How to Hire an Employee: 6 Tips to Head Off Hiring Headaches

By Robert Half September 12, 2018 at 9:00pm

While you need to move swiftly to land top job candidates today, you can’t be careless. Here’s how to hire an employee in a highly competitive market for top talent. 

Figuring out how to hire an employee with just the right mix of skills and knowledge can sometimes feel like a daunting and high-stakes task. Bring aboard the wrong person and you (and your employer) waste valuable time and money. Given the costs of making a bad hire, your team is counting on you to find a great fit.

Follow these six tips to attract and hire employees who bring maximum value to your team and company.

1. Juice up the job description

Generating interest from highly qualified job candidates is often one of the most difficult aspects of the hiring process for a business. So when a position opens up, take the time to write a job description that’s both detailed and compelling.

While you don’t want your job posting to be excessively long or so specific that it deters qualified candidates from applying, you do want to include enough information to attract job seekers who are well-suited for the position.

If it’s a new role, carefully consider the tasks you want the employee to take on short term and long term, and the levels of education and experience your ideal candidate should possess.

If you’re filling a vacated role, take the opportunity to evaluate whether you want to make changes to the position. Chances are you’ll want to add or shift some responsibilities.

2. Cast a wide net

When you’re ready to start recruiting candidates, cast your net deep and wide. Of course, you want to post the opening on your website and on job boards that cater to your company’s industry. And you should also share the job ad on your company’s social media accounts. But don’t forget about the power of in-person networking to spread the news of your open position, whether you’re attending a casual lunch, professional event or industry conference.

You may also want to consider working with a specialized recruiter who has access to highly skilled candidates, including passive job seekers. Staffing agencies such as Robert Half can help you hire talented individuals with expertise in different areas — from technology to accounting — for a project, contract-to-hire or full-time basis.


3. Don’t shortchange the resume review

Evaluating resumes can be tedious and time consuming, but as the hiring manager, you’re best able to decide if a candidate’s qualifications fit the bill. Look for resumes with keywords and phrases that match the job description. This shows that the candidate is focused on details and has experience that aligns with the job duties. Also, keep an eye out for resumes that highlight both technical and soft skills, and that include concrete ways the job seeker added value and helped meet company goals in previous roles.

4. Conduct consistent interviews

During each interview, pay attention to whether the candidate is well prepared by testing their knowledge of your company and industry. Again, zero in on both technical know-how and interpersonal abilities. Your job is to not only find the most qualified person, but also build a well-functioning and cohesive team.

While your conversations will naturally take different courses, be sure to ask all candidates the same questions to keep the playing field level. And don’t forget to sell yourself and your company. After all, interviews are a two-way street.

5. Determine the right salary range

Offering an attractive salary package is a must given the competition to attract talent for many jobs today. According to a survey by our company, a majority of hiring managers polled (57 percent) say they are willing to negotiate salary with top candidates.

The Robert Half Salary Guides can ensure your starting pay ranges are on par with, or better than, what other companies in your area are offering. You can also use our Salary Calculator to quickly and easily compute average starting salary ranges for various job titles in your city.


6. Act fast when you find the right candidate

A survey by our company found that it takes five weeks, on average, to fill an open staff-level position. And filling an open management-level role takes an average of seven weeks. So once you’ve identified your top candidate, extend an offer quickly. Candidates with the right mix of skills frequently have multiple opportunities from which to choose.

Expect the candidate to take a day or two to consider your offer, and plan for some back-and-forth negotiating. Finally, make it clear the job offer is contingent upon any reference or background checks you need to complete.

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