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How do you hire the right fit for your company?

Written by Latifa Yedroudj on Friday, 26 June 2020. Posted in Interviews

Founder of People Puzzles, Ally Maughan, speaks about how to select talent wisely

How do you hire the right fit for your company?

Founder of People Puzzles, Ally Maughan, speaks about how to select talent wisely

How do you hire and integrate key talent into your company?

Having the right team can help propel your business and take it to greater heights. But how do you find the right person to fit for your business? Interviewing potential employees can often be a daunting task as good talent can be hard to find – and even more so if you don’t particularly know the exact type of candidate you are looking. Speaking on the second day Elite Business’ live Ally Maughan, founder of People Puzzles, spoke about how to recruit talent into your company, create a detailed job specification to attract the right candidate and effectively integrate new employees into your team.

Business is fast-paced and ever-changing, and because of that, job roles must also adapt to this change. A job specification for a particular role can be very different than it was a few years ago. Therefore, employees must think about the list of all the relevant and necessary skills they need to look for to suit the demands of a dynamic and progressive world. “Business today is moving so quickly,” Ally said. “What suited you two years in a particular role is very unlikely to be the same role you need in your business today or even in two years. So, every time you come to think about hiring a new person for the business, you’ve got to start with the tasks they’re going to come in and do. The list of skills they’re going to need... And sometimes you start with an old job specification for that same role, that’s quite a good place to start. But actually, it might not be fit for purpose at all, so every time you’re going to hire someone new it’s a great opportunity to think about what you need. If it is a completely new role, I think it takes really quite a lot of thinking about.”

Employers must know what they need in a new employee to fill the gaps in their business before they start their hunt. Business owners should also focus on a candidate’s strengths and what they can bring forth to the table, rather than ruling out potential employees over unimportant details. “It is important to ask yourself how the candidate is going to do this job for you,” Aly explained. “And it is just as important as the skills. And you need to focus on the strengths somebody needs to do this role. What does ‘good’ really look like? And it can be really easy to just reel out a few sentences such as ‘good with people’, ‘great at listening’, ‘competent with management’, ‘great attention to detail’... Think about what is important in this job? And if lots of people are involved in the interview process in your business, you need to be really careful that ‘good’ is so clear that people aren’t ruling out great candidates for niggly little reasons, but they’re focusing on the really important, big strengths the person has to do this job.”

Speaking about criteria to keep in mind when it comes to hiring a new employee, Aly added: “Are you wanting someone who comes from a corporate background where everything is organised for them and they’re coming into a well-organised system? Or do you want someone who understands that it’s a bit chaotic around here and they have to muck in and not everything is very well-organised yet? Do you want a creative problem solver or a systems maintainer? What does your business need for the next 18 to 24 months? If you think longer term than that, you won’t get someone who will take you on the journey. So how mature do you need somebody to be and how mature is your business?”

Businesses can often fall trap to seeking “ideal” candidates boasting shiny CVs with experience at some of the world’s top organisations. But just because someone has experience at big corporations, doesn’t mean they will be the right fit for your company. Employers need to make sure the employee they pick meets the required skills and experience needed to fill the gaps in the company, rather than being automatically enticed by an attractive resume. “The contrast of corporate to a family business to a VC run organised structured situation, every business is different and unique,” Ally said. “And it can be really easy to get your blinkers on when you’re trying to hire. I often hear people talking about their dream candidate would have worked at Apple, Facebook or the BBC. As if, by working in those environments, they would have magically got every skill that they might need to come work for your business – which might be completely different. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in taking experienced hires and People Puzzles is all about taking corporate, brilliant people and directors and bringing them into working with entrepreneurial businesses. But we take one in a hundred people who apply to use for that role. And we know that a fancy job title from a great brand doesn’t mean they can work well with us.”

Ally encouraged business owners to give their new employee the ability to express their ideas and ambitions early on in their job role. Providing employees with a mentor or buddy can also help them through their journey and allow them to integrate into company culture much better. “If you’re bringing someone into a creative or problem-solving role, you need to encourage them to have ideas from the beginning,” Ally said. “Probably not ideas they’re going to have to act on straight away because they don’t have the context yet. But start having those conversations about how their ideas could work, why they wouldn’t work, what makes sense and what doesn’t. You might get them a coach, a mentor or a buddy. But you’ve got to take them on that journey of helping them to interrogate what’s going in your business and getting all the great stuff they’ve done before in their working life and bringing it into what you’re doing now.”

About the Author

Latifa Yedroudj

Latifa Yedroudj

Latifa Yedroudj has joined the Elite team to fully immerse herself in the business side of journalism, a strong passion of hers cultivated from young having co-run her mother's start up business since she was 18. Her interests lie in a wide range of subjects, including start ups, business, travel, and anything entrepreneurial she can get her hands on. She has worked for some of the biggest names in journalism including The Guardian and The Mirror. Follow her on @latifayed on Twitter for her latest journo rants.

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