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Key steps for hiring the right people

One of the key factors in leading a high performance team is to recruit the right people and there are some critical steps that SMEs can take to get the right result for their team and bottom line. 

Insights Louise Pope 25 August 2016
— 2 minute read

There will be times of course when you inherit a team but, nonetheless, when the opportunity arises to recruit new people into your team, getting the right people on board will help you deliver the results your require.  Recruiting the right people is a key leadership activity.


Most recruitment activity these days is competency based, that is, recruiting people based on their experience and ability.  This approach is not wrong and it will enable you to recruit good people but is this enough?  If you truly want to lead high performing teams your aim should be to recruit great people into your team.  You don’t want staff employed in a role where they are too competent (and therefore getting frustrated) for the job they need to do.  When good people get bored they can turn from being under utilised, they turn from being cooperative and happy to miserable and in some cases aggressive and destructive.  Nothing is so dangerous as an under utilised but capable and agile mind.

Hiring the right person each time you have an open position must be your number one obective. Before you hire, you need to know exactly what you want when hiring.

  • Define the requirements carefully. This sounds ridiculously easy, but it's amazing how many managers will embark on a search without determining exactly whom they want to hire. It's important to detail the specific job requirements and desired personal characteristics, creating a "hiring scorecard" that can be used in screenings and interviews to determine if a candidate can fulfill the requirements of the job. Needless to say, it's also critical to determine if the candidate will be a cultural fit as well.
  • Look for repeated patterns of success. Don't just look for tactical job responsibilities and skills, find the applicants who have repeatedly made a mark and exceeded expectations, time and time again. Drill down in the interview to ask those questions; find out how they measure their own success and whether their employment history tells a story of a superstar.
  • It's the network. With so many resumes flooding in for each open position you should rely on inbound candidates even less than you ever have. Specialist recruitment firms, your friends and their friends know the fantastic players who are searching for their next opportunity; tap into them and save yourself significant time.
  • Find a recruiting platform that allows for pre-screening. When you do need to wade through resume use a recruiter or use a recruiting system with pre-screening questions and candidate rating capabilities. This allows you to focus on the exact capabilities you need and only review the candidates who have passed the initial screening, saving yourself time.
  • It's still about the passive seekers . I have personally recently hired a Commercial Manager for a leading Media Agency, but when I first came across him, he was already installed at another company. I courted him for months, persuaded him and eventually he we placed him In essence, I treated this search as though it was occurring during a gangbusters economy where talent is scarce. The reality is, the truly premium talent is still scarce, and always will be. If your bar for talent is as obscenely high as mine, passive seekers can make or break your search.
  • Don't settle. Almost every tip I've provided works in both a good and lousy economy. But let's be honest: When the good times roll, it's easier to find someone and say "good enough." But in a down economy, you should never do this. Take the time you need to find the right candidate, either active or passive, and make the right hire.

Final thought:

There's no question this is a great time to hire people. But don't make the mistake of thinking it'll be easier. The exceptional hires are out there, but just as in previous years, you may need to do some detective work and actively seek out the people who will make your team great.

Louise Pope, director, Aequalis Consulting

Key steps for hiring the right people
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Louise Pope

Louise Pope

Louise has accumulated more than 20 years of recruitment experience in the UK and Australia. After successfully managing teams for one of the largest finance recruiters in the world, Louise transferred to Sydney in April 1999 and launched new offices and new product lines, managing the group through significant growth as head of the Accounting and Finance division.

In 2004, Louise founded Aequalis Consulting. Louise has a down to earth approach, but her energy, passion and ambition still fuel the business today, and will continue to contribute to Aequalis’s long-term success. She is a strong advocate of acknowledging the shortcomings of the recruitment industry, and is known for telling it like it is.