How to Choose Outstanding Employees

How to choose outstanding employees
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Successful Employees

Great leaders know that the key to success is great employees. But how to choose employees that are right for you?

These are the people who take that extra step without prompting, and who share your vision to strive for excellence. Like you, they take pride in being the best, and their personal integrity never allows them to submit an imperfect product. They’re there when you expect them to be, and focused on getting the job done.

Now, how do you find these people? What’s more, how do you convince them to come work for you once you do? You have to realize that an employee like this is in high demand, so you have to make working for your more attractive than the alternatives.

Writing the Right Job Description

Before you can hire anyone, you have to understand exactly what job you’re expecting to fill. A vague idea such as “understands six sigma” makes recognizing the perfect applicant nearly impossible.

A clear job definition includes skills and qualifications, such as experience and education. It also needs to reflect the duties performed by this person, and the needs that are unique to the position, such as travel or familiarity with certain systems.

The job title needs to be an accurate reflection of the position. If you aren’t sure, look at other companies within your industry. Finally, you need a short description of your organization, such as a phrase describing what you do, as well as your company culture.

When it comes time to post the position, keep the job description simple, with a bulleted list of skills and duties.

Market Yourself

Believe it or not, the best employees look at more than salary when determining the best place to work. Study after study after study proves it.

Of course, the specifics vary by employee, with some favoring a culture that promotes creativity and growth, while others place trust in their employer at the top of the list. What you won’t find anywhere near the top, though, is salary.

To sell yourself as an employer, you need to demonstrate why your organization is a great place to call home. Do you provide a generous time package that promotes work-life balance, such as personal time off, telecommuting opportunities, and a flexible schedule?

Respect is another key component, and it goes both ways. Employees want to work for a boss and company they respect, as well as a boss who respects them. No one wants to be embarrassed to say where they work, or end every conversation about their job with, “Well, it pays the bills.”

Salary and benefits packages do enter the picture of making you more attractive as an employer, but more as a matter of perception. People see companies that fairly compensate employees as more trustworthy. If you also have policies in place that recognize employee contributions, such as profit share or bonuses, you’re on the right track.

Write down all the benefits of working for your company, and then create your elevator pitch for future employees. This is how you attract the best.

Have the Right Managers in Place

It is amazing how many bad managers there are out there. Some organizations promote people to management simply because their industry knowledge is invaluable and they can’t afford to lose them. If a person you promote has leadership qualities, you get lucky. If not, find some other way to keep that employee on board.

Sometimes, you have someone with great leadership skills but put him in the wrong management role. Your outgoing people person, the one who everyone loves, belongs in a role that plays those people skills for all they’re worth. Don’t put that guy in charge of the assembly line.

Determining an employee’s emotional intelligence (EQ) helps ensure that person is cut out for management. EQ gauges things like resiliency and conflict resolution skills. You need managers able to handle the stress and pressure of management, who rise to the demands of the job, and, of course, those who demonstrate good people skills.

Finally, whoever will manage the new position should be part of the hiring process. You want to know if there are any potential issues before you issue an offer letter.

Find the Best Match

One leftover from the 2008 recession is hiring people who are overqualified for the job. This was understandable then. It was a buyer’s market, and employers happily snatched up employees that were out of their price range a month before.

Generally, this is a bad practice. A sales associate with 10 years’ experience and an MBA is not the guy for your entry-level sales position. He’ll quickly become bored with this type of low-level work, not to mention the pay, and will move on to a position more in line with his experience, unless, of course, you can grow the position to fit the employee.

Using an interview panel is the best way to find the right fit for your organization. Include at least one person who would work with the employee as a peer, the position’s supervisor, and one person in upper management. This way, you get three levels of perspective on the prospect, and he or she gets a feel for your organization’s culture.

Use Social Media

A Google search has become a standard part of the hiring process. Check out any prospective employee’s LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles. LinkedIn is also a great place to recruit employees, depending on the level of the position.

You may also find great employees for future positions, even if you don’t have the right job for them right now. Connecting with them on social media helps you engage and build a relationship now, so that when the time is right, you’ve already done the hard work of selling your company as a great place to build a career.

Of course, don’t ignore your own social media platform. You already know to use it as a marketing tool. Now, use it to market yourself as a great employer. What’s more, people who like what they see about your organization and its mission will actively seek you out when they’re ready to make the move.

Use Your Job Posting to Filter Out the Chaff

This is probably the easiest way to filter out people who aren’t detail-oriented, and it requires nothing more than including a directive for applicants. Tell them to include a specific phrase in their header or subject line, or a similar instruction that makes it clear who read the entire job description and who skimmed the details and attached a résumé.

If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be on your way to surrounding yourself with the best of the best. That’s the goal of every great leader.

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