• April 2012

When It Comes to Hiring Well, Aim to Make a Dream Come True

By Barbara Mitchell
HR Expert and Co-Author
The Essential HR Handbook

When it comes to hiring the right person for the job, keep in mind the fact that most applicants are hoping to find their dream job.

Sure, they’ll settle for less, but wouldn’t it be great if your firm could help make those dreams come true?

Keep this in mind, though. However great it sounds to make someone’s dream come true, you are running a business. So their dream job has to be doing something that will either make money for your organization, or bring in new customers or members.

Still, it is possible to balance their dreams with your needs.

Here’s how:

1. Make a skill list. When you have a job opening or a planned expansion, consider what skill set is needed for someone to be a success in that positon. You could go the traditional way, and just think about how much education or experience the person needs. But the better approach is to make a list of all the skills, abilities, and attributes that would make a person really shine in that job.

2. Be clear with yourself. If an applicant absolutely loves the job you are offering—if it is, in fact, the applicant’s dream job, or your company is his or her dream place to work—chances are once hired they will be more productive and more motivated, which translates into success for your organization. However, it is up to you to completely understand what will work for your organization and its culture. It won’t make a difference if you hire someone for their dream job, if the person doesn’t have the skills or the desire to do the job.

3. Spread the word. Once you have in mind what success looks like for this specific position, get the word out to your network that you are looking to fill the job. Share with your network the success factors you’ve developed for that position and ask if they know of anyone who might be right for the position.

4. It’s who you know. Personal referrals are by far the best way to source candidates for your position. But you should also cast a wide net for applicants and use a variety of sources including social networking, job boards, employee referral programs, minority sources, newspaper online postings, and trade publications. (Do check out Chapter 8 in my Big Book of HR, which has a lot of information on finding sources for applicants).

5. Hiring well doesn’t stop with the acceptance letter. As anyone who has run a company, and hired and fired people, knows, the hiring process doesn’t end when you hire the right person. You need to assimilate them into your corporate culture. You need to develop their skills and abilities. You need to manage their performance. And, you need to coach and counsel them. Of course, it all starts with the right hire.

The Bottom Line

Nothing is more important in business today than having the right people in the right jobs. It takes some effort to know what skills are needed for a particular position and then to find a person who fits the bill. It is icing on the cake when the person you hire is positively sure that this position is their dream job.

When there is a match of skills, and a desire to succeed, great things always happen. Here’s to hiring well, and to your success.


About Barbara Mitchell

Mitchell is a human resources and organization development consultant who is widely known in the areas of recruitment and retention. She has experience in both for-profit and not-for-profit sectors and has consulted for a variety of organizations around the world.

She served in senior human-resources leadership positions with Marriott International and several technology firms in the Washington, DC, area before co-founding the Millennium Group International, which she sold in 2008.

Her books include The Essential HR Handbook, and “The Big Book of HR.”

Mitchell is a graduate of North Park University in Chicago, with a degree in History and Political Science.

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