Hiring is a deeply self-reflective process. Here is how to get it right and minimize hiring the wrong person
Assess and audit your organisation
After you have decided your wants and needs, it’s time for give and take. You want “Competences A,’ so ‘Task B’ gets done well. Fair enough. However, P-Square taught all of us the (some- what) golden rule: “If you do me, I do you.” In recruitment, the action-reaction loop starts even earlier: “As you dey measure me, I measure you.”
When you enter the recruitment process, you are opening up your business to the judgment of the prospective employee. How can you volunteer to be measured, without having measured yourself? Though the process of assessing and auditing your business might seem like just another item in the list of tasks, it’s actually the most important one. You must give your organization a thorough look, and make an honest assessment of what you bring to the table. Why? Because the potential hire will be weighing whether what you can offer is as good as, or better than, the other options available to them. They will be checking whether it is commensurate with the value they perceive they are bringing to the table. An integral part of the recruitment process is successfully attracting the people you want. To do that, you have to sell yourself iIn order to sell yourself, you have to know yourself.
The billion naira question
A self-audit or self-evaluation might seem daunting. However, things get simple if you follow the direction Simon Sinek suggests in his book Start With Why. I know ‘why’ might seem like some existential question an oyinbo person would ask because they have too much time on their hands. But it has considerably more substance than that. Why did you choose to start this business, of all the businesses you could have launched? No, seriously, why? Sit down at your desk. Close your eyes. Don’t stop asking yourself why until you know you’ve reached your core motivation for starting and running your business.
When you have figured out why you do what you do, it is time to think of who you are as a business. What are your reasons (WHY) your actions (WHAT) and your methods for executing those actions (HOW)? What do you stand for? What is your strategy, and how much progress have you made towards it? What was your vision when you started out? How has it changed? What are your priorities as a business, and how will the role you are recruiting for help you to achieve them?
The long and short of it
Oga/Aunty, I know you are thinking that I just came here to frustrate you this fine afternoon. What plenty navel-gazing is this? But, please, do me a favor and pause for a moment. Examine your frustration. Is it because I’m asking impossible questions that you do not know the answers to? Or is it because, even though I’m asking you to take stock of a business, it is starting to feel personal? Our businesses/companies are not a physical part of us, like our perfect smiles, or lack thereof. However, we experience similar feelings of inadequacy when we start to look at them critically. Because they are a product of our blood, sweat and tears. Our emotional investment in them is immense. And though, when it comes to looks, we can comfort ourselves with platitudes like “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” and “Money is the root of all evil,” in business, success is often defined by perception. Those held by others, and those we hold of ourselves.
Perception, however, is nothing without perspective. When you start searching the soul of your business, it can be tempting to go down the rabbit hole of focusing on every tiny misstep till you are thoroughly discouraged. But let’s take it back to dating: If you were about to go out with one fine sisi or guy, would it be productive to spend the day telling yourself how uncool you were? Your business is more than just the sum of the targets it didn’t hit last year, the former manager who bashed you on social media, or the kinks in your supply chain. Your business is defined by its core values. Those core values are what dictate the experience your employees will have.
Not just packaging
In order to evaluate your business successfully, you have to take stock of the good and allow yourself to be proud of it. Then you have to admit the bad and dedicate yourself to fixing it. Having a holistic picture of what the successes and limitations of your business are, allows you to know what benefits you can emphasize to potential hires. More importantly, it gives you insight into what you need to overhaul or redo in order to attract the caliber of candidate that you require. It allows you to decide what you think is worth fixing, versus what you have decided is just what it is, and will be attended to later (or never). This clarity doesn’t just give you currency in the employment marketplace. It also allows you to be upfront with candidates during the courting process, and paint an accurate picture of the good, bad and ugly. Clear knowledge of your company’s entire reality, makes you more discerning about which candidates are best suited to join your business and thrive in it. It is the best weapon in your arsenal for a successful recruitment process.