Ready and able Featured

5:02am EDT December 18, 2003
It's official.

Dynamic economic growth, unemployment trending downward and consumer confidence on the rise -- the recovery is here. Have you assembled a team that is capable of competing within your industry?

Defining a need, establishing a plan, sourcing, selecting and closing are necessary steps for a successful strategic hire.

Definition

Defining your need by creating a job specification will help you to establish a framework for the hiring process.

The job specification should outline and define what you are looking for in the professional -- skill sets, specific technology, a particular industry experience. By establishing or re-establishing specifications for a position, you will function more efficiently during the hiring process and ensure that the final result is an individual who will contribute to your team's success.

Plan

How are you going to find or attract the professional you desire for your team? What's your time frame?

If you desire the best possible candidate available, your first call should be to a search firm that understands your company. Chances are that the professional you desire is currently contributing to another team's success.

Internet recruiting, advertising and jobs fairs can attract candidates, but not top-notch talent. A search firm will be able to source candidates who represent the finest in their field of endeavor with a sense of urgency.

Interviewing

You've defined a need and sourced candidates. Now it's time to commence interviewing.

Three things have to take place for the interview to be successful. First, through your questions, you have to determine if the candidate can perform the position as outlined through the job specification as well as fit within the team's culture. Second, will the candidate be happy in the position and a long-term contributor?

Finally, if the person can do the job, fit within the team's culture and has the capacity to contribute to the success of the organization, then a certain degree of courtship must take place. The candidate should leave your interview excited about the opportunity.

Selecting a candidate

Myriad issues are involved in selecting candidates, from their current compensation to their enthusiasm and interest in your organization. Depending on the position and its inherent priorities, you want to establish various weights.

What is the most important quality you are looking for? Technical strength? Experience? Industry knowledge? When you've made your selection, don't rule out a second-place candidate if he or she has the necessary qualifications.

If your offer is not accepted or you've misread a candidate's interest level, having a backup candidate can save you valuable time.

Offer and acceptance

Once you've selected a candidate, extending the offer and getting an acceptance can be a daunting task. This is an area where a search firm can offer assistance. It can pre-close the candidate, saving you the embarrassment of extending an offer that is not accepted, avoid an acrimonious negotiation process and decrease the susceptibility to a counteroffer.

A search firm is rewarded when the search is successful. It has a vested interest that the candidate will be there to contribute to your team's success.

With a promising 2004 on the horizon, make sure you have a team capable of competing. Making that strategic hire could make the difference between a success in 2004 and missed opportunities.

Shawn Fier (sfier@systemsresearchinc.com) is vice president of Systems Research Inc. Reach him at (847) 585-8006.