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Making the Right External Hire

We have a dilemma. We have some positions for which we can’t internally promote our existing employees, since they lack the requisite skills (leading teams, innovating, etc.). We considered promoting some folks anyway, but decided against it. That means we now are in the process of recruiting external candidates. Here’s the question: How could we reasonably know that a person externally hired will be better (and stay longer) than someone we promote from within and train? 

—A Worried Executive, services, Amherst, Massachusetts

September 4, 2013
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Dear Worried Executive:

While the hiring of external candidates is always risky, here is some advice that should increase your odds of success:

  1. Sit down as a group (involve all the members of the interview team) and decide what skills and attributes are essential for success in the position. Your interview team should consist of management personnel as well as peers and subordinates to the position that you are looking to fill.
  2. Make sure that you develop a well-written description to use in job advertising and also to share with the candidates. This is an important step to attracting the correct external candidates.
  3. During the interview process (both phone and in-person), have each individual in your interview team focus on different aspects of the candidates’ background (e.g. technical skills, personality, presentation skills, chemistry, cultural fit, etc.)
  4. After each candidate interview, have the interview team meet as a group to go over that candidate. After all the candidates have been interviewed, have the team meet again and rank the candidates.
  5. Once you decide on which candidates will be hired, make sure that your company does extensive reference and background checks on each person.

While hiring is not an exact science, following these steps should greatly increase your odds of hiring exceptional external talent.

SOURCE: Mike Sweeny, MAS Recruiting, Cherry Hill, New Jersey

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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