Managing the Search (Part One)

by Luke Miller

Searching for and hiring a new employee can be really exciting, but, if you don’t have a large human resources department, the search can be a huge time and energy drain. It doesn’t have to be this way. Below you’ll find some great tips for making your search manageable, even for the busiest of managers.

Cast a Narrow Net

Conventional wisdom would tell us that the best way to find the best candidates for a position is to cast as wide a net as possible, to post the position on every imaginable job board in order to get as many job-seeking eyes on it as possible. Getting thousands of eyes on your posting is important, but you want to make sure that the eyes you’re getting are the right kinds of eyes for the position and the organization.

Earlier this year we were hiring for a customer service representative and we posted the job in a number of places. Within a week, we had received over three hundred resumes, ten or twelve of which were actually good matches. As we analyzed these candidates, we realized that all of them came from a single website. Yet we were flooded with resumes from the other sites. Sifting through hundreds of bad resumes is time consuming and can slow down your hiring process.

When you get ready to hire, don’t fall into the “wide net trap”. Think strategically about the audiences of the various employment services, and micro-target the places you think you’ll find candidates most suited for your position and organization. This will save you a ton of time and energy, and you’ll likely still find the candidates you were looking for anyway. 

In addition to posting with great sites like ChurchStaffing and ChristianJobs and various industry-specific sites, also be sure to let your colleagues from other organizations know about the position. People who work closely understand exactly what you’re looking for and what you’ll need, and everyone knows someone who is looking for a job.

Organize Your Resumes 

Once you’ve listed your job in the right places and you’ve spread the word to colleagues and partners, you should start receiving resumes. As well-targeted as your search may be, you’ll still get good and bad resumes. As soon as I receive a resume, I move it to one of three folders on my computer: 

Yes - I have a folder on my computer titled “Yes”. These are candidates who have hit the mark exactly. They have the right kinds of qualifications and/or experience. They have worked in our industry before. They’ve communicated their qualifications and interest in the job well.

Maybe - I have another folder called “Maybe”. These are candidates who have some appeal, even if they don’t meet all the qualifications or experience requirements. These are people who I will typically call to ask questions that will help me determine if they’d actually be a good fit or not.

No - The final folder is “No”. These are candidates who are obviously not a match for the position. They may be greatly over-qualified or under-qualified. They may have made some critical errors in their resume or cover letter. It’s always hard to say “no”, but moving these people to their own folder early will save you time down the road.

These folders may not be a final destination for the candidate, they simply help organize the process. We ended up hiring someone who had initially gone into the “No” folder because she called and explained what her resume had not communicated, and she ended up being a great fit for the role and our culture. She’s one of our star employees today. (We’ve also moved “Yes” candidates into the “No” folder after speaking with them over the phone and realizing that they weren’t the fit we initially thought).

These processes should help you find the best candidates to consider for your open positions.