The Guide to Helping New Hiring Managers Hire

A simple guide with quick and easy tips to make sure you’re hiring the best people for your team.

Congratulations! You finally got that management promotion you were after. The glitz, the glam, possibly your name in lights, it’s all here. But, it also comes with more responsibility, which means more things vying for your attention and pulling you in different directions. Juggling them all might get tough on its own, but now you have a whole team to look after as well. Aside from your newly acquired role, it’s also your job to foster that team, grow it as the company succeeds, and bring more excellent people on board. So how do you do it? Glad you asked. Below we’ve laid out a simple guide with quick and easy tips to make sure you’re hiring the best people for your team. Don’t worry: You got this.

Focus on Soft Skills

While hard skills are those abilities that apply to a specific job—like coding HTML or creating a spreadsheet—soft skills are those universal, often elusive and hard-to-define qualities that describe how they do the job. Soft skills might be a candidate’s creativity, their clear communication, punctuality, organizational aptitude—those little things that make an employee go from being good to, “Oh my god how did we ever function without you!” Unfortunately, businesses today prioritize hard skills. Makes sense, right? You can more easily see sales metrics, measure profitability, read a paragraph or line of code. But people are unique and aren’t as cut and dry. The reality is that 89% of mishires are due to a soft skills mismatch. What are some ways to remedy this? First, create a list of ideal soft skills a candidate should have on your team. Be sure to consider the ones that can easily be learned on the job, like time management of a particular set of projects, and balance those with skills that are intrinsic to who that person actually is. After all, the latter can’t be changed and you’re going to be working with this person every day. Then, invest in your team’s ability to measure these soft skills just as well as the hard skills. It’s certainly harder, but with Searchlight’s data-driven expertise in helping hiring teams build their muscle interviewing for soft skills, the payoff will come in the form of longer retention, greater employee happiness, and better business outcomes.

Embrace Diversity

Word-of-mouth recommendations and employee referrals are undeniably important to building any great organization. Relationships are foundational to success, and if that relationship already exists, you’re ahead of the game. But, just for a minute, think about your circle of friends, people you know professionally, or even those whom you’ve referred in the past. Odds are, they look a lot like you. Not that there’s anything wrong with how you look—we love that hairdo. However, as we’ve all grown increasingly more cognizant of diversity at its broadest scale, the only way to champion it is to practice it. Whether we like it or not, we typically refer candidates who look like us and have similar backgrounds. And while some people might love to have a team full of doppelgangers, a diverse team is going to do much more good for the social, communal and cultural well-being of a company. In fact, studies like ones in HBR in 2021 show that companies with active diversity and inclusion programs still discriminate against and screen out diverse candidates. If you’re interviewing one, there are seven others whose resumes didn’t even make it to your desk. To remedy this upfront, work with your company’s recruiting teams to build a more inclusive hiring process from the get-go in order to grow overall diversity. Initiatives regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) should be top priorities at a competitive business. The best candidate often won’t and probably doesn’t look just like you, so embrace non-traditional backgrounds and get excited to hire someone great—especially at a time when so many people are leaving their current companies and considering a career change.

Expand Your Search

If you’re looking through a microscope, chances are you’re only seeing a very small portion of what’s on the table. As with hiring diversely, simply expanding your search and broadening the normal parameters with which you and your team look for candidates will yield new and different results. Think of that time you took a different route to work because of some stand-still highway traffic: you probably saw that coffee shop you never knew existed or that gorgeous park just a few blocks from your house. Same thing goes with finding top talent. They’re out there, you just have to take a different path. Especially with a shift to hybrid and remote work over the past couple years, it’s opened up even more opportunities to look outside the area (and companies) you might be accustomed to. That’s where you’re going to find top talent.

Be Creative

Remember those soft skills we were talking about? Now’s the time to put them to use. Most candidates come in prepared for those common interview questions they’re all bored of answering as much as we are of asking. Instead of watching their eyes glaze over as you inquire where they think they’ll be in five years, try to connect with them on a more personal level. You might be surprised at what you find out by asking them about themselves or something not even related to the role. Find new ways to assess a candidate’s style of thinking and how they like to work. You’re going to need that weird, interesting brain when they start working for you. At Udemy, we believe the best way to understand what someone will be like on their first day of work is by talking to people who have worked with them before. We even wrote a guide on the best questions to ask the references that your candidate provided. These conversations might spark some creative ideas on getting to know your candidate!

Collaborate With Your Recruiting Team

Looking for a new job is a lot of work. Finding a new job is a lot of work. Interviewing for that new job—you get it. Take a minute to step into your candidate’s shoes. You’ve expected them to prepare, do their homework and put a smile on their face for a great interview. Why shouldn’t they expect any less from you? It’s easy to throw up your hands and say, “We had to hire someone yesterday! Can we just move faster?” But while it might be more work upfront, it’s more appropriate to ask, “How are we going to hire the right person who will add the most value to this role and the company?” The answer is to work with your recruiting team. Don’t worry, they won’t bite. That’s what they’re there for. You should be able to clearly communicate your hiring objectives and define what success looks like within your team. Have a structured kickoff process with your recruiting team and take the time to lay out all the requirements, duties, hard and soft skills, work style preferences and competencies you think will make a stellar candidate successful in the role. This is the MOST essential part of the whole process! (Read more about the 3 essential stages of the hiring process here.) Treat hiring as a crucial task and give it the time and energy it deserves. It might surprise you, but taking the time to kickoff correctly will actually help you identify and hire the right candidate faster. Pro Tip: As you continue to hire, create a repository of previously kicked-off roles so that you’re not starting from scratch every time. Creating templates for this process and gathering data from previous hiring cycles will not only help save you time, it will also allow you to evaluate yourself and evolve your hiring process in the future.

You're Ready

Follow these basic tips to kick-off your own hiring process and start finding the right candidates to grow your team faster. By shifting your focus to soft skills, diverse hiring, expanding your search, getting creative, and collaborating with your recruiting team, you’ll get top talent in the door and be ready to move faster, with more efficiency, and with more confidence that they’ll stick around. Ultimately, trust and humanity is key. You are hiring someone who you will probably see every day, and that person you hire is also trusting you with their day-to-day. By using Searchlight at Udemy, we create visibility for our data-driven teams to iteratively improve how we hire, onboard, and retain their top talent. Learn more about how Searchlight can help your team and get started today.

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