent at previous jobs and assume that’s how long they’ll stick around your organization.
  4. Consider their enthusiasm. Playing “hard to get” can make someone appealing at first, but it can also be a sign that your organization or the opportunity just doesn’t excite them.
  5. Find out who has mentored them. The people they look up to and whom they’ve learned from can be far more important than any talent or skill they possess.
  6. Don’t look for perfection. Those who appear to know what they don’t know are almost always more effective than those who appear to know everything.
  7. Value experience. Those who have been at it longer may not be smarter, but they probably have more experience making – and hopefully learning from – mistakes.
  8. Get input from others. Don’t carry the burden of making this decision on your shoulders alone. Ask a group of colleagues to interview candidates (or at least the finalists) too. If the majority shares a feeling (positive or negative) about someone, it can be indicative of how well they fit into with your office culture.
  9. Test their endurance. Don’t be afraid to invite candidates back for multiple interviews. Try a different setting (conference room, coffee shop, colleague’s office) each time. It’ll give you a chance to see them in different lights.
  10. Do the math. Create a scorecard that lists out the five or six success factors and rate candidates on a scale of 1-5 for each one. When everyone has been interviewed, see who comes out on top.
  11. Be thorough with references. And not just the ones they give you.
  12. Don’t rush into any decisions. A wise person once said, when it comes to building a successful team, you should “fire quick and hire slow.”

Above all else, trust your gut. Regardless of what your colleagues or your scorecard tell you, listen to that voice in your head. The above tips can help guide your decision-making process. But, when it comes to hiring the right person, you’re the one who’s going to have to live with your decision. If you’ve been thorough and thoughtful during the recruitment process and, in the end, someone simply feels like the right person for the job, then chances are, they probably are.

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