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Hiring – you either love it or hate it. There isn't much middle ground.

There are definitely things you can do to make hiring way easier and more effective. But, it all starts with knowing exactly what and who you want.

Before you put any job ads up, before you talk to your first candidate – make sure you are laying all the ground work. Ideally, you want to only attract candidates who are qualified and capable, are in your price range and who are actively excited about your opportunity.

But more than that, you need a laser focus on exactly what you want for the role. You need to make sure you aren't waffling over required and nice-to-have skills and experience.

Here are my tips for making sure you don't waste any time in hiring.

Get Clear – Completely, Crystal Clear

Let's say you know you need an aggressive hunter with specific product knowledge, who can handle a multi-million dollar territory. You know that…and yet when you start reading resumes, it suddenly feels like everyone COULD do the job.

Take a giant step back.

Yes, many people COULD do the job – possibly. But SHOULD they do the job? WILL they do the job effectively and efficiently?

Do you see the difference? I mean, I COULD teach you how to jump out of a plane in theory – but it probably wouldn't be good for either of us!

So before you get started on your job search, you need to make sure you know exactly what and who you want. You need to know the ideal hire avatar inside and out – what schools they went to, what specialty training they have, what their personality is like, what drives them, etc.

Start with a great job description and job design. Next, gather information from co-workers and successful team members. What are they looking for and what makes someone successful in this role?

When you put everything together, you should almost be able to see this person. You should know them inside and out. You should only light up when you find this person.

Don't Try To Make It Work

Scarcity sucks! It messes with you when you have very few candidates and even less who are actually qualified. But, don't make the mistake of settling!

If you know you need someone with industry knowledge, don't even look at people without it. If they have to know steel siding like the inside of their eyelids, don't let someone without it talk you into hiring them.

Now, I am not saying you should discount great candidates if you can train them easily. But, when you sit down and write out your requirements, they should be items that are really required. And, if they are really a truly required item, why would you then decide it isn't so important?

Know exactly what is needed and don't talk yourself into it not being important. If you need an outside sales person, hire an outside sales person. If you need an aggressive hunter, only talk with aggressive hunters. In short, don't get stuck putting round pegs in square holes.

Learn What Is Vital & What Is Nice To Have

Sometimes when I start talking with a new client, they will tell me exactly what they need in a candidate. And then after a few interviews everything shifts. Which isn't an issue, I can adjust and find what they want, it just takes longer.

I usually find this happens when there are multiple people involved in the hiring process and each link in the chain has their own ideas about what is necessary. If you have this sort of dilemma, I'd suggest a group meeting before you start hiring.

Have everyone write down 1-5 things they absolutely NEED to see in a candidate. Then discuss each and see if everyone is onboard. Why or why not? Is anything able to be substituted with other experience or knowledge?

Once you've had a discussion and eliminated items that could be refined or replaced with complimentary skills, you should be down to your must-haves list. Hopefully, it is very concise!

Next, do the same process with things that would nice-to-have.

Lastly, do the same thing with a-magical-mythical-being-would-have. Basically, shoot for the moon, what does your dream candidate look like?

At the end of this, you should have a list of explicit things a candidate has to have, you would love for them to have and the once in a blue moon person will have. If you hand that list to anyone in your organization, they should be able to follow along.

Now, everyone is on the same page – hiring just became much easier!

Attract The Right Candidates

If you have done all of the above, you should know who/what you want to hire. You should know exactly what would attract your ideal candidate to apply. You should have your sales and marketing hats on and you should be able to write the mother of all job ads!

When you are crystal clear about the ideal candidate, you should have all the language necessary to write a compelling job ad. The candidates you want to attract will feel compelled to apply. The candidates who don't have the necessary background and skills should be turned off on the role. You should be selling the role and your company and environment easily.

If you have done all this, you shouldn't have to sift through 100 so-so resumes to get to a great one. You shouldn't be talking to people from other industries – unless the have complementary experience.

When you start by getting an explicit idea of your ideal candidate, you determine your absolutely vital skills and experience and you attract the right candidates to your role, you will enjoy much better hiring success. You might even learn to enjoy hiring!

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Rikka’s articles appear in trade magazines like LBM Journal, ProSales, Remodeling, and more.



Rikka’s advice has been featured on Fast Company, NFIB, AmEx Open Forum, CBS Small Business Pulse, Huffington Post, and more.



Rikka is selected to speak at local, regional, and national conferences like KBIS and ProDealer Summit.



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