Finding Your Next Great Hire, Part I: The Job Description

How do you find your next great hire? That seems to be the million dollar question right now. Whether you call it the Great Resignation or the Great Reshuffle, one thing is certain: your team probably looks different today than it did before March 2020. There have been so many moving parts – people exiting, people joining, people changing roles. 

The whole thing can leave you feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. For many people we talk to, the team was barely keeping up with the workload before, and now being one person short, people are stretched to their limits. Landing the next great hire means that things will start to ease up. There is an urgency to the process. But rushing things could make the situation even worse.

While the details of this season and post-pandemic life may be unique, the core questions leaders and hiring managers need to ask are timeless. This article will help you gain perspective and guide your search for your next team member. We’re right there with you. We continue to grow and have onboarded (soon to be 3) employees within the last 12 months. 

Here’s the reality: this process takes time. Our advice is to block off a couple of hours in your calendar to devote time to this. Give yourself (or your team) time to reflect and answer these three questions, and you’ll be on your way to your next right hire.

Question 1: What problem(s) are we trying to solve?

Often our first inclination is to simply replace the person that left with someone else who can do the same job. But that doesn’t take into account how your team or company may have shifted since that person was hired.

Instead, we would encourage you to make a list of the problem(s) you are trying to solve with this new hire.

>> What work needs to be done?

>> What skills are needed to successfully solve these problems and get this work done?

>> What resources do you already have that could solve the problem?

You might realize that you have people on your team who are well-suited to solve these problems and get the work done. You could consider reshuffling job duties and assign new job titles and responsibilities to the team and then hire for the current gaps.

For example, let’s say you had an administrative assistant or virtual assistant (VA) resign. You might be quick to post a job for another VA. However, if you reflect on the actual work that you had your VA doing, you might find that you need a more specialized role.

>> Was your VA handling a lot of your social media responsibilities?

>> Were they heavy on inbox management and calendar setting?

>> Perhaps were they creating graphics or writing content?

>> Maybe they were functioning as a project manager?

Looking at your current team, are any of these tasks able to be re-assigned to an existing team member with this particular expertise? Perhaps you have someone who is amazing with social media, content and graphics and they’d love to take on this work and give up running point on other clients or projects. You might find you mainly have project management tasks left and recruit for a Project Manager instead of a VA.

Not only does this process help you fill the right role with the right people, but it also helps provide more fulfillment and enjoyment of work with the people you already have!

Question 2: How do our core values influence this position?

Your core values should be the foundation for everyone on the team. They should inform everything your people do. (If you don’t have core values, consider this your nudge to put pen to paper.)

Start by asking whether your core values are still the right fit. With all the change over the last few years, perhaps you’ve evolved as a company. That’s great. But make sure you acknowledge that evolution.

Take time to make sure your values reflect who you are today and where you are headed. We recommend 3-5 core values, so that they are memorable and meaningful to your team. As an example for you, our values at Heights are:

JOY: We find joy in the ride.

HOSPITALITY: We host an exceptional client experience.

CLARITY: Exhaustively clear communication is our baseline.

CURIOSITY: We bring an insatiable curiosity for knowing more and doing better.

RESPONSIBILITY: We own it. Our roles. Our behavior. Our clients’ results.

WHOLENESS: We are whole people and we support one another in having abundant life beyond work. 

Once you have your core values articulated, and you confirm they are still relevant, make sure to anchor this new position back to them. Each job description should detail how the job functions display the company values. Provide examples next to each company value to paint the picture for the candidates how they are to live out these values in their day-to-day work.

This process helps provide tremendous clarity for candidates, and can even increase job satisfaction. We find that most people want to be part of something bigger than themselves, and want to know that what they do makes a difference.

Question 3: Is the job description compelling?

Once you’ve taken the time to get clear on what problems you are solving with this position, and how this position supports the company values, NOW it is time to start drafting the job description. 

As marketers, we take the words seriously, but also the visual appeal of the job description. We add our company logo, position title, location, type of position (part-time and # of hours or full-time). Also included are photos of our team. We want prospective candidates to see us and get to know our company culture.

We take time to set the stage for this position, using the following outline:

>> Overview of the position

>> Summary of the company

>> Company values (and how each value would be lived out in this position)

>> Position details, including both summaries and detailed examples of tasks

The document concludes with an outline of what the application process includes. At Heights, we believe in exhaustively clear communication so we outline each step such as interview dates, employment offer/decision dates, and onboarding and training dates. During the most recent interview process, we received lots of positive feedback about having a clear and transparent process. 

And remember: you don’t have to do this alone. Find the unicorn in your organization who is gifted with words and can create this document for you. Or reach out to us, we are happy to help!

We believe that marketing happens both externally and internally. It is just as important to market to your current and future employees as it is to current and future clients. We want to see you to have your expectations exceeded with your next new hire. Stay tuned for the next part to this series and we’ll share how we like to recruit and interview candidates.